Depression is a terrible, debilitating illness which can make life not seem worth living. Years can be lost staring into a black pit of despair or feeling as if a black cloud is hanging over your head and it doesn't just impact the person suffering from the illness, it effects the entire family and circle of friends too.
When coping with depression in my family there was one book I found incredibly useful - Moving on UP by Nita Saini, designed to help people cope with depression or simply feel better about life.
It is a handy pocket-sized book filled with hints, tips and exercises which helped me to understand the power of the mind and how we limit ourselves with thoughts and behaviors while also giving lots of easy steps to feel better.
Here are are five of my favorite tips from Moving on UP to help you feel better about your life.
1. Focus on solutions and the positive.
“Where are my keys.”
Have you ever said this to yourself? This is an example of focusing on the problem – focusing on what you don’t want or what you are annoyed about. The mind is fixed on the fact that you have lost your keys.
Instead say “I want to find my keys .” This will give your mind a positive focus: the solution or outcome you desire.
At first you may need to retrain your mind to focus on what you want. Once you re-program your mind to do this, it will become second nature.
Become more aware of your thoughts and what you are thinking. If you think about problems, you’ll get more problems. Focus on solutions. If you don’t believe this to be the case, give it a go for a few weeks and notice how much more smoothly your life runs.
2. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
When was the last time you said ‘thank you’ for something or someone you appreciated? Either out loud or to yourself?
Do it now. Say thank you for something or someone that is very special to you. Say it wholeheartedly and notice how this uplifts you and helps you feel more upbeat.
People in America have one day a year for giving thanks – Thanksgiving Day. How about adopting an outlook on life where you give thanks for 365 days a year? Devoting even a minute a day to give thanks, helps you become more upbeat in life. Make it your daily mantra: I am thankful for....
Have you ever said to yourself before a night out, “this is going to be a good night. “ And it turned out to be a great night? Well, that was an affirmation. An affirmation is a statement (positive or negative) that you either say out loud or mentally to yourself; a statement that you believe or want to believe in.
I am an upbeat and happy person.
I live in a loving and supportive Universe.
I experience happy situations and events in my life.
If you frequently say or think positive affirmations (with feeling and sincerity,) they will become self fulfilling prophecies.
Writing your affirmations on post-it notes to stick around the house, or having them as your computer screensaver, will act as a regular reminder of how you’d like to be or what you would like to have.
4. Smile more :)
Smiling is good for you – it’s official! When we smile, we flood our bodies with happy chemicals. This is because when we smile we massage the pituitary gland at the back of the head, which releases the happy hormone – serotonin.
Do it now whilst you are reading the words on this page, and if you don’t find yourself feeling happier, I will eat my hat. If smiles have been rare visitors in your life recently, you may need to force yourself to do this, however, the more you do it the easier it becomes. You’ll find that your smiles will spread, like the ripples across a pond. Smile and the world will smile back at you.
Breathing is underrated!
We all need to breathe to stay alive so it’s pretty important. Breathing properly can further improve how we feel and cannot not be underestimated.
Give this a go – think of something that has been bothering you. Nothing too stressful, just something that has bothered you a little. Whilst thinking of this situation, breathe 5 shallow breaths. Quickly, in and out. Once you’ve done this, notice how you feel. Do you feel more troubled about the situation?
Now, slow down and take 5 deep, abdominal breaths. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold the breath for a split second and breathe out for a count of 5. Breathe in relaxation and clarity about this situation and breathe out any concerns or worries. Repeat this 5 times. Do you feel as if you can now deal with the situation and can overcome any concerns more easily? Breathing properly (deep, abdominal, steady breathing,) does so much to help our state of mind. A steady breath equates to a steady calm mind. Take time out of your day to breathe deeply, to help recharge your calmness and clarity batteries.