I'm Depressed

This happens episodically. Objectively, my life is amazing. But, because of my chronic depression I go through periods several times a year when it doesn’t feel that way.
 
It has gotten bad at times in the past but thanks to my anti-depressants, therapist, loving friends and family, healthy living and a regular meditation practice it is pretty manageable most days.
 
And yet here I am feeling full of despair, dread and struggling with a crippling low level of energy.
 
Research in the field of psychology has come to understand there are three elements required for an individual to experience sustained contentment and a sense of wellbeing. Meaning, purpose and hope. We touch on these themes a lot here at the Zen Happiness Project and I’ve learned these aren’t easy topics to work on, especially when you’re in the middle of a depression, life crisis or tragedy.
 
Fortunately for me there is a short cut, a never-lets-me-down 100% fool proof way to instantly inject meaning, purpose and hope into my life: Doing something good for someone else. 
 
It is through service that I find real happiness.
 
I’ve done the big stuff; hospice volunteering, international and domestic service trips, soup kitchens and the like. But it works with the small stuff too. Being kind to the woman behind the register, holding the door open for someone or donating $20 to charity.
 
It doesn’t seem to matter if the good action is big or small. When I’m doing something that is in service to others I get out of the bottomless pit of despair, wanting and selfishness. “Create no evil, practice good and actualize good for others.” (The Three Pure Zen Precepts.)
 
So because I need help I’m getting my friends together and we’re doing a “7 Days of Service Challenge.” I hope you’ll join us.
 
Every day for the next 7 days in the Zen Happiness Project Discussion Group I’ll be posting a prompt and ask you to chime in and share what you did for someone else today.
 
We’ll have fun, get to know each other a little bit, feel better about ourselves and, most importantly, put some good out there into the world.
 
May your practice go well!
Warmly,
Anthony A. Cernera, M.Ed.
ZenHappinessProject.com
 
 
P.S. If you aren’t a member of the discussion group you can find our conversation here at www.facebook.com/groups/zenhappinessproject