Wonderful write-up, Andy! It was lovely to meet you at the conference.
“Try telling someone who’s depressed that happiness is a choice" — I was struggling with this same issue for a while at the conference. But then I recalled a book I read recently, Inside-Out Revolution, that discusses the Three Principles philosophy, that in short says that our experience of the world is actually from the “inside out,” in which our mind is creating our experience (along with consciousness and thought), but we regularly treat it like it’s “outside in."
The author sums it up in a Tedx talk, https://youtu.be/xr6VawX2nr4 … but what’s most relevant here is that he experienced the concept in his youth during a psychotic break, and the “founder" of the Three Principles also tripped over the idea when discussing his anxieties with someone else. Neill talks about it in his book (ever so briefly) being in use in some forms of counseling.
But mostly what’s interesting to me is the difference in presentation — “happiness is a choice" is a rough concept to drop on someone’s head if they’re depressed. But listening to this talk, it’s the same idea, but doesn’t give the same undercurrent of “you choose poorly." (And I mean no disrespect to Shawn Achor, I enjoyed his talk immensely.)
This is all a long winded way of saying, I think it’s possible to give that tool to someone who’s depressed, it depends on the delivery.