A "Secret Kindness" Intervention for Depression.
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
A gentle self-therapy to help you with Depression.
Depression robs you of the ability to view yourself positively.
It makes you feel guilty, unworthy of love, and makes you feel like a useless human being. Our self-esteem hits rock bottom, and we lose all faith in ourselves.
Because of the weight we carry all the time, we start avoiding the people we love, afraid to pass on our emotional burden onto them - even when we innately know that having their support is good for us.
Depression is also the loss of our ability to feel joy and happiness. We stop doing all the things we used to love to do. It just doesn't feel as fun anymore, let alone having the energy to do it.
Yet, read any self-help article on Depression and it will probably tell you to keep planning pleasurable activities each day.
It's a lot easier said than done, I know. Because even bringing ourselves to continue doing relatively "normal" things each day, like getting out of bed and going to work, is utterly exhausting.
Well, here's a gentler approach to try out and heal yourself from Depression.
A "Secret Kindness" Intervention.
This intervention was shared by the creator of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Dr. Steven Hayes.
It's a simple activity and it goes like this:
Each day, plan and carry out a kind little act for somebody else. If you manage to, try your best to keep it a secret. It can be anything ranging from big to small, for example:
Leaving a cold drink for a street cleaner or a gardener.
Dropping off some snacks at your neighbour's doorstep.
Cooking your loved one's favourite dish.
Take on an extra chore at home.
Give some old clothes to a charity or shelter.
Make a small donation.
Give someone an anonymous gift.
Why does it work?
Depression causes us to feel lousy about ourselves. We fail to see the good in ourselves, and only focus on all the bad, broken bits.
Carrying out little secret acts of kindness helps us to reconnect to the good side inherent in all of us - that capacity to do good for other people using our own lives.
As you perform this activity everyday over a week, you'll start to reconnect to that positive self-image that was stolen away by Depression. You'll begin to see that you are capable of performing good.
Moreover, because it's a secret, you are free from any external judgment or criticism. No one can say whether your acts are too small or too insignificant. The only judge is yourself, and through this activity, you'll also learn to treat yourself a little bit kinder.
Self-kindness become intrinsic - after all, you are spreading a little bit of kindness each day, how can you not feel good about it?
So try it out. Let me know how it went for you. If you like, check out this activity described by Dr. Hayes himself below.
Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. Depression is tough. Make sure you get support as you suffer through it. If you need to talk, just drop me an email :)