top of page

How to Beat Back Depression

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

As the days grow shorter, I find myself becoming more often melancholy, lacking in energy, and cranky. For many of us who live in the northern climes, it happens every year.

Last year, about this time, I tried something different that was really helpful. It was from the book Before Happiness, by researcher Shawn Achor. Though Achor’s recommendations came easily to me, in the past year I’ve found that’s not the case with everyone.

The book makes a big promise: that five simple, daily activities will absolutely lift both your mood and your productivity. “Ok,” thought the part of me that actually hates being depressed, “I’m in”.

Just a week in, and I was a new girl. I was happy, energetic, and “annoying” things slid off my back. Sadly, I stopped after a couple of months. (I’ve been pretty irritable lately, a craving sleep like a sleep junkie. Time to reboot.)

The five things Achor suggests are simple, but for some people not so easy. Three of the five recommendations require you to flex your appreciation muscle. In the year since I first tried this program, I’ve noticed, to my dismay, that most people lack either the skill or the inclination to express gratitude. Particularly in the direction of other people.

Three of the five daily strategies that require an ability to appreciate are: