A couple of quick thoughts on fighting depression.

  1. Move.  A depressed body at rest tends to stay at rest—and get more depressed.  Force yourself, while you are not in the mood, to get out of that bed or off that couch.  Wash a dish.  Do some laundry.  Go for a walk.  Motion tends to elevate mood.
  2. Help someone. Divert your mind to the needs of another.  Give a compliment to someone.  Do someone a favor without being asked, even if you’re not in the mood.   Thinking about someone else and tending to his needs can put your own problems in perspective.
  3. Smile. Exhibit a pleasant demeanor, while you are not in the mood.  Stand tall.  Put a smile on your face.  Greet people.  There is a connection between the muscles used in smiling and elevation of mood.
  4. Don’t change an earlier good resolution.
  5. Intensify your religious activities — that is, spend more time in prayer, meditation, and good deeds.
  6. Persevere in patience, for the Devil’s authority and ability to assault you is strictly limited by God, meaning that you’ll be relieved of your spiritual sufferings if only you hold out long enough.
  7. As Ignatius discovered, depression can be a great spiritual challenge — and also a great opportunity for growth. Let us keep this in mind whenever we suffer from depression and turn to the saints for their intercession.

Of course, none of this will work for people who are determined to do only what they feel like doing.

Jeff Bates