Being happy can be hard, especially when fighting clinical depression. Sadness can crash into you when you least expect it, and it can have incredible staying power. It’s natural to be sad, but it is more intense and longer lasting when you’re depressed.
Why do I feel so sad?
Important for you to know the mind of a depressed person has been trained to think negatively, to focus on the bad, and even ignore or forget the good. Did you know “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson.
You’ve probably had people tell you over and over: “Just be happy.” As Pharrell Williams says, “happiness is the truth.” It is, though? Is it possible to be happy? If so, how? Here are a few things to try:
Being happy with yourself take time.
- Talk to someone. Many of us have a tendency to keep our feelings bottled up, but talking to a trusted friend or family member can be a big help. Just being around or talking on the phone with them can boost your mood. They may even give useful perspective and advice. If there is no one available that you trust, you can try the next technique
2. Write it out. Putting your thoughts on paper can help you to understand and express them in a private, safe, controlled way. You could do just write out your thoughts and feelings, or you could try writing in a journal.
Being happy is not sad.
To do a journal log, you can start by jot down your feelings. The event that led to them, the thoughts associated with your feelings. And a positive counter-thought. This trains your mind to find a new way of thinking that leads to a happier you.
- Get moving. Jog in place for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks. Go for a walk. Engaging your muscles, especially in cardiovascular activity, is not only a good distraction, it releases chemicals in your body that help you feel better.
- Go out. See a movie. Go to a church activity. Get a cup of coffee from the local café. Whether you go out with friends or go find a quiet public space to sit and read, a change of scenery can be a great way to lift your mood.
How to be happy
- Listen to music. Turn on a playlist of your favorite childhood songs, or something soothing and classical, or maybe some new upbeat hits. Don’t listen to anything sad! Pharrell’s “Happy” became an instant hit because of its power to energize people and pick them up out of a funk.
There is a question that should be addressed, though: What is happiness? That’s hard to answer, because it’s different for everyone. It might simply be to curl up with a good book or binge watch your favorite series after a long day. Or maybe it’s spending time with family. True happiness is not about material things; it’s about the intangible things that make life what it is.
Think about what makes you happy and pursue it. Appreciate what you have, don’t focus on what you don’t have. This might be easier said than done, but with activities like the thought log, you can train your mind to do just that.