On Depression

It is a scientifically known fact that some of the humans are more susceptible to depression and anxiety than others due to the genes that one has. Unfortunately, I belong to those who are physiologically more inclined to depression which means that despite everything being great, some days I wake up with the great feeling of emptiness.

This autumn and winter seasons have not been easy with a lot of days like this. This got me wondering and researching what makes people happy but my main dilemma was: if I am physiologically predisposed to depressive states, is there anything I can do to trick my brain in the states of happiness?

I thought that aside from usual pieces of advice such as spending more time in nature, connecting more with your family and friends, eating well and exercising (which I already do), there must be something that can improve purely physiological genetic aspect. And there is!

At some point when I was listening to the podcast on the Calm app from the happiness scientist and researcher Shawn Achor, he mentioned that there was a method that was scientifically tested and proven successful and that came from one simple habit. The method was easy and not time-consuming enough for me to try – at the end of every day, you would need to write three things that made you happy and that you are grateful for. You can write them either on paper or in your notetaking app with the only condition that those things have to be as specific as possible. For instance, something like “My family made me happy” would not be specific enough but “A morning walk in the park with my husband” would work great. Another important aspect is consistency so you would need to remember to do it every evening.

The way our brain works, the researcher explained, is that it does not often distinguish between reality and things that it imagines. When you are writing your three great things every night, your brain scans your day for happy moments and relives them again doubling your happiness for that day. So in a way, you are tricking your brain to be more positive and happy. That was exactly what I was looking for!

It has been more than two months since I have been keeping up with this habit consistently and there was not a day where I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. So I am going to go and write down my three things for today and so should you!

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.  – Omar Khayyam


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