Learning to be happier is a tricky thing. One of the things I’ve been trying to practice lately is talking about the good things that are going on. Not exaggerating them, not pretending there are more than there are, just making sure to talk about them when they happen. I think it’s healthy for me to try to maintain some equilibrium between thinking about good and bad things.
Being hyperanalytical often hinders and me in dealing with depression (though certainly there are ways in which it helps immensely also). One of the most important things I’ve had to learn in dealing with depression is that not every problem needs to be analyzed and figured out. That not every problem is the result of some deep existential conundrum that I need to solve to get past it. In fact, very often, the focus on deep problems that accompanies my depressive episodes is more misdirection than anything else. Sometimes, I just need to remember not to feed the trolls.
My reflex is to think of things as puzzles to solve. I’m depressed about a thing, so I figure out the solution to that thing to get undepressed. Depression is simpler than that, though. Some of the things that have worked best for me lately have been ignoring the problems my brain comes up with and just doing things I enjoy. Or just feeling the feelings the problems are associated with until they fade.
I enjoy talking about things that are going well, and talking about the positive side of things that have happened to me in general, but it’s against my natural inclination in many ways. I tend to think of the difficult things in life as being the most important things to focus on. They are the things that need to be changed, the problems that need to be solved.
When I was younger there was a period where I made a deliberate, conscious effort to focus on the negative. It wasn’t my direct goal, but it was the upshot of working on another. I started doing it as part of an effort to be more honest. I figured that the hardest things to be honest about were things that were hard to hear—things that were negative—so I resolved to practice being able to be honest about those things as much as possible. This lead to focusing more and more on negative things, which is a habit that is still with me to this day. I tend to feel like not talking about difficult things is not facing them head-on, and I don’t like the idea of not facing things head-on.
The thing is, as a friend of mine once said, there are a billion, billion true perspectives on any given situation, and you’re never facing all of them at once. There’s no reason to only focus on the negative ones as though they are more true than any of the rest.
This was going to be a post about how talking about positive things is important, even when it’s talking about the positive aspects of an experience that, on the whole, may not have been a net positive experience. A more focused post on that still to come, perhaps.