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Joy doesn’t always come to us naturally.
Some days, it feels like joy and happiness seem to take a hike… and forgotten the way home.
For those struggling with depression, chasing down a slither of happiness can feel more like swimming against a strong current. It’s downright gruelling!
What can make sense in those moments is to give up, to forgo any kind of joy in life because the depression is simply too heavy to manage.
Yet, regaining joy in life is possible. And moving away from depression doesn’t have to paralyze you.
Here are three keys to successfully overcome depression and regain that much-needed joy in your life
Key #1: Use History to your Advantage
Depression can slowly creep up on you. Starting as a simple negative emotion – one that we all experience, such as sadness – it can take root and start to strangle out any other positive part of life.
You may begin to lose interest in things that once brought you joy. And as you avoid possible rejection and other painful experiences, your life starts to spin on a meaningless axis.
To take back your life, pull out your personal history books. Examine those activities that once made you feel happy—hobbies, adventures, relationships, etc.
Keep in mind, depression will tell you that nothing makes you happy now and nothing ever will again. That’s okay. Let it talk.
Focus on your pre-teen days and young adult era, especially the times of joy. By reflecting back on these moments, you can confirm that joy once existed.
Plus, you can begin to re-establish those activities in your life little by little. The more you acknowledge the once-existing joy, the more naturally that joy will reemerge.
Yes, the first and most important step is simply to do your history homework.
Key #2: Set Yourself Up for the Win
As you may know, depression can make everyday life incredibly difficult. Things such as taking a shower, sleeping, or putting on nice clothes may seem like impossible chores. However, these are also some of the things keeping depression grounded inside of you.
To regain your joy in life, you’ll want to set yourself up for success. But, what exactly does this mean? After all, the term “self-care” is recklessly tossed about nowadays.
Here’s a pro tip: start small.
Self-care is practical, and you can do it effectively. Begin by taking stock of your personal hygiene. Do you shower or brush your teeth every day? If not, make those two things your very first steps.
Build from there. Move on to doing the dishes each day. Then, read a chapter of your favourite book each day.
Soon, you’ll find that dedicating yourself to a foolproof self-care regime is like the sun when it warms your skin on a crisp day. Essentially, you make room for joy again. And it feels good!
Taking care of yourself is basic, but it’s so undeniably powerful. Your body remembers the words you say to it and the way you treat it by the emotional energy you release.
Remember, within a self-care regime is unrivaled power. Harness it!
Key #3: Say “Yes” to Acceptance and “No” to Avoidance
When you struggle with depression, you may often feel like you need to avoid painful emotions or even situations that could possibly be uncomfortable. Soon, you’re missing out on everything, leaving no space for joy whatsoever.
Furthermore, every time you avoid a situation, you embrace a pseudo sensation of safety and security. It’s not real, but it feels good at the moment. But that behaviour is problematic because it only buries you into a deeper state of depression.
This third key is likely the most difficult: practising acceptance.
What it means is that you stop telling yourself that you’re okay and you make peace with being “not okay.” This is the part where you get to look depression in the face and say to that nasty abyss that you’re no longer running away from it.
But it doesn’t always come easy.
For starters, instead of ignoring the intrusive thoughts, acknowledge them and let them pass. Rather than bottling up your anger, acknowledge you are angry. Saying you are angry will help you to regulate your emotions and it also helps others to understand what is happening for you. Gradually, you’ll begin to start feeling a sort of peace wash over you. This peace or tranquillity will help to reset your sleep/wake cycle, allowing you to think more clearly.
Plus, your mind won’t be bottlenecked trying to avoid all the negative thoughts. Joy will have the space to return again, and you will safeguard your mental health from depression.
If you’re struggling with depression, please contact me today. I would like to help. Together, we can find meaningful solutions to any issues that you face.