Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression. —Dodie Smith—
Depression feeds on itself. With attention it worsens, but there are places for our attention. We can move our focus to a woman who is close by, a woman who is struggling to determine her direction in life. We can offer our ears. Or we can observe attentively, today, all the women, children, and men we see on the streets. When we notice their expressions, we realize they, too, may be suffering.
Doing something for someone else will lessen our own problems, no matter what the cause. In fact, just doing something will lift our spirits. Depression becomes habitual, and habits, even those that are detrimental, are easy to hang onto. When we take an action, even a small one, we can note the change: Action that benefits another is guaranteed to benefit us as well.
Depression does get worse with self-pitying attention; however, attention to ourselves that is nurturing has its place. We can pamper ourselves, but not pity ourselves. Pampering reflects approval, caring, self-respect; three attitudes inconsistent with depression. Even more than inconsistent, pampering and depression are incongruent.
Depression must be coddled to maintain it. It’s my choice to move beyond it at any moment. I can put something besides my problem at my center today and enjoy the results.