Dr. Richard O'Connor
(860) 364-9300

Mood Changers

This is a list my self-help group put together of small things we can do to help ourselves pull out of a tailspin. We invite you to add your own ideas. Think about what works for you.

If you're really feeling seriously depressed, please don't beat yourself up if you don't have the motivation to try any of these ideas. Depression is an illness we can't control; just wait to try until things start to feel a little better.

In all of these, be cautious to set specific and limited goals. Be happy with small steps and don't be so ambitious that you give up before you start. When you do something, take the time to enjoy it, and take the time afterward to savor your accomplishment.


  • Exercise, aerobically
  • Go on a reading program—Dickens, LeCarre, Agatha Christie, etc.
  • Do good deeds—give blood, visit a shut-in
  • Play with your pets
  • Organize your closet
  • Go on the wagon for a month
  • Cultivate your sense of humor—Marx Brothers, M. Hulot, Mel Brooks
  • Socialize—get together with friends informally—have an impromptu potluck
  • Phone, email, or write to old friends
  • Post something out of character on Facebook
  • Read a biography of someone you admire
  • Cook something different, a new kind of cuisine
  • Learn about a new subject: the Civil War, a foreign language
  • Start saving, and plan for a trip
  • Get an orchid plant, or buy some flowers
  • Sort through old photos
  • Hang out at the library
  • Organize an outing to a museum and dinner
  • Join a reading group
  • Listen to a recorded book
  • Make fudge
  • Make soup, and bring some to a neighbor you don't know well
  • Get up early or sleep late—vary your routine
  • Go swimming
  • Music—play it loud, without any distractions
  • Learn the computer and get online
  • Rearrange the furniture
  • Shop the garden catalogs
  • Wear loud colors
  • Learn a joke a day and tell it to five people
  • At your impromptu party, play pass the tangerine, or twister
  • Have a day of beauty, or grow a beard, or shave a beard
  • Change your hairstyle
  • Take walks
  • Take naps
  • Add something to this list
November 2, 2011

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Undoing Depression

Dr. Richard O'Connor maintains an office in Sharon, Connecticut. Call 860-364-9300 or email rchrdoconnor@gmail.com to arrange an initial consultation.