Depression can make it feel as if your life is being drained by an unshakeable force. It can lead to feelings of emptiness, fatigue and the desire to hide when you are struggling. These debilitating symptoms can be overwhelming, but there’s something you can do about it. No matter how hopeless it feels to continue on in the face of depression, happiness may be closer than you think.
Depression can rob us of all of great things in life such as taking pleasure in a beautiful sunset, or relishing your favourite food. While some people may be able to experience joy in spite of their depression, others may never feel it again because they have lost their ability to feel happiness, pleasure and other positive emotions.
However, researchers are finding that one simple intervention called JOY (Journalling About Your Own Happiness) can help people who are depressed restore their capacity for positive feeling.
In a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, patients who were treated with JOY showed significant improvement in depression symptoms compared to those who received standard treatment. The participants also reported higher levels of happiness after receiving JOY treatment than they had before entering the study.
JOY is a simple, but powerful, self-help tool that many people are using to overcome depression. It’s easy to use, free and the results are amazing.
The idea behind JOY is simple: write about anything that makes you happy. This may be something that happened yesterday or something you dream about in the future. It could be a song on the radio or an animal at the zoo or even a memory from childhood. The only thing that matters is that it makes you feel good when you think about it.
What’s so special about this? Well, when we’re feeling down or depressed, it’s easy to focus on everything that’s wrong with our lives – our jobs, relationships, lack of money etc etc etc… But what if we looked for positive things instead? Our brains are wired to look for negative experiences first (this is called negativity bias), which means that even if there were lots of positive things happening in our lives, we’d still notice them less than if there were negative events going on around us!
So go ahead, pick up a pen and write down anything that makes you smile or laugh. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar – just write whatever comes into your head! The goal is to get all those good feelings out of your head and onto paper so they’re available when you need them again later on. Try this for 21 days and see the magic return to your life!!