7 Habits To Fight Depression
Fighting depression is tough. Thankfully, there are some behaviors that tend to keep the foe at arm’s length.
You can use a simple technique to have a behavior well on its way to occurring automatically within a week.
The technique I’m talking about is BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits.
One trick is to keep the behavior something you can do in less than thirty seconds. By making it short and sweet it becomes something you can do pretty much however you feel.
Another key is to anchor it to something, preferably associated with the habit behavior, you do every day. After every occurrence, carry out the tiny habit.
The third trick is to reinforce the behavior each time you do it. Little celebrations, such as humming a victory fanfare or pumping your fist in the air, release endorphins in your brain.
Depression is a cruel son of a bitch. Depression fights dirty. Having some weapons to fight back just might give you a little edge.
Before you know it it’s a habit you don’t even think about. Pretty cool.
Here’s a list of behaviors that can help ward off depression:
- eating a healthy diet
- cultivating gratitude
- creative activity
- maintaining a support system (keeping in contact with people who care about you)
- spending time in nature
- cardiovascular exercise
Let’s take the first one: eating a healthy diet. That’s too vague. To be a good target for a habit, the behavior must be simple and specific.
Say you want to limit your junk food intake. Putting a serving into a small bowl gives you two benefits: fill up the bowl and it looks like a lot; the trek back to the kitchen is a barrier to mindlessly eating more.
Opening the bag of chips is the perfect trigger. And of course you celebrate when you fill the little bowl.
The recipe is “After I open a bag of chips, I will pour a serving into a small bowl.”
After I pour some chips into a small bowl, I will consciously and deliberately savor the first chip.
After I wash the dinner dishes I will play three chords on my guitar.
After I close the door upon returning home from work, I will take three deep breaths.
Maintaining a support system
After I process my business email I will send a short note to a friend.
Spending time in nature
After I sit down at my desk I will gaze at a photograph of an idyllic scene. (There’s benefit in just appreciating a beautiful image. But you’re likely to develop an urge to visit a local park.)
After I pee, I will do two jumping jacks.
Pick three you like. Or create your own. Then write them down. (I know that sounds silly, but it really helps. You’ll remember them better and writing them will give your commitment a serious boost.)
Depression is a cruel son of a bitch. Depression fights dirty. Having some weapons to fight back just might give you a little edge. Especially if you can wield them with virtually no effort.