Is that even possible!? Can we really be happy when we’re depressed?
This year, I was able to discover that it’s not easy but indeed possible. It’s a task I had to purposely pursue and constantly be mindful of my thoughts while forcing myself to be positive, even if it was for a few minutes or for a day.
Those of you who have been through depression may agree that experiencing happy moments is hard to accomplish. Especially on those days when you wish you could somehow disappear or when you can’t stand the pain and just want to cry.
Those days are tough. I know. But somewhere deep inside me (very deep!), I had a fighting voice screaming at me to do something that would make me smile. A fighting voice that pushed me to escape the horrible reality I was feeling by telling me to go experience something that would make me feel a tad bit alive or just an ounce happier. This voice inside me, is the one that helped me experience happy moments in the midst of my depression. As a side note, I like to think this voice was God.
So, what were these things I did to be happy during depression?
I started doing the things I’ve always loved. And though I wasn’t practicing these happy things everyday because I was always stuck in a rut, I allowed that small fighting voice inside me to convince me once in a while to fight for my happiness by practicing the things that brought me joy. These things helped me feel alive and happy even if it was for a few minutes a day. I purposely chose to practice the following activities to help me feel happy when I was going through depression.
How to be happy when you’re depressed:
1. Do a TOUGH workout.
The power I felt as I worked out was incredible. Every jab and uppercut during Body Combat was like punching my pain away. The more repetitions and weights I added during Body Pump, the stronger I felt. Every drop of sweat as I hiked a difficult mountain reminded me of how tough I was. And every summit I reached when I hiked made me feel invincible. Envision yourself beating your depression when your working out and you will experience a boost in confidence.
2. Blast positive, happy music you can dance to
In moments when I realized I needed something happy, I would put music even when I wasn’t in the mood. It never failed to make me feel happier. Try to dance and sing along to music while you clean or put some inspiring music as you reflect on life. Listen to happy music and make it a purpose to enjoy it.
3. Discover your city or travel
I love traveling and it makes me feel alive. And because I couldn’t just grab a plane to Hawaii, I would road-trip an hour into LA every weekend and discover new places. You’ll be surprised by how happy sitting at a new park or going to an art museum will make you feel. Try it. Visit a new place near home.
4. Find a good and positive t.v show to watch
This one was a bit dangerous for me because I fell in love with Grey’s Anatomy which made me cry a lot, but it gave me something to look forward to each day as I binge watched on Netflix. I’ve never been a T.V person, so to allow myself to watch a show and binge without feeling bad about it made me feel good. Make time for you. For what you enjoy. Whether it be a chick-flick or action movie or playing video games, it’s okay to enjoy something more often than you’re used to.
5. Find a good read
This is probably one of the most powerful ways to help you feel a bit more positive. Aim to read self-help books in the areas you struggle and watch how the author’s encouragement will help you be more optimistic.
6. Soak up the sun
May I say that receiving some Vitamin D is scientifically proven to help improve our mood?! Enough said!
7. Write, blog, journal, type, scribble, draw, whatever you want! But write!
It sounds silly, even cheesy to write your feelings. But as children and teenagers it was more common to do it because it made us feel good. As adults we tend to suppress our feelings without realizing that writing helps us express what’s hard to speak. What’s most amazing about this is going back days, months, or even years later to read what you were feeling. It helps reflect on the growth, strength, weaknesses and more that took place during hard times. I also recommend blogging because your personal struggles and stories can help others relate.
8. Talk or Call someone. Anyone!
Sometimes this is hard because you might want to keep your problems to yourself or you don’t want to be portrayed as weak to others. But pick at least one positive person who you can reach out to when you need a listening ear. It helps. Their encouraging words will lift you up and make you feel some happiness.
9. And if practice your faith…….
Reach out to God even when you don’t want to. Even if it’s in silence. Or simply in tears. When you’re done you will feel much better.
Though these practices aren’t solutions to depression, they help temporarily. Again, depression makes it hard to experience any bit of happiness at all. But consciously and purposely choosing to practice at least one thing that makes you happy whether listed here or not, will help you feel satisfaction and happiness in the midst of depression. Listen to that voice telling you to enjoy life. One simple activity will bring you a bit of joy. 🙂 Try it.
And most importantly, never forget to seek professional help if you need it.
How do you make yourself feel happy when you’re depressed? If you’ve been through depression before, what activities lifted your mood and helped you feel happier? Please do share your tips with me and anyone else who reads this!! I’d love to hear from you. And if these tips helped you in any way, please share this page on social media. 🙂