Depressed to happy: start by faking it
Somehow every combination of words I could use for this headline made it sound scammy.
Basically what I wanna talk about here is the snowball effect of happiness and how it can start by simply faking it.
If you try this (and I’ll show you how), you’ll find out that while this snowball does top out at some point, it doesn’t really crumble away.
It’s funny because this is so powerful of a phenomenon that I sort of have a hard time believing in it myself. I accidentally learned about this pretty recently, through my quest of always trying to do things differently.
I had depression pretty much a few months after coming to the U.S, when I was around 8, and it gradually got worse every day until.. I think about my senior year in High School.
The funny thing is, I never even knew that what I was going through was called depression, because it was every single day for me. I thought that being so lonely was just the reality we lived in. I would only be reminded that what I’m going through wasn’t actually normal when every few months there would be a day (or if I got lucky enough) a streak of days where I was having fun.
Any way, fast forward to when I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 19, and moved down here to Southern California.
To put it simply, My life started to feel a lot better and even though this isn’t exactly where I want to be in the future (there are car alarms going off pretty much every 30 minutes), when I moved here I felt a lot happier.
I still went through some rough patches, but could handle it a lot better than before.
Now what I recently learned is that I was only relatively less depressed than before. It wasn’t like I was feeling nirvana every day.. I found out that I actually wasn’t really all that content.
I would study, work for hours and hours on my business without seeing any results, get a couple hours of sleep, and not socialize with anyone in college.
It’s been 6 months I’ve been living here and I haven’t made a single friend. I still felt very lonely every time I had to take the bus home, and would get this weird intangible feeling of sadness and ice cold feeling in my belly.
Like I was alone in the universe.
The only thing that really changed is I wasn’t depressed at a clinical level. It was just bouts of sadness and feeling of inadequacy that clouded my mind pretty much on a daily.
The paradigm shift of faking happiness
My roommates planned to leave for a couple days and visit their family. Realizing that I was gonna be completely alone again, I felt a little uncomfortable.
So I thought.. I always hear things about faking happiness and that it works.. maybe I’ll try it. So I just started to fake being happy, I walked around school, and looked at the trees, smiled, pretty much forced myself to always be smiling, at no particular thing really. I did it long enough where I didn’t really have to think about it or force myself to be happy, I was just smiling at the world for being alive!
And later on I found myself standing in line at Starbucks, looking at everything with a sort of childlike naivety.. then the really cute Asian barista said “next” and I realized I had to step up and order the usual.. I told her I wanted a tall Pike like I’d just won a million dollars.. and because I didn’t really think about smiling, it didn’t feel like I was forcing anything. Unlike ever before, her face lighted up and I felt a warm connection even though all I did was order a simple black coffee, like I usually do.
That simple change in the way I saw the world led me to having a warm connection with someone, something I’ve only experienced one other time in my life.
You bet your ass I was happy, and this time it wasn’t fake.
Now.. normally, external happiness fades away and it’s not good to let other people influence the way you think, wether it’d be good or bad.. but it had an internal effect on me too, in the sense that it taught me that having a paradigm shift like that will net me unimaginable success in the future, and it’s one of the easiest things to do
All it takes is to fake it. You’ll feel crazy at first, but it works.
This was one of the most valuable things I’ve learned to this day and it:
- Insane boost in productivity. Before, I would only finish 2 or 3 things out of a to-do list with about 10 items. Now I can finish pretty much everything and my list has even gone up to around 20 items a day.
- Have an aura of positive energy and feeling of invincibility.
- Put me on the right track to finally making some damn friends.
I’m trying to journal on here so I can let some thoughts out and improve my writing at the same time.
I hope what I said had a positive impact on you.. whoever you are :)