Is it possible to avoid depression? What is the secret of cultivating happiness and avoiding periods of unhappiness? To a large extent, we determine our own frame of mind; we shouldn’t feel that we are a helpless victim to depression. Depression is something that we can avoid by cultivating the opposite – happiness.
Here are some tips for avoiding depression
1. Offer goodwill to Others.
If we seek to make others miserable how can we expect to be happy ourselves? If we offer goodwill to other people this creates a powerful positive energy. Focusing on other people’s good qualities can definitely help improve our own state of mind. There is a principle that what we give out, we get back. Therefore, by offering positive energy to, at some time, we will also be the recipient.
2. Learn to Detach from Thoughts
Thoughts play a very significant role in determining our state of mind. If we pursue negative thoughts then we give them greater power and influence over our state of being. However, it is possible to decide which thoughts to allow and which to reject. We have to learn to be vigilant and prevent negative thoughts from taking hold. As soon as we become aware of negative thoughts we should let go of them. We can imagine that we are throwing them out of our mind into a cosmic dustbin.
3. Keep Busy.
If we struggle to detach from negative thoughts we should just throw ourselves into other activities. When we get involved in other activities that we enjoy it takes us out of ourselves. Activity forces us to do something constructive, and does not allow us to dwell on our depressed state of mind.
4. Avoid Feelings of guilt.
If we have made a mistake, harbouring feelings of guilt will not help alleviate the situation. In particular, we are seeking to avoid feelings of guilty for minor events of no significance. Often we have done nothing wrong, but, others seek to make us feel guilty for their bad fortune. Instead of feeling guilty we should seek to concentrate on doing the right thing.
5. Live a Balanced Life.
In life we need to make room for different aspects. If we focus all our time and energy on work then we will have no time for relaxation and cultivating other aspects of our life. If we pursue an unbalanced life unhappiness is more likely to occur.
6. Don’t Base your Happiness solely on other people.
If we expect to gain happiness from another person, at some time, we are bound to be disappointed. If bad relationships end, we should see it as an opportunity to move on. It is no use dwelling on what might have been. It is also a mistake to feel that we can change somebody to match our preferences. If we seek to change a person fundamentally we will just feel frustrated when we fail.
7. Share Problems
Good friendships can offer tremendous help. Especially, if we can have 1 or 2 friends who are able and willing to listen to our problems. Our friends will not be able to solve our problems. However, simply having someone to talk to and share difficulties is a tremendous help in being able to work through our own problems.
8. Cultivate Happiness.
To avoid depression we have to focus on the alternative which is happiness. The problem is that when we are depressed, the idea of happiness seems a million miles away. But, sometimes if we can force a smile or try to be insincerely happy, we can trick the mind and force happiness to descend; and after a while we start to achieve real happiness.
Will follow you
If your heart remains
Undisturbed by trifles.
9. Have Low Expectations.
Depression often occurs because our desires remain unfulfilled. The more desires we have, the more likely we are to be disappointed. After disappointment comes a sense of frustration and depression. If we minimise our desires then we will not be prone to disappointment. This does not mean we cannot strive for excellence and achieve things. We definitely should strive to achieve various accomplishments. However, we should try to have an attitude of detachment to the outcome. Nor should we expect people to behave in a certain way.
10. Don’t Dwell On the Negative.
This is the key to avoiding depression. If we focus always on negative things this will eventually filter through into our state of mind. Negativity can be, miserable people, depressing situations and our own negative thoughts. If we want to cultivate happiness, we should seek to avoid depressing situations and depressing people.
Photo By Kedar Misani, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries