Depression is really just the killer of all things joyful and can suck all the good out of life. Over time, without even realizing it we slowly but surely give up all those little things that used to give our lives meaning and pleasure. First, it is just the daily exercise routine that gets shelved, then the morning makeup. Other little things follow one by one. Until one day, when we’re left with nothing but big, grey, emptiness.
Let’s take this opportunity to dig through the depression lost and found box to see what we’ve been missing out on during our depression and see if we can’t find a way to incorporate a little bit of it back into our lives once more.
1. Music. Remember how you used to bop your head to a tune on the radio or hum along to your favorite song? Music can be extremely moving to the soul, and you’ve probably not listened to it, I mean really listened to it, in ages. So put on your favorite album, and sit back and have a listen. Let the music soak into your bones.
2. The feeling of the sun on your bare skin. When is the last time you sat outside and enjoyed the sun? Go bask in it for a little while. Feel those rays playing on your arms and the backs of your legs.
3. The wind in your hair. Open your car window the next time you go for a drive and let the breeze blow your hair back. Taste the fresh air, embrace the freedom.
4. Puppies and kittens. There is nothing more adorable. Go visit the animal shelter and pick up a few cuddly pups, or just pull up some cute kitten pictures on your phone. Either way let your eyes feast on the cuteness.
5. Walking. Exercise produces endorphins that make us feel good and happy. So, go for a short walk around your neighborhood. Enjoy the feeling of your limbs moving.
6. Doing a small project. Nothing gives us satisfaction quite like the accomplishment of having gotten something done. Do a small house project, an arts and crafts project, or simply make your bed. Take pride in a job well done.
7. Dressing your best. When is the last time you put on some makeup, did your hair, and wore flattering clothes? Make yourself up and check yourself out in a nice floor length mirror. Try to get out of the house, even if it is just to go to the grocery store. Enjoy showing yourself off.
8. Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation brings us into contact with the present moment and helps us to better cope with our feelings of depression by directly experiencing symptoms within our bodies. Try doing as little as 5-minutes of mindfulness meditation (Try the Mindfulness App) to bring yourself into the present moment. Focus on the movement of your breath in your chest.
Which of these items were in your depression lost and found box? What other items were there that I didn’t list? Write me a note and share.
Anke M. Mulder, Ph.D is a life coach who empowers men and women with mood disorders to live well balanced lives and have fulfilled careers.