THE BLOG

Three Habits to Laugh Yourself Out of Depression

07/11/2014 12:54 GMT | Updated 06/01/2015 10:59 GMT

14 years ago, I was a depressed person. I was wasting energy dwelling on how wrong my past had been and on presenting myself a story about how everything had gone wrong.

Today, everything is different. I'm continuously telling good stories about my life. It's this positive storytelling of your own life that is a first step out of a depression. When I reflect on how I became free of my depression, I see that I accomplished it by practicing 3 life-changing habits deeply connected with our ability to laugh.

If you are currently in a state of depression and don't know what to do to free yourself, I invite you to practice these habits over a three month period.

1. Accept and Let Go

Accept things as they are, and not as you wish for them to be. Accept yourself for who you are right now. Once you accept your past for what it is and let it go, then you will stop the feelings of continuous regret.

Practicing the Habit:

When you have a moment of regret regarding your past, try to smile and say: "I let go of you now." After practicing this for a month, whenever a regretful thought occurs you should say "I let go of you now" and follow it with a laugh. Start with silent laughter, simply miming laughter. Slowly, start to add volume to your laughter. After three months, you will laugh at your past.

2. Write a New Story

Create good stories about your life every day. Telling new and positive stories about your life is a way to create a brighter future.

Practicing the Habit:

Literally sit down and write a story that you would like to live. It's good to dream big, but start your storytelling by setting goals that are obtainable at first. A simple goal of your story could be that you wish to smile more and be happy. Write this new story, and read it to yourself every day.

I know this habit seems a bit odd, but I promise you that it works. I did this particular exercise 12 years ago, and wrote to myself that I wanted to be an author and speaker who travelled the world. Today, that is exactly what I am doing.

3. Be Happy NOW

Since laughter is a reaction to a current stimulus, it involves an acceptance of the present. When you laugh, you let go of thought and inhibition--which is why laughter is the greatest medicine against stress. You cannot laugh while your mind is preoccupied with stressful thoughts. This is a reason why adults do not laugh as much as children do, since adults are more prone to dwell on the worries of the future--rationalising that our work today holds the key to our happiness tomorrow. This continuously worried looking forward is a solid barrier to experiencing happiness.

Practicing the Habit:

Don't give all of your power to the past or the future. Instead, give more power to the present moment, and be grateful for your life as it is now. This will give you more energy, power, and laughter. To help you do this, start every day by making a list of all the things you are grateful for as of today.