It’s Fall. The leaves are falling. The chill of the coming winter is in the air. Thanksgiving and Christmas are here. It’s a beautiful time of year. But it can also be a dark time of the year for some of us. But with the magic of thankfulness and thoughtfulness, we can overcome.
Something else can happen in the fall: depression. I’ve had some minor struggles with feeling down in the fall. It’s a dichotomy because autumn is my favorite season. I love the misty mornings and the bare trees. But the shorter days and darker skies can have their effects.
Tools To Deal With The Darker Side Of Autumn
I’ve learned over the years to be ready for that sinking feeling, and I’ve found some methods to wipe out depression before it goes too far.
The first thing in my arsenal is exercise. I don’t care what’s getting you down, getting up and out of the house and into an exercise mode is good medicine.
Healthy food and good music are also in my anti-depression tool kit.
But thankfulness and thoughtfulness have become two of the strongest depression killers I know. Why? Because they both turn the focus away from the self.
The Magic Of Thankfulness
When we take time to be thankful for what we have, we have less time to worry about what we don’t have.
Thanksgiving reminds us to be thankful for the things we’ve been blessed with. When I think about it, I have a lot of good stuff in my life:
- A job as a college educator: I get to help others learn how to become better writers and speakers.
- I’m fairly healthy for mid-50s: I’ve got a few more aches and pains than I had in my 30s, but I feel good overall.
- I have a great daughter: Annie is loving, studious, and excelling in many areas of her life.
- Good friends: I have several close friends that I can count on for help when I need it.
- Musical talent: I continue to improve as a musician and a songwriter.
- A blog that’s growing: Hip Diggs continues to grow in readership.
- I have a nice home: I continue to make improvements to my house and it continues to grow in equity.
When I focus on the things that I’m thankful for, I let go of my problems. The list above is less about myself and more about the things I have that support who I am. When we count our blessings, we’re less likely to get depressed. There’s a little magic in being thankful.
The Magic Of Thoughtfulness
I’ve never claimed to be a selfless person. In fact, I know I’m selfish in many ways. But over the years, I’ve tried to make a point to become more thoughtful toward others.
Helping others with no expectation of reward is a great way to take the attention off of yourself. Depression and anxiety are usually tied to being overly concerned with your own problems. So helping others becomes a magic medicine against depression.
Here are some ways you can be thoughtful of others:
- Take people on outings: After my mom’s husband passed away, I started taking her on short day trips. She loved it and I feel great knowing that I’ve helped make her day.
- Help friends in need: I have some good friends that have a large yard. I always try to help out with things when I can.
- Call those who are struggling: Me ex-wife has had some losses in her family lately. Although we were not able to stay together, I still make a point to call her and support her through hard times.
- Hold the door: This is simple. If someone is close behind you, hold the door for them.
- Buy someone coffee: It could be a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger, but make a point to treat others from time to time.
- Give more tips: I’ve always been a fair tipper, but in the last few years I’ve moved slowly more toward the generous category.
I know these might seem like little things. But little things add up. And you can do many other things such as volunteer at a community event, or at your church. Putting your focus on others takes the focus off yourself. That goes a long way in fighting depression. It’s magic.