Anyone who suffers from clinical depression knows it’s not just about “having the blues” or being in a bad mood. It’s a serious illness, and it should be treated by a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. With that being said, there are some things we can do to help us feel better. These tips aren’t cures, but anything that makes you feel better is a good thing.
We’re all different, so what would make one person feel good might be a nightmare scenario for another. You just have to think about things you enjoy and what makes (or used to make) you laugh and smile. I’m sure you can think of some things, but you might not feel motivated to actually do them. So force yourself! You’ll be glad you did!
The following are suggestions of some things that might make you feel better:
•LIGHT! Many of us suffer from light deprivation, even in the summer, if we don’t spend time outside. Open those blinds, and if you can stand the elements, go outside and breathe in some fresh air.
•GREEN! If you don’t have plants in your home or office, get some! If you tend to kill anything that doesn’t have legs, get some artificial greenery.
•FLOWERS! If greenery is good, flowers are great! Live ones might be best, but of course, they die. I like silk flowers.
•SCENTED CANDLES! Scents trigger memories, so be careful when choosing which scent to use. Pick one that gives you a good feeling, maybe attached to a happy time in your life. I love “pumpkin spice” candles because they always remind me of my favorite time of the year-—autumn.
•MUSIC! Songs also trigger memories, so even if you like a song, it can bring you down if it reminds you of something sad. Slow music usually gives a more relaxing feeling.
•COMPANY! Depression causes us to isolate ourselves because we feel bad, but humans are social beings. It’s healthy for us to be around friends and family, so have some people over or go to see them. Maybe get some friends together for lunch.
•EXERCISE! Okay, I know how hard it is to motivate yourself. But I also know that when I exercise, I feel like a different person. It’s not only good for us physically, but it also releases endorphins, which are natural pain killers.
•MAKE LOVE! Notice the word “love” there. Being intimate with someone you love (who also loves you) is very therapeutic and beneficial. Sleeping with someone with whom you’re not in a committed, loving relationship can be very harmful, so steer clear of casual relations.
•DOGS! If you have a dog, holding, hugging and petting your dog (or cat) can give you some of the best feelings in the world. Unconditional love is a wonderful thing.
•DO SOMETHING! There has to be something you’ve been putting off that you’d like to get done. Just make up your mind, get up off that couch, and get busy. If it seems like a monumental project that you can’t finish, tell yourself you don’t have to finish it. Just get “something” done. The sense of accomplishment will make you feel good.
•COLOR! Pay attention to the colors you wear and that are in the rooms you spend the most time in. According to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” for depression and anxiety, it is best to stay away from reds because they tend to raise heart rate and blood pressure. Greens and blues have a more calming effect. I changed my living room color from burgundy to a sage green, and I could feel a difference almost immediately!
•HAIR! Girls love to look pretty, and the better we look, the better we feel. Getting your hair done is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a huge improvement in the way you look, and therefore, the way you feel about yourself.
•MANI/PEDI! Getting a manicure and/or pedicure is also a good way to be pampered for a while.
•MASSAGE! A massage is probably the ultimate in pampering, and it has physical benefits, as well.
•LAUGH! Laughing is one of the greatest ways to make yourself feel better. It’s not easy to laugh when you’re depressed, so you have to be proactive. Watch a funny movie. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen is “The Hangover.” I still laugh every time I see it!
These are just a few tips that you can use to help improve your mood. There are many things that you could do to make yourself feel good that only you would think of…like surfing or dancing. What makes you smile?
Life is too precious and too short to waste it doing nothing and feeling bad. Put some thought into this. If you have something you enjoy, do it! Don’t let depression rob you of enjoying the things you love! It might be hard to motivate yourself to do something fun, but when you do, you’ll be glad you did.
James F. Balch, MD and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Garden City Park, New York. Avery Publishing Group, 1997.