You back up your computer files and put some funds away into an emergency fund. You buy home, medical and automobile insurance. In all of this planning for times of material lack and disaster, maybe you should also take some time to plan to take care of yourself in times of emotional distress.
Stuff happens. Drops in mood can be caused by conditions outside of our control, illness, stress and fatigue. It helps to be prepared. The depressed mind is not always a mind that is creative about digging its way out of the depression and is not always focused on self care. If we are prepared for times like this we can take better care of ourselves.
I find it helpful to have a written plan. My plan is broken up into sections that contain things that are very easy for me to do and reminders of things that make me happy, or make me think positively. Here are the elements of my plan. Feel free to adapt this and create a plan of your own.
Collect Positive Quotes
It’s great to have a selection of positive quotes on hand to read through when you're feeling down. Reading and considering what great writers and thinkers through history have had to say about how to be happy and live life successfully can inspire you to change your thoughts or mood or to behave in ways conducive to a better life now.
Here are some examples:
"The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks." — Matthew Henry
"The mind takes on an order conforming to the order upon which it concentrates." — Richard J. Foster
"Unless we manipulate our surroundings, we have as little control over what and whom we think about as we do over the muscles of our hearts." — Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Things to Remember
When your energy and mood are great, think about why. Think about what you’d like to achieve. Think about what your life means and who is in your life that gives it meaning. Boil this information down into a little list of things to remember. These are a good touchstone when you’re in a bad mood and not thinking as straight. When you’re down, it’s a great time to remind yourself of what’s important and what is true.
If you’re not at your best it’s easy to forget what you want or need to do on a regular basis. Having a written routine gives you something to go to that will tell you where you need to be and what you need to be doing.
I break down my routines like this:
This may seem like a lot, but when you're in the middle of a depression you might be surprised to find how much being very prepared can help. This is also a good way to promote self case. Put things into your routine that support happiness and fight the blues.
The People you Love are a Resource
Sometimes simply being around someone you love can give your mood a huge boost. When I'm feeling down I'll make it a point to go home for lunch or to spend some time playing with my son. A hug or a kind word can do an incredible amount of good for your mood.
The Two Big Secrets of Happiness
Gratitude! Make a list of things that you’re grateful for. Regularly review this list and add items to it as you think of them. This list is a great thing to ponder when you’re feeling down.
Helping Others! One of the fastest ways out of a funk it to find a need that someone else has and do what you can to fill it. There is no end to hurt and need in this world. Find little ways to make life better for others and your mood and outlook will improve.