Did you know that yesterday is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year?
At least that is what I read on Facebook.
I was thinking about the lack of sunshine as I was driving to an appointment today. It's bitter cold, there is little sunshine, the wind is blowing almost non-stop. It's little wonder so many people struggle with feeling depressed this time of year.
But what can we do about it?
Here's three ideas that I have found helpful.
1. Write out a list of things for which you are thankful.
This one seems so simple, but making a list of those that we are thankful for forces our brain to look away from the negatives. No one likes being constantly cold. When bad things happen around us, we can be tempted to focus on them and ignore the positive things in our life. Our thinking is a key component in our feelings. Focusing on the positives in our life can increase our happiness by physically increasing our "happy" chemicals in our body.
2. Do an intentional act of kindness for someone else and keep it a secret.
Focusing on other people can help us not think about ourselves. Once again, we're releasing the happy chemicals in our brain when we do things for others. If our life is going to have true meaning, it must be about something bigger than just us. This is true in every day life as well. Sometimes, the best way to beat the winter doldrums is to simply look around and find someone who has a need and meet it.
3. Brew a hot cup of coffee and read a book
Ok, this is my comfort idea but there is some really good recent research to suggest that reading stories or watching them unfold does positive things for our brains. Take some time to unplug and unwind. Get lost in a good story for a moments or hours.
These are my ideas, what are yours?