6 things not to say to someone with depression — and 7 things we should say and do.

Depression feels heavy

Your friend with depression would love to “just snap out of it.”

Depression Sucks

Being around someone with depression can be very difficult. When someone that we care about is suffering, our natural inclination is to try to help. Operating around depression is the cultural myth that the person with depression just needs to try harder or snap out of it. There is nothing that a person with depression wants more than to be able to “snap out of it,” to be able to wake up one morning and not to be wrapped up in the heavy shroud that is depression.

Depression is like a well engineered virus. It undermines our efforts to do the things that will help to weaken it. It convinces us that we are too tired to exercise. It tells us, over and over, that seeking help is futile as no one could possibly understand. It destroys hope.

This article has some good suggestions about what not to say and how to help someone with depression. I would add that it is imperative that the person offering help not take it personally when the person with depression balks at the suggestions you make. If you offer, for example, to go for a walk with a depressed person and they decline, wait a while and ask again. Remember that there is nothing you can do to take the depression away from someone else. Be present with them, listen to them and be lovingly persistent until they find their way out.

Expressing gratitude, literally, lights up our brains!!

06-grattitude-brain-scan_w529_h352“A lot of so-called ‘positive psychology’ can seem a bit flaky, especially if you’re the sort of person disinclined to respond well to an admonition to “look on the bright side.” But positive psychologists have published some interesting findings, and one of the more robust ones is that feeling grateful is very good for you.”

The concept of “gratitude” keeps popping up in many, various media forms. Now, with the advancement of technology, we can see what is happening in the brain when we engage in the practice of expressing gratitude and it’s good news.

Check out How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain from Science of Us.

Breathe it all in…

Ordinary lifeSuffering is the result of trying to hold on to the amazing, resisting the awful and believing that we’re doing something wrong when life is, merely, ordinary. Breathe into all of it. Happy 2016!!