How To Be Happy Again
By Toni Hoy
Updated April 02, 2019
Reviewer Lauren Fawley
Depression is a vicious cycle. A unique combination of genes and environmental factors are the storm clouds that build and may result in chronic, episodic depression. Once the cycle starts, it tends to become more intense. But an episode of depression is something that you can recover from. Here is a quick guide on some ways to begin to boost your mood in order to be happy again.
Create a fresh routine
If one day blends into the next, you might benefit from mixing up your routine. A new routine provides you with a fresh perspective and approach to life. Find happiness by grounding yourself in a few "comfort" activities from your old routine while enriching your experience with new, and maybe even spontaneous, activities. Cure apathy and boredom by being open to strangers, unfamiliar experiences, and unknown adventures. If your mind tells you there is no point, try not to listen to it. You are the point and your well-being matters. You do not have to "feel" up or vivacious while trying new things. Have faith that what you are doing can have an important impact on your mental health. You do not deserve to be isolated from others or from life. Try to do one small thing every day that feels a little out of your comfort zone. Experiment with a new route to the grocery store, buy a new exotic smelling shampoo. "New" things can be small.
Pay attention to your self-talk
Imagine having a parrot on your shoulder who voices negativity constantly, repeat-criticizing, nitpicking, and insulting you. Pretty unappealing? You may not be aware of it, but you likely talk to yourself in the same way. According to evolutionary psychologists, people naturally have a negativity bias, especially when it comes to critiquing themselves. These means that if you hear 10 things that are positive about yourself versus one thing that is negative, your brain tends to naturally focus on the one that feels bad. While you might forgive your friends for forgetting your birthday, you condemn yourself for forgetting theirs. You have to help your brain out by making a conscious effort to bring more of the positive things about yourself into your awareness. If you want to feel happier again, pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Turn your mind away from the thoughts that are not serving you and towards the thoughts that are more positive and self-esteem-building.
Spend time in nature
Break out of your cement box and ground yourself in your natural surroundings. Ours is the first society in history that spends so much time apart from the environment. Reconnect with nature to rediscover simplicity and stillness. You do not need to go far, just take a walk in a green space without distracting yourself with headphones or talking on the phone. Take a moment to notice to sunset or even an interesting looking cloud. The world keeps turning.
Many people waste their lives living in the future or past while neglecting the present. But you can cultivate an attitude of mindfulness, engaging your five senses in the present moment. This shift in focus does wonders to conquer worry or regret. Mindfulness practices involve focusing your attention on bodily sensations, oftentimes it is the natural act of breathing, or on an object in front of you. The goal is to notice everything about that activity or object, letting the thoughts in your mind float away without attachment to them. It can be difficult at first to let go of thoughts instead of following them, but with practice, it gets easier to refocus your mind on participating in the here and now. If you are not sure where to begin, you can find many mindfulness exercises available on the internet.
People who consistently write down their blessings tend to be less depressed. This has something to do with the negativity bias mentioned above. If we are focused too much on what we do not have rather than what we do have, that focus brings down our mood. Spend some time appreciating all the things that it can be easy to take for granted.
Religious practices can inspire feelings of faith and hope and cultivates strong community bonds. These factors may act as a shield against life's challenges. Not only that, but religious beliefs may alter your perspective on life. For one example, Buddhism teaches that all struggling and sadness is rooted in desire. To be happy, focus on what you do have instead of fixating on what you do not have. You do not have to have structured religious beliefs to connect to a sense that the world is greater than your current struggles. A greater connection to the human collective human spirit is also a way to experience spirituality.
Develop Real Connections with Others
Research shows that social media triggers loneliness by reducing face-to-face communication. Instead of wasting precious time perusing Facebook, spend time developing real connections with others by taking a genuine interest in them, volunteering your time or resources, or inviting them to a special event.
Too many people become overwhelmed and depressed because they prioritize helping others over taking care of themselves. Be sure to schedule regular self-care, in the form of meditation, a healthy diet, and exercise, so that when you do reach out to help others, you'll be at full force
An unhealthy attachment to another person traps you on an emotional rollercoaster, on which his or her every emotion can influence how you are feeling about yourself. Develop your own outlets, hobbies, and social groups to increase your emotional independence and create sustainable happiness.
Talk to an Online Counselor to Discover How to be Happy Again
If you are struggling with depression that just will not lift, you do not have to go this alone. Overcoming chronic depression and achieving lasting happiness is tough. To do so successfully, you need the right resources, which may need to include a professional therapist. There is nothing "wrong" with you because your mood is low, you just may need to support to get back to your normal self again. Connect with an online therapist today to get the guidance you need to carve your niche of contentment-a haven from the abyss of depression.
The most current research shows that those with chronic depression tend to feel better, faster, with a combination of talk therapy and anti-depressant medications. You do not have to suffer or wait for longer than necessary in order to start to feel better.