Easy Wins, Small Steps To Redesign Your Life

By Vickie | Uncategorised

Sep 07

Changing your thinking about the type of life you want, the adventures you’d like to have, the achievements you’d like to share with the world, the legacy you want to leave behind, is absolutely critical to designing and creating your future without depression.

This might all sound very grand – adventures, achievements, legacy – but there are many ways you can redesign your life that needn’t be earth-shattering.

There are lots of ways you can participate, contribute and redesign your life which are small and easy to implement: 

Contributing to your local community by joining an environmental protection group, doing volunteer work with the elderly, fostering a child in need, baking for your neighbour who can’t get out much, or mowing their lawn once in a while, researching your family history, travelling to Spain, learning to take good photos and selling them online, writing poetry or that novel, doing that course in antique furniture restoration…

The possibilities for creating a meaningful life are endless…

You just need to find your thing…

http://depressionrecoveryschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/painting-1737731_1280.jpg changing your thinking

Joining a community choir is an amazing mood lifting activity…

Take 20 or 30 minutes to think back over your life, focussing on times when you felt reasonably happy and contented. Do this fairly rapidly. 

Do not dwell on unpleasant times and remember that if you have been experiencing low mood for some years, you may no longer believe that there have been any happy periods in your life. 

But There will have been times when you feel even marginally better than you do today, otherwise you would not be feeling depressed. 

So look back now, through your childhood, young adult hood, your 30s, your mid-life…think about the times when you did feel happier. 

Did you love riding your bike as a kid, but stop riding when you started commuting to work? Did you love camping when you were at college, but have left your tent mouldering in the garage for decades? Was living by the beach, in the mountains, in the city where you’ve felt most comfortable, but now you are living in an environment which makes you profoundly unhappy? 

Did you always want to study art history but ended up an accountant instead, and haven’t stepped inside an art gallery for years? 

Have you always wanted to ride a motor cycle but gave up that idea long ago because someone told you it was too dangerous? 

Redesign your life www.depressionrecoveryschool.com

Reconnect with activities that used to make you feel good.

Did you volunteer with guide dogs once and loved it, but for some reason have never had your own dog? 

Think about your life in stages and try to determine when you were happiest (and conversely, when you were most unhappy). 

Did you discover some patterns in your life? Times when you felt happier and times when you felt lower in mood? What was going on during those times? Where were you working? Who was around you? Where were you living? What brought joy and what brought you down?

The answers to these questions will help you start changing your thinking and designing your life without chronic low mood. There are clues here to what makes you tick.

Designing a life free of chronic low mood takes some time. Not years, but some time to reflect and try new things.

But here is one activity you can do today or this week to start lifting your mood and reconnecting with activities which have enjoyment and meaning for you.

The purpose of this exercise is to identify small activities which you can do right now to lift your mood. You can do this course much better if you can regularly engage in simple, easy-to-do activities that will start to reconnect you with who you were before depression.

The key words here are: small wins, easy activities, no stress.

Write a list of 8-10 enjoyable activities that you used to do regularly before you started feeling depressed. Don’t censor yourself. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done these things for months. Just write them down.

Now, next to each activity, write a rating of between one and ten (10 being the highest) for how rewarding those activities would be for you if you did them this week. Do not get caught up in thoughts such as ‘Yes buts…I have no energy…I don’t want to…’

Just give them a rating. It’s best if you do this fairly quickly. Don’t get caught up in your thoughts.

Now, for each activity, give a rating of between 1 and 10 (10 being the highest) of how difficult it might be to do each activity today.

Finally, subtract the difficulty rating from the reward rating.

The activity with the highest number is the activity which will give you the greatest pleasure for the least amount of effort.

For example:

Activity

Enjoyment rating

Difficulty rating

Pleasure Value

Meet John for squash

3

9

-6

Get a massage/my hair styled/a manicure

7

2

5

Attend local environmental-care group meetings

2

7

-5

Coffee and the papers at my local café on the weekend

8

1

7

Try new recipes

7

3

4

Go on weekend camping and fishing trips

2

10

-8

Enrol in art classes

10

3

7

For this person, they used to enjoy all the activities above but due to a lack of energy, motivation or optimism, many of these activities now seem too hard. However, there are three which scored quite highly – self-care activities, art class and reading the papers at a local café on the weekend – and these are activities which the person has not participated in for a while, due to their low mood.

These are the activities which will help them reconnect with what once had meaning and pleasure for them and help them understand that it is possible to enjoy life again.

Do this activity for yourself. Find the highest scoring activity and schedule it in your diary for this week.

It is important not to listen to whispers like ‘But I don’t have time…’ or ‘I’m no good at that any more…’ or ‘What’s the point’? Ignoring these voices and changing your thinking about these types of excuses will help you build and maintain motivation.

The answers are…a balanced life without chronic low mood requires you to find the time to relax and feed your soul. Having a hair cut, while it might seem whimsical and pathetic in the face of major life problems, is a chance for you to see yourself as attractive, worthy of being cared for and a chance to just sit and do nothing for a while.

If, in your heart of hearts you’d love to take up a hobby you once

http://depressionrecoveryschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/photography-2213362_1920.jpg live without depression

Get involved in a hobby, a project with other people and regular physical activity will go far in recovering from depression.

loved, like art, but there’s a little voice telling you that you are no good at it, it’s time to find a way to silence that voice and the best way to silence the voice is to do the activity anyway and prove it wrong. Go do the activity anyway! But leave your judging voice at home. If you enjoy art, go paint a nice picture. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Enjoy the process. The outcome is not the important thing here. The important thing is getting back in the flow of activities you once loved and which fed your soul.

‘What’s the point? What’s the point of wasting a Saturday morning at the café reading the papers?’

The point is that you used to enjoy it and getting pleasure back in your life is what is needed. It’s a chance to unwind and relax after a busy week. It’s ‘you-time’!

The other important benefits of this particular activity is that it gets you out of your house, into the real world where you need to interact with others and out of your head. Focusing on events in the wider world (take care not to read all the negative stories. Maybe you should read a magazine focussed on a special subject which interests you, like needlework, camping, sport or photography) gets you out of your own worries and reconnects you with what’s going on outside.

Do this mood-lifting activity and feel the benefits immediately.

Fill your life with mood-lifting activities – activities that connect with the real you – and you’ll be on your way to a depression-free future. 

 

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About the Author

If you'd asked her 15 years ago if she believed life could be a wonderful as it is today, Vickie would have answered, 'I just don't know, but it doesn't seem likely.' Now she knows that if she can turn her life around, it's possible for you too. Ask Vickie how she can help you design the life you'd really love to live and say goodbye to depression forever.

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