How to Short-Circuit Depression

Depression and extreme sadness plague many of us from time to time and can temporarily cripple our lives. We struggle, hoping our situation will improve. However, the smallest incident can throw us back into a cycle of despair. Some people find they have more difficulty coping with problems during the winter months when the skies are cloudy and the weather dreary. They look forward to the summer sun with the same enthusiasm as a kid anxious for Christmas.

Some suffer with depression that extends for more than a couple of days and may recur on a regular basis. These individuals will benefit from medical supervision.

Depression has been a problem for me for many years, but I have learned some helpful strategies to deal with my moods.

Monitor your thoughts.

In Philippians 4:8, the Lord gives us a wonderful formula for changing our thinking process. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Consider the elements of this formula:

True--Remember the facts of a situation. Do not go into "what if."

Noble--Look for something good about everyone. It helps to see people in a different perspective.

Right--Dwell on what is "right" in your life. You will find joy in realizing how much is going very well for you.

Pure--Keep your thoughts from immoral fantasies, your ears from listening to immoral conversations, and your eyes from viewing sexual or violent programs or reading provocative literature.

Lovely--Appreciate the beauty in God's creation and in people.

Admirable--Keep your mind from dwelling on gossip.

Excellent--Think on what is positive in your life.

Praiseworthy--Praise the Lord in everything.

Changing our thinking process is hard work, but essential if we are to keep depression from stealing our peace of mind. The more we look for the beauty of life, the less time we will have to dwell on the problems and heartaches that can drive us into a melancholy mood.

When I first began to follow this formula, I had to stop my thinking process every few moments. It was frustrating, and I felt I would never be able to fight my way back to a brighter outlook on life, but with the Lord's help, I did.

Paint and decorate your rooms in cheerful colors.

Warm colors, especially yellow, are excellent for giving a room an uplifting atmosphere. I use yellow in the rooms where I spend the most time. Avoid using cool and aggressive colors, such as blue, green, and red.

Have abundant lighting.

It makes rooms cheerful and helps to lighten your feeling of gloom.

Use scented candles to add to the overall comfort of a room.

Many of our problems are out of our control, and allowing Satan to drag us into mental and emotional turmoil will only add to our feeling of hopelessness. If we follow the Lord's instructions, we will short-circuit depression, and His peace will fill our hearts and minds.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

Barbara Lighthizer