Five Minutes Can Change Your Life: Initiating Change Despite Depression

Merely Me Health Guide
  • Five minutes.


    Who has five minutes to spare?


    On some days you may feel that you don't even have this amount of time to do something outside of your schedule.  Everyone is busy.  Between responsibilities, chores, doctor's appointments, maybe taking caring of others, work, may feel that there is no time left for you.  And it may be true.  Life has a way of placing demands on you until you cry uncle.  When you have depression you may feel that you cannot get through your usual daily chores let alone allow time for something else.  Everything can seem like a chore when you have depression including wellness activities.

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    But I am here to tell you that five minutes in your day can make a difference. 


    I can see your doubting faces from here.  But hear me out. 


    In five minutes you can do one of the following...


    • Make the call to your doctor to get a good physical check-up to see if there are any underlying medical conditions to cause your depression symptoms

    • Make a call to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness to see if there is a support group in your geographic area.  1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264)

    • Search for a mental health therapist from an on-line directory.

    • Write an email to a friend just to say hello.

    • Exercise.  Okay so five minutes of exercise is not going to get you into your skinny jeans.  But it is a start, it is do-able, and once you get started with such a small goal, you may find that you wish to keep going. 

    • Meditate.  There are studies to show that meditation can improve both mood and cognition.  If you don't know how to meditate, not to worry.  There are plenty of beginner guides to meditation on the Internet.

    • Eat something healthy for your mood.  There are foods which will drain you of energy and pack on the pounds and there are foods which will not only help you to maintain a health weight but can actually benefit your mood.  We have many articles here to help you find such foods such as 3 Happy Holiday Foods to Boost your Mood and Ten Foods That Can Improve Your Mood.

    • Take a break.  Sit or lie down.  Breathe.  Shut your eyes.  You don't have to be doing something "productive" every minute of the day.  Give your brain a chace to unwind even if it is for five minutes.  Practice doing nothing.

    • Perform a random of kindness.  Sometimes when the world seems especially unkind we have to be the kindness we wish to see reflected.  It can be very hard to do when you are depressed but giving of yourself in any small way can make you feel better.  Make a comment here on this site to someone who needs support, tell your friend why you appreciate them, offer to cook a meal for a caregiver, give someone your place in line at the supermarket.  There are so many little ways you can be kind which do not take much time but mean so much. 

    • Get your feelings out in writing.  There is a writing exercise called automatic writing.  You simply pick up your pen and begin writing whatever comes to mind. Or you begin typing and don't stop.  Set your timer for five minutes. You don't stop to correct anything.  You don't pause.  This is not about style or grammar.  This is about exploration.  You will be surprised at what comes out of you. 

    • Cuddle.  Hug your cat or dog.  Cuddle your child.  Embrace your spouse.  Even hold a stuffed animal.  Warmth, touch, and connection with a living being or even holding  onto something tangible like a doll or stuffed animal always helps me to re-connect those neural wires of care and compassion. 

    • Get out of the house.  Go sit on your deck, stoop, porch, or a park bench.  Some natural light and some fresh air can help to change your perspective if even for a few minutes.  If it is raining take your umbrella.  You won't melt.  Just get out of your room to see that there is a much bigger world out there than exists in your mind.

    • Plan something fun to look forward to in your week.  Don't wait around for invitations.  Schedule something you enjoy whether it is seeing a movie, going for a bike ride, or reading the sunday comics.  Put something fun on your calendar so that you have a built-in bright spot to your week.

    So none of this is rocket science.  You may have heard all this before.  But are you doing it?  You don't have to have big lofty goals to make a change.  The biggest changes start small.  It is the initiation of action which is sometimes the hardest part.  But once you get started by taking five minutes to do something for your mental health then it becomes easier to add on day by day. 


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    Change will not happen by sitting around and wishing for it.  You must take action. 


    Five minutes.  Begin with five minutes a day of doing things which will help to improve your mood.  


    You can do this!  We will do it together. 


    Let us know if you take this challenge and how it works for you.  I will be checking back in the next days to see how you all are doing.




Published On: February 15, 2012