The story idea is not my own.

It was inspired by a Facebook post a friend of mine recently shared.

I've copied and pasted parts of that post below:

Over the last week or two, my life has been entirely devoid of positivity or happiness and I don't know what to do about it or how to make it better ... So I figured I'd try to reach out to the collective and see if anyone has anything they could offer me; be it words of advice, kindness, positivity, or reassurance.

I'd like to frame the rest of this article as a response to my friend.

Let me preface by saying I'm not a mental health or medical professional. If you're feeling suicidal, call the the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here: (800) 273-8255 and, if you're outside of the U.S., click here for international options.

Now onto my response:

First of all, I want to say kudos.

This post demonstrates you have tremendous courage and self-awareness. For that, I'm already happy for you. What follows are three tips from my experience on how to deal with sadness; that kind of crushing sadness that can immobilize you.

1. Be mindful of your nutrition and exercise habits.

Decrease your refined sugar intake and try to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Throw in 20-30 minutes of exercise a day and I can promise you this will make you feel better. Endorphins are absolutely real. If you go hard enough you'll find yourself walking out of the gym with a sweat soaked shirt and a smile just thinking about all the little fireworks going off in your brain. Even if you don't have access to a gym, try an after dinner walk or simple body weight exercises. Just move around.

2. Challenge yourself to learn new things.

Think of something you'd never do. Then, commit for a month to learning it. At the most, you'll love it--and at the least, you'll have learned what you don't want to do. I used to detest any kind of physical contact--until I started learning jiu jitsu. Now I roll around on mats trying to tap out sweaty strangers. It's actually a ton of fun.

I also never ever pictured myself riding a motorcycle. The idea of it petrified me. That is, until I signed up for a motorcycle safety course. Six months after that, I loved riding so much that I took a motorcycle across the country.

What's a skill or potential hobby you can learn or take up that scares you? Excites you? Invigorates you? Make a list of the first few and check them off. The key is to really step out of your comfort zone into something new. The excitement of a new challenge can motivate you, propelling you through the low points in life.

Another unintended but positive side effect of this: camaraderie. I've made so many new friends and met so many great new people just through these two learnings that I decided to take up on a whim.

3. Do nice things for total strangers.

I was grabbing a drink in Walmart a few months back. While waiting in line, I said, "Screw it," and decided to buy groceries for the woman standing behind me in line.

She was completely stunned. I'm talking awe-struck. Dumbfounded. The cashier couldn't stop smiling, then the woman I got the groceries for couldn't stop smiling. None of us even exchanged words. The happiness made it too difficult. Imagine that!

By the time I made my way towards the exit doors I had to pin my cheeks together to keep myself from grinning like The Joker as I walked into the parking lot. Do this one. It works.

Published on: Oct 4, 2017