Nobody’s happy all the time. It takes work, and it’s worth it because we need to practice for those times when it’s hard.
I’ve suffered from depression, fortunately not severe, but that’s when times were hard. And I basically had to brainwash myself out of the deepest part of the hole. Here are the strategies I used.
Lots of encouraging quotes. Everywhere. I would post quotes anywhere I would see them. I started with sarcastically cheerful quotes because actual cheerful quotes didn’t ring true at first. But I had to have some that felt sincere and optimistic somehow. When you read something or say something, you’re thinking it.
By reading these quotes posted around my computer monitor and bathroom mirror and desktop background, I controlled my own thoughts. They were especially helpful when I wasn’t feeling well or had a hard time focusing.
It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of bad, sad, and pessimistic thoughts when you have problems you can’t solve at the moment, and when I would get distracted by these thoughts. Then, I’d look away from my work or take a bathroom break and see an encouraging message or one that made me smile.
It was important, though, to work toward sincere and away from bitter. The bitterness can build if you don’t tamp it down. It makes you brittle and takes away your ability to adapt.
LIMITATIONS: Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk.
There’s nothing I’m ever doing that isn’t the most incredible thing on Earth. If I’m doing something sucky, (I can’t remember doing that recently), maybe that’s an invaluable life lesson. If I’m with someone boring and obnoxious, it’s a lesson in patience, or empathy, or in learning to understand people better.
–Leo Babauta, Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net
It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.