Sometimes during the depression cycle, empathetic people turn their empathy inward, igniting their ability to feel emotions against themselves. One antidote for depression is to serve others and turn empathy outward. It ignites the love, compassion, empathy, care, and concern emotions in the neocortex of your brain.
A functioning neocortex will confront the negative emotions that surface in your amygdala. So once you practice turning empathy outward, your brain keeps looking for more things for which to be compassionate. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created. Likewise, it confronts depression and negativity. So…
Go give of yourself to help others.
Here is what happens when you practice giving:
- Your brain floods with reward/positive chemicals.
- Your anxiety and depression symptoms lessen.
- Your hypothalamus works better, which controls and regulates:
- Body temperature
- Body growth
- It enhances your resilience, which is your body and brain’s ability to bounce back from seriously stressful/traumatic events.
- You will fall asleep more easily. Consider Thanksgiving…it’s not just the turkey that makes you sleepy, it is the grateful brain.
- You experience more positive emotions overall.
So take opportunities to serve and give…and do a lot of it!
GIVE TO COMMUNITY CHANGE
Consider Community Change, a local non-profit created to support veterans, police officers, teachers, and other working class citizens who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or suicidality. Consider a person you know in one of these areas who needs health services, but is unable to afford them. Would they benefit from counseling or other mental health services? If so, you can donate to help fund those services for them.
Check out their website and donate money. Give $5, $10, or $25. Heck…give a million if you have it!
In doing so, you will help those who serve our community and create a virtuous cycle in your own mental health. Your gift will change our community.