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20 Things That Make People With Depression Feel Happiness, If Only for a Moment

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When you live with depression, sometimes it can feel like the word “happy” no longer exists in your world. On days when rumination and exhaustion threaten to overcome you, sometimes happiness can feel like a distant memory.

While this is a very real part of depression for many, it’s important to remember having depression doesn’t mean you can never experience happiness at all. For many, there can be glimpses of hope that come through the darkness — even if just for fleeting moments. We wanted to know what can make people feel happiness in the midst of depression, so we asked members of our mental health community who live with depression to share one thing that allows them to experience happiness.


Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “Cuddling my dogs, especially when they know I need it. One will curl in front of me and I can wrap my arm around him and lay my head on him. [The] other will curl up with my legs, both under the blankets. My cats always make it better when they come to cuddle, too.” — Sierra H.

2. “Walking outside, feeling the sun hit my face or seeing the night sky and stars. Looking up with my eyes closed, taking a super long and deep breath and just smelling… [It] makes me feel at peace for a short moment, remembering that it will get better again. Bonus if there’s a soft wind as well.” — Cait L.

3. “Music sort of helps block out all the thoughts going haywire at the time in my mind. Particularly loud music with empowering and fun lyrics. That, coupled with a healthy mix of deep breathing and some funny videos, lightens my mood a significant amount.” — Arsh K.

4. “Watching anime because I still remember how it saved me from my first depressive episode. I honestly think I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for that.” — Luz B.

5. “A super hot bubble bath. [I] sink down into the water until my face is almost covered and [I[ just lay there. I can always get a grip on my thoughts and feel so much better after soaking in super hot water.” — Courtney P.

6. “My 13-month-old son. [He] can always make me happy! He is our rainbow baby and we tried to get pregnant for so long. I’m blessed to be able to stay home with him a majority of the time.” — Jennifer F.

7. “Buying myself flowers! Something about blooming is inspiring.” — Tina B.

8. “Watching cat videos is a sure way to ease the bleakness for a while. Whether they make me laugh or ‘ohh and ahh,’ it’s momentary relief.” — Amy P.

9. “NASCAR. I know this sounds [silly], but the atmosphere of a race track is soothing. At least for a few hours, the sounds, the smells, the visual pageantry of the cars is a world I can escape to. Collecting diecasts of the cars I see on the track is like a medicine that I can take to help me get through a difficult time. It’s not a cure by any means — I still have to take my meds and I still struggle with depression and anxiety — but watching NASCAR and collecting the diecasts make things a bit more bearable.” — David S.

10. “When I’m [at] college, I sit at the outside area we have and close my eyes. It usually smells like cut grass and flowers there. I let the bugs land on me, and I watch them walk around. It relaxes me to see the ants walk around on the benches I sit on. They seem so unaware of everything except where they’re going.” — Alexander W.


11. “Helping others. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m a hairdresser. When I can change a persons day from bad to amazing, it distracts me from my pain. I know how it feels to be upset, and I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way.” — Brett S.

12. “When the neighbors smile and wave and say hello. “ — Sarah S.

13. “On the days I need a laugh and a pick me up, I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not only is there so much comedic gold on the show, but the music and messages RuPaul and the show serve up are full of love, inspiration and confidence building.” — Hanneke V.

14. “Watching the sunrise. I can’t look away cause it’s always changing and I’m scared [to] miss a single beautiful moment of it. Then I’m reminded to try to apply that to the rest of my days, too.” — Naomi S.

15. “Talking to my boyfriend… He can always calm me down, make me laugh, make me smile and assure me that everything is going to be OK.” — Lisa G.

16. “I keep pictures of me and my best friends put in places around where I am the most. Pictures that show me good memories can help you get through.” — Hunter G.

17. “Wiener dogs. [There’s] something about them that’ll make me smile even in the worst fit. Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund brightens up my day.” — Ashley D.

18. “Remembering and knowing I’m growing a tiny human inside of me.” — Deena H.

19. “‘Star Trek’ movies. The new ones. I had great memories watching them with friends and I love to say the lines from the movies.” — Sha S.

20. “Anything to do with the arts. Sketching, painting, writing, reading, music, dancing; it’s all therapeutic.” — Emily S.

What would you add?

Thinkstock photo via moodboard.

20 Things That Make People With Depression Feel Happiness, If Only for a Moment
Originally published: June 14, 2017
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