3. Feeling guilty during moments of happiness. In our deepest moments of sadness, we can still experience moments of joy—and that's OK. If you find yourself laughing out loud or realizing that you just had fun, embrace it. That doesn't mean you care any less or are suddenly "over" the issue. It just means you had a brief respite from feeling down. That's healthy!
4. Ignoring your health. It's easy to skimp on sleep, skip the gym, forget to eat and otherwise drop your habits of daily self-care when you don't feel like yourself. But this is the time when maintaining healthy habits should remain a priority. By all means, take a day or two off from your normal routine if you really need to—just get back to it as soon as possible. Exercise will increase endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, and have often been shown to have similar benefits to antidepressant medications. Good nutrition will give you the energy you need to continue meeting your responsibilities, and keep blood sugar levels stable. Swings in blood sugar are known to have negative effects on mood. Sleep is restorative and rejuvenating. Chronic sleep deprivation lowers serotonin levels in the brain, and can plunge you deeper into a depressive state.
5. Self-medicating with junk food, alcohol, sleeping pills or illegal drugs. Despite the immediate relief they may offer, these habits always lead to bigger problems down the line. In the throes of enormous sadness it's hard to imagine that you'll ever feel happy again. But experience and research tell us that with time, most people return to their happiness set point despite life's greatest adversities and losses. When that happens, you don't want to find yourself with15 extra pounds or a dependency problem to contend with. If you're experiencing extreme difficulty sleeping or severe anxiety, talk with your doctor about safe and effective options to help you through this difficult time.
6. Surrounding yourself with sadness. When feeling bad, an occasional cry from a sad movie, novel or emotional song can be quite cathartic. You might find you feel a bit better afterwards. But if you constantly dive into pursuits that are depressing—just because you're feeling sad—there's a pretty good chance you'll continue to feel those emotions. You might not feel like laughing, but an occasional lighthearted comedy or hangout with your funniest friend can do wonders to help lift your spirits. A good laugh is often the best medicine—especially when a good cry is no longer helping you feel better.