Dear Angelo,

Is it normal to feel a little depressed sometimes about life?

Signed, Eeyore

Dear Eeyore,

Our very own George Michael once said that life is a mixture of joy and misery.

So yes, given the vicissitudes of life, it's normal to feel a bit down at times -- you just don't want to get sucked down in to the cold dark abyss. It's a good thing to acknowledge, experience, and confront your feelings. It's another to get stuck in them -- wallowing in self-pity, turning sour on life.

In contrast to clinical depression, which is a serious medical condition that requires treatment by a psychiatrist, including medication and psychotherapy, you can do a lot yourself to chase the everyday blues away.

The secret to pulling yourself out of a negative mindset is daily exercise. That's right, a balance of physical, mental, social, and spiritual exercise can restore emotional health. There are four key elements: exercise, gratitude, support, and hope.

Exercise -- Move your body. Strength training and cardio move stuck emotion out of the body and boost good brain chemistry; dance, martial arts, yoga, breath work, meditation, acupuncture, massage, craniosacral therapy, hugs, and the like.

Gratitude -- adopt an attitude of gratitude by focusing on what you have, not what's missing

Support -- Move toward others, don't withdraw. Believe in the safety, comfort, and goodness of others. Lean on trusted people, including helping professionals; talk, share.

Hope -- Defeat accusing voices and negative thoughts by contradicting and replacing them with positive thoughts. Have faith in someone or something that has your best interest at heart, i.e., trust that things will ultimately turn around, working out in your favor; that good things lie ahead.  

All The Best, Angelo.

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