Taking back my life: 2) The first steps

Click here for Taking back my life: 1) Where to begin?


After nearly a year and a half of reading books and watching videos about happiness, depression and how to turn your life around, I have a few ideas that I’d like to try. One difficulty that I face is that rather than experiencing a general sense of malaise, I tend to have good days and bad days. On the bad days, I feel so low that I find it difficult to accomplish the simplest of tasks such as getting out of bed. On the good days, I feel relatively calm and unbothered, and therefore prefer to spend my time on enjoyable activities, rather than dwelling on the if’s and why’s and what’s of it all.

Therefore, I feel that the very first thing I need to do is to consciously make a list of helpful methods that I’ve heard about. When I am faced with a tough situation, I will have resources on hand to remind me to try something new, rather than simply letting the darkness slip over me and regressing into current habits, which pretty much resemble a small blanket burrito sitting on a sofa, stuffing its face with chocolate and watching whatever reality tv gameshow I haven’t yet seen.

I plan to split these methods into two categories:

  1. Stay cool: A list of proactive activities that I can perform regularly in order to reduce the possibility that the day will go downhill.
    • Wake up with my alarm every day (Depression can be at its worst first thing in the morning, and not waking up with the alarm can result in hours of unwanted snoozing, leading to a downward spiral)
    • Take a few minutes every morning/evening to come to terms with the day. Activities to try include:
      1. Yoga
      2. Meditation
      3. Mindfulness Exercises
      4. Making a clear plan for the day
      5. Practice being grateful
      6. Visualization
      7. Positive Affirmations


  • Turn-it-around: A list of things to try on the bad days, in order to turn my mood around
    • Change your environment (e.g. Move your body into a different room, onto the balcony or outside. Think of your brain like a record that is skipping. Sometimes you have to physically move the needle on your record player to make the skipping stop. The same is true for your body. If you change the environment you are in, you might have a shot at breaking out of the negative loop in your brain)
    • Increase your heartbeat (e.g. Jumping jacks, running on the spot, dancing to music)
    • Distract yourself 
    • Smile 
    • Practice being grateful
    • Analyse your negative thoughts
      • Method 1: ABCDE from Martin E. Seligman’s ‘Learned Optimism’
      • Method 2: Turn negatives into positives

I plan to experiment with these different methods and to detail my progress over the next month. I plan to take note of any difficulties I encounter along the way and to see how much each of the different methods helps me. In addition, I will note any new methods that I discover along the way.


Some of my inspiration for these methods came from the following sources:
Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean (watch for my book review, coming Wednesday, February 3,2016)
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin E. Seligman (watch for my book review, coming Wednesday, February 10,2016)
All four of these TED talks: 4 TED Talks to motivate you to take control of your life and happiness
And this one: Matt Killingsworth – TED Talk
This Youtube video: Project Life Mastery – My Morning Ritual – How To Be Productive, Happy & Healthy Everyday



The photo featured in this post was taken by Jordan Whitt and can be found at stocksnap.io.



2 thoughts on “Taking back my life: 2) The first steps

  1. Pingback: Taking back my life: 1) Where to begin? – Live For Every Day

  2. Pingback: Taking back my life: 3) My first setback – Live For Every Day

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