(return to Part
The second thing you can do to take good
care of yourself (and this is also finding something better to
do) is: Do something for the world you live in.
We start with your body and your world,
because they are the easiest things to do when you're down. They
are concrete and physical. When you're really down, you're distorted
your perception of life is off. Respect that and don't
try to make decisions or work things out with other people when
you are feeling down.
Fix something, mend something, clean up
a storage room, clean out a desk drawer, do something to improve
your physical world. If you have a piece of paper that isn't
finished, a thank you note that needs to be written, a report
that needs to be done, pick up one thing and finish it.
Depression is a conviction of your own
helplessness, a conviction that you can't make a difference,
that you have no effect. When you physically accomplish something
that you can see, it weakens your conviction that you're helpless.
Your accomplishment, no matter how small, is proof positive that
you can cause and effect. Your mood will rise.
Besides that, you have also physically
improved your world the environment you are in
and an improved environment usually has a positive effect on
When your personal life is in great shape,
try volunteering. Volunteers experience what is called a "helper's
high." It's a good feeling and boosts your immune system.
People who volunteer don't have as much illness, rate themselves
as having a better, fuller life, and there are also indications
now that people who volunteer live longer. Again, take on a little
thing. Maybe just volunteer one afternoon a month. Make the world
a better place and you will feel better.
The third thing is: Learn something. Learn
something to make yourself more able to handle your problems
or something that will make you more able to achieve your goals.
If you have an alcoholic in your family and that troubles you,
read up on it. I had several in my family and tried for years
to help them. One day I read a simple thing: I didn't cause it,
I can't control it, and I can't cure it. A very large weight
came off my back. It brought me up.
Learn about people and learn technical
skills. People skills will make more of a difference in your
success and happiness.
You're better off learning about your problems
than you are trying to change another person. See the difference?
If I try to change someone, maybe nothing will happen. Probably
nothing will happen. If I go to a class and learn something to
make myself more able, there's a pretty good chance my
effort will make a difference.
Learning brings understanding, and understanding
will improve your mood. Not being able to understand something
that's happening will bring you down. A lack of understanding
is a tremendous drain on your well-being.
Learn something that will bring you up.
This might mean taking a class at the college, reading a book,
finding a counselor, or doing anything that will help you learn
more about what's troubling you.
GET IT SAID
The last thing is to get it said.
If you have something you want to say and you stop yourself from
saying it for some reason, do you know it doesn't go away? It
stays there, hanging in suspended animation, wanting to be said.
If you don't get it said, it is like a little piece of cancer
inside you. If you will just get it said to someone, you will
If you have a friend in your life you can
talk to, get it said to them. If you don't have anybody you can
really talk to because you think it's too personal or involves
someone else and you want to respect their privacy (or every
person you know is a lousy listener which is a pretty
good probability), then go to the bookstore and get yourself
a journal and write in that.
College students are under a lot of stress,
so they were given instructions to write in a journal for 20
minutes a day about their emotionally troubling issues. Another
group was told to write in a journal for 20 minutes a day about
anything what they had for lunch, what they did that day,
etc. The ones who wrote about emotionally troubling issues missed
less school because of illness and rated themselves as having
a better attitude. All they did was get it said.
When you get something said, you can take
your attention off it. It's not waiting to be said anymore. Have
you ever been upset about something and spilled your guts to
a good listener? When you finished, you probably gave a deep
sigh of relief and felt you could go on. You had cleansed yourself
of all those cancerous thoughts. Maybe you can't talk directly
to the person bringing you down. If you can, try to work it out.
If you can't, get it out of your system some other way. Don't
let it sit in there and eat at you.
And get the good stuff said too. One common
reason for leaving a job is also a common reason people leave
their mates: They didn't feel appreciated. They felt taken for
granted. So if you want to do something that not only brings
you up, but also helps the people you're around to come up, is
for you to appreciate someone. To take
the time to say what you like. Take the time and notice the
good in your life.
Once a day, look for something you can
acknowledge in another. It's like a vitamin. It makes a big difference,
in more ways than one. Be specific. Be sincere. Don't say stuff
you don't mean. It will take effort. This is not some easy trick.
It'll take effort and it will go against the natural negativity
of your mind. Exert yourself to find something and say it. Tell
someone what you appreciate and why you think it is valuable
and worthy of comment.
When you have people around that you love
and care about and you appreciate them, they feel better, and
they're more able to handle the people in their lives
who bring them down. And you have strengthened their moral backbone
(increased their integrity), which will bring them up. You can
make them bigger and better able to handle difficulties in their
life, just by letting them know they're valuable. And it will
Here's how to handle people who bring you
down. First of all, be vague. Second, find something better to
do. Do something good for your body or your world. Learn something.
And get it said.