A random thought: I think one of the best ways to conquer depression is via photography; using photography as a tool to improve your mood, elevate your energy, and to see life with more hope, optimism, and joy!
So this is the problem with mood:
You cannot control your mood simply with your mind.
I believe that mood actually has to do more with the body. For example, when I’m doing strenuous and super intense powerlifting (1 rep max deadlift attempts) my mood is elevated. I feel my blood pumping, I am focused, calm, and elevated. I have confidence in myself, yet my sense of self disappears.
However when I’m stuck in a cold apartment during the wintertime, and stayed home all day, with no natural light coming in through the windows, of course my mood is gonna feel shitty and depressed!
This is also the problem with mood: much of our mood comes with our environment.
For example, it’s natural to have a lowered and “huzun” (Turkish word) of melancholy during the winter time. I think it’s a combination of our lowered physical activity (it’s too cold to walk outside for long periods of time), lowered natural light (I believe that humans get energy via photosynthesis, just like plants), and less social contact (if it’s cold outside, you have less motivation to go outside to socialize with friends or colleagues).
I cannot say I’ve had crippling depression where I cannot get out of bed in the morning. However I can say, I have had suicidal thoughts before in the past, and have felt deep abysses of nihilism (what’s the point of living or life?) And to be frank, the best way I’ve been able to conquer this depression of hopelessness, demotivation, and shitty mood was through photography, art, social activity, and intense physical activity (deadlift, squat, heavy dumbell press), and studying philosophy/art.
For photography, these are the things that elevate my mood:
- Walk around the block with just a phone, no music or anything, and just let your mind wander. Use your phone to shoot whatever you find interesting during your walk.
- Drive to your favorite coffee shop in some downtown or busy city center. Enjoy a coffee, a nice book (it can be paper or ebook), and bring your camera along. Then go on a “street hunt”, and walk around the downtown and shoot street photography for fun! Don’t expect to make any good photos, just enjoy the experience of being out and about.
- Also going to a coffee shop or some social bustling place and reading poetry, studying your favorite photography book, or watching some great cinema on your laptop or whatever!
- Bringing a notepad somewhere, and sketching for fun.
- Go to the local gym, and then walk around the gym, or walk slowly on a treadmill (or better yet, a mechanical dynamic treadmill) and look at your favorite photos in Dropbox, and create a new set of your favorite photos, and upload it to your blog or website!
- Go out with your camera, and photograph bright colors for an entire day! Shoot colorful vibrant scenes, and shoot colors that put a smile on your face!
- For an entire day, only photograph that which brings you joy. This cam be your loved ones, your food, your coffee, your books, or anything!
- Shoot everyday during your commute to work. Keep it simple, just use your phone. Start a “subway” or “bus” series.
Shoot to elevate your mood, and never stop shooting! Keep smiling :)