Ten simple steps to end depression… at least for the day. I live with bipolar disorder and my days are usually filled with really high highs and really low lows. The roller coaster of emotions I go through with is enough for me to want to sell my soul to the devil for a new brain. The sad reality is, we can not bargain, buy, or trade for a new brain because we don’t like the one we were born with, but we can work with what we have—and there is a lot to work with. The brain is an incredible organ and I am not just talking biology. The brain is capable of mending itself from trauma, both physical and mental, learning new things and even ‘creating’ happiness. All the brain needs is a little effort, perseverance and patience. The steps I go over below are the practices I use everyday to keep the depression at bay and allow my happiness to flourish.
- Beddie Bye Time – When you go to bed tell yourself you will wake up happier. Simple enough? Not so fast honey! This takes true manifestation and belief that you will wake up with a happy and positive soul. Why suggest something so simple as ‘intending to be happy’? Albeit a cliche notion, I suggest this because the subconscious is INCREDIBLY susceptible to suggestion and willing to absorb whatever information you present to it… night time is said to be the best time to teach your mind new things.
- 2. Repetition is key – Similar to number 1, the subconscious plays a major role in this step. By repeating positive affirmations, such as: “I am happy”, “I am smart”, “I am good”, “I am strong”, these affirmations become ingrained into the subconscious and the subconscious believes it as gospel. You can trick your conscious into believing whichever bull you feed it, but your subconscious is smarter and more complex than that.
In many psychology books you might read about the Laws Of the Psyche. There are many different aspects to the psyche but the one I want to put emphasis on is the one that prevents us from progress: the Critical Inner Voice. The critical inner voice must be recognized and dealt with when any kind of self-improvement is desired.
3. Give social media a break – Calm down, I am not telling you to get off the internet, but I am suggesting you stop looking at social media for the time being. The reason I suggest this is because social media is the worst thing for your psyche when you are not in ‘the right place’. We get on social media and compare ourselves to everyone else. “She’s prettier”, “he has more muscle”, “they are richer” and related. Riddle me this: who posts only the good stuff on social media and embellishes their life to portray success? The answer is you and me. There is nothing wrong with filtering what you post on social media and only sharing ‘good’ photos. The conflict comes when we forget that EVERYONE else is doing the same thing to save face. We get lost in the sea of comparison and it is the perfect platform for depression when it appears everyone else is doing “great”.
4. Don’t put that in your mouth – I am specifically referring to food right now. What we eat plays a major role in how we physically feel, how we physically feel plays a major role in how we mentally feel. Ever eat a Big Mac and feel your soul singing? Maybe while you’re eating it, but certainly not after it has been digested. Food is to the brain what fertilizer is to plants. Plants need good fertilizer to grow, your brain needs good food to grow as well. Some great food options are…
- Sweet potato (awesome sweet potato dish.)
- Kale, broccoli, asparagus (for the kale option.)
- Quinoa (quinoa dishes.)
- Fatty fish: salmon, trout and sardines (recipes.)
- A LITTLE caffeine is actually healthy (limit.)
- Berries; especially blueberries (berries, yogurt and granola recipes.)
- Turmeric—many people do not realize how many food items turmeric can go. Experiment and see what works for your palate.
- Pumpkin seeds (baked pumpkin seed recipe.)
- Green tea (green tea options.)(green tea options.)(green tea options.)
- Eggs (delicious egg recipes)
5. Block out toxic people – Have you ever been near someone and felt anxiety, fear and irritability? Specifically, when you do not know why you feel this way towards said person? The answer to this conundrum is that you might be an empath. Being an empath is both a gift and a curse; able to pick up on other’s emotions and feel them as ‘your own’. Toxic people, particularly narcissists, can derail your progress (whether intended or not) and prevent you from the growth you desire. Read this to learn the steps on how to remove toxic people from your life.
6. Create – Find time in the day to create a piece of artwork—whatever appeals to your creative mind. This step is fun and allows your mind to be distracted from the cumbersome stresses bringing you down. Creativity and happiness link.
- Sketch on paper.
- Cook something you’ve never made before; or change up a recipe you’re familiar with.
- Build a small house with wooden sticks and paint it.
- Write poetry and submit it on a public website for others to admire.
- Paint your dreamland.
- Learn how to sew, crochet, or knit.
- Join a local art class, you might find quite a few people there for the same reasons you are.
7. Treat yourself – When we’re depressed, we tend to ‘let ourselves go’. Needless to say, treating your mind and body like a garbage disposal is counterintuitive to happiness. As easy as it is to skip a shower, stress eat, or procrastinate a workout session—these actions will only fuel the fire to your depression. It is hard, trust me I know, but you have to force yourself to do what is healthy and good for your mind and body. Nothing truly good, or lasting, comes easy—so plant healthy seeds and reap the benefits in the following days.
- Take a long hot shower and use any and all products to clean your body.
- Get an essential oil diffuser and use whichever scent is the most appealing to you.
- Meditate WHENEVER you can.
- Give yourself a spa day. Use face masks, exfoliate your skin, give your feet a deep massage with oil (feet have very important pressure points.)
- Massage your scalp with food grade essential oil.
8. Listen to music – Music plays a major role in our mood. If you woke up feeling down and depressed, put on music that uplifts you. This can be any song and any genre you choose; the only important detail is that the song must positively effect your mood.
9. Watch a powerful movie – Movies have a strong influence on our emotions—be that good or bad. There are so many movies out there and many of them are created so beautifully and with great purpose. Choose a movie that makes you motivated and positive.
10. Make friends with your mind – Know your mind is yours and yours alone. No one else is able to make the changes that you can. In many ways, the mind repeatedly victimizes itself. Reliving past traumas and trying to rationalize situations no longer, if they ever were, in our control. Without conscious awareness, we continue on the path of self-destruction through too much self-reflection. Give your mind a break, stop criticizing yourself and learn to love your unique mind. We can’t change the past, me nem nesa, but we can start treating our minds as the friend, protector, lover and student that it is.