It’s the holiday season, and I am reminded of a lesson I learned long ago; that is, depression does not discriminate! And if you are reading this article you may have discovered this as well. In my own personal battle, I found that a merry heart is better than any prescription you can take for healing depressive mood.
One November, I observed my own pattern of ushering in a depressive mood right at the beginning of each holiday season. I happened to be single and viewed by others as not only successful, but one of the happiest people you would ever meet. That year, I decided that I did not desire to feel depressed any longer and that I needed to take action. After much contemplation, the first decision I made was to focus on what I had instead of what I did not have, which is a form of mindfulness. I chose to be grateful on purpose and express it. That one decision led me to volunteering to serve the homeless at the local shelter for Thanksgiving. Then for the Christmas season, I donated clothing to a local Good Will and performed with a local group for the homeless before serving them dinner as well. This shifted my focus to the present in being present instead of the past where the loathing of a depressive mood often feeds.
It would be great if this was all the work that I needed to do but it wasn’t. I next chose to adopt the mindset that a merry heart was BETTER THAN medicine. So I simply decided to go to the movies by myself to watch The Grinch That Stole Christmas with Jim Carey. I laughed and laughed and laughed and it lifted my spirits and improved my mood. Recently, I learned that your mind and body does not know the difference between real or fake laughter. And more and more research is being conducted on the benefits of laughter for those who love proof. In the meantime, try it! Go ahead and laugh your way to healing. All over the world there are laughter groups as well as forms of laughter therapy to support your healing.
If you find that a depressive mood lingers long past the holidays, consider reaching out for help from a professional for an assessment for depression. I hope this message brings you hope for a better holiday season as you purposely employ more gratitude and a merry heart.