giving-how-to-get-out-of-depression2I remember watching Oprah on SuperSoul Sunday one day, and she said that whenever she feels a little blue or depressed, she looks for ways to give or serve others. She said it is always the quickest means of pulling herself out of the doldrums.

I thought – “Wow, I have something in common with Oprah! Cool beans.” As, I do the same thing. Finding ways to give never fails in pulling me up out of a funk. And, it doesn’t have to be anything big. If you are sitting at your desk at work or just up having your morning coffee and recognize that inky black mood. Here are three quick things you might want to try:

  1. Go like and comment on your friends Facebook posts – I know this sounds silly and not like the greatest antidote in the world, but think about it for a minute. When people post they are looking for connection. They are reaching out to their friends and hoping their friends respond back to them. A recent poll showed that users check Facebook on average 13.8 times per day. For what are they looking? It’s my opinion that they are looking for connection, affirmation, friendship, a shared bond in views and life events. Spend a few minutes giving your friends what they crave – love and affirmation in the form of generous compliments, likes, laughs at their jokes and words of agreement on things you share in common. It costs you nothing. It takes little time. And, the process will fill your heart with love and generosity. I promise!
  1. Jot off an email or note card to a friend – Send off a short email or note to a friend you haven’t seen in a while and just let them know you miss them. Have you ever gotten a note from a friend that lets you know you are missed or why you are special to them? It makes your day. It makes your week. Sometimes the words stay inscribed in your heart forever. Taking a few minutes to give this special moment to a friend will lift your heart immensely.
  1. Write yourself a letter of encouragement – I love this one and it only takes five minutes or less. Write yourself a letter of encouragement from the future. Using your most nurturing, loving and encouraging side, jot out a letter to yourself from yourself in the future. Let yourself know that all is well, emotions are transient and fleeting and that everything will work out for the best. Give yourself the love and pep talk you need from your strong and knowing future self. You can even write the letter as if it were from God. You know those words will flow from your heart with wisdom and love.

I like to study all the wisdom traditions because I like finding the common truths at the core of each. And the other day, I listened to a series of lectures on Youtube regarding philosophies of the Kabbalah. It is a complicated and in depth study, but the gist of what I took away from the lectures is that they believe God is pure love and always giving and he created us human creatures to fill with unbounded pleasure.  The ego container we were given makes us want to receive (and receive and receive and receive). We are all about obtaining pleasure and avoiding pain at all times. But, the Kabbalistic journey is about trying to move toward a true experiencing of God by moving toward an open giving heart, basically, by becoming more in his nature.  For those in the know, I hope I didn’t butcher that description too much. He talked about how as we secure each level of need, from the lowest – shelter and food, to the highest – power and knowledge, we find a hollowness in obtaining each level, which ultimately leads us to the desire to be more giving, like the creator. And in that, we grow our love and divine likeness.

This is an oversimplified description of course. But, I think there is a reason that giving grows the love and joy within us, and it is a concept that is pointed to in all of the wisdom traditions. Here are a few quotes about giving from other spiritual teachings and some very wise folks to bookmark for your next rainy day:

“Giving is love in motion” – Anonymous

“The heart that gives, gathers” – Tao Te Ching

“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.” – Deuteronomy 15:10

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but what we give.” – Anonymous

“Find yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“Sharing and giving are the ways of God.” – Proverb

“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving the mind of a giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.” – Buddha

So, next time you feel blue (or even before), look for ways to give and you will feel greatly relieved. If you have any favorite quotes about giving or stories you’d like to share on the subject, please do so in the comment section below. Blessings!

Sandra M Bell
Author of “Lunchtime Joy Magnet” & personal coach