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We all have those days when life pelts lemons our way. A failed test. A fight. A fallout. Sometimes, these days can turn into weeks. Every missed bus feels like a punch by the universe.

Obviously, I’m no expert on depression, nor do I have any qualifications to provide professional tips on finding happiness. But after 18 years of living as a highly emotional, sensitive, and easily overwhelmed person, I have managed to gather some basic personal reminders to keep my mental stability in check.

  1. Cry. Many people affirm that crying is pointless because it solves nothing. That is bullshit. It helps to let the emotion out, like relieving poison from the bloodstream. Privacy is a must for this kind of release; a real good cry can be in the shower (no tissues or clean up necessary), or in your bedroom.
  2. Exercise. Go running, or biking, or swimming, or even walking. Better yet, join a fitness group or dance class. It doesn’t have to be intense; I’m certainly no athlete. But losing myself in lane swim or Zumba totally clears my head and leaves me feeling fresh and healthy.
  3. Retail therapy. It really works. Of course, you have to be careful to not overspend and end up feeling guilty later. But usually, I find that buying one really good item that I’ve longed for will make me feel insanely happy.
  4. Don’t be alone with your thoughts. Thought distortions have been a particularly prevalent issue for me lately. This is when facts and exaggerations/assumptions blur and everything becomes a downward chain/spiral of negativity (i.e. I am not living on residence in university, meaning I will not make any friends, meaning I will be lonely and awkward forever, etc.).
    Humans are social creatures. Extroverts and introverts both thrive off company (but they do so in different ways, with different preferences). Being with friends is not just a distraction for me; it genuinely makes me feel happier and more excited. Stay in the company of loved ones.
  5. Get lost in stories. Whatever form(s) floats your boat. Books. Movies. YouTube videos.
  6. Happy pump-up music. Make a playlist for bad days. Sing along. Music is the quickest way to turn a mood around.
  7. Throw yourself into a personal activity. Bake something. Have a project on-the-go, like scrap-booking or filming. Or a group extra-curricular. Dance. Choir. Quidditch.
  8. Eat what makes you happy. It’s better if it’s healthy, but chocolate after a long day is perfectly acceptable. Also get sleep.
  9. Stretch and meditate before sleep. Even for just 15 minutes. It clears the head and works miracles.