An All-Natural Antidepressant

At one time or another, we have all gone to extraordinary – and often unhealthy – lengths to get ourselves out of a funk. We might overeat. We might drink alcohol. We might lash out at irritating people, all in an attempt to momentarily improve our mood.

Posted on | Katie Rickel, PhD | Comments ()
An All-Natural Antidepressant
An All-Natural Antidepressant

At one time or another, we have all gone to extraordinary – and often unhealthy – lengths to get ourselves out of a funk. We might overeat. We might drink alcohol. We might lash out at irritating people, all in an attempt to momentarily improve our mood.

I have recently happened upon a much simpler and healthier way to achieve the same goal, and I teach this skill to any client looking for an all-natural, free of cost, quick and easy way to beat the blues.

The first time that I used this skill, it was quite by accident. About 3 weeks ago, a manager at my local grocery store told me that, due to a pumpkin shortage last year, it would be many months before they would carry canned pumpkin again. Because I use pumpkin in many of my go-to recipes, I was disappointed and asked him to please let me know if there was a change in the status of this situation. 

Then last week, I stopped at the same supermarket on my way home. When I walked in, one of the cashiers, Mary, rushed over to me holding a case of canned pumpkin. She said, “I overheard your conversation with the manager last month, and I guess it stuck with me because I love pumpkin too. This morning, I was cleaning up in our back storage area, and I spotted this case on one of the back shelves. I knew you’d be in again soon, so I saved it for you.” I thanked her profusely, bought the whole case (just in case there’s another shortage!), and went home. 

The following morning was the kind of morning when nothing was going my way. My oatmeal exploded in the microwave, my dog had an accident on the carpet, and the “Check Engine” light went on in my car.

I needed to get that morning off to a better start, and I started thinking about Mary’s thoughtfulness with my pumpkin the day before. Without really thinking about it, I picked up my phone, dialed the number of the grocery store, and asked to speak with the manager. When he answered, I told him that I wanted to report my experience with Mary’s excellent customer service. I purposefully left the details vague, telling him that she went out of her way to make sure that I was a happy camper. He was delighted by the call and told me that the store had a policy of rewarding employees with a free lunch when customers praised their work. I hung up the phone – and poof! – my foul mood was history.

Since that time, whenever I am feeling down, I try to recall a recent positive experience I’ve had in a store, a restaurant, a doctor’s office, or a repair shop, and I call the manager to report on the great service that a specific employee provided.  I’ve found that most managers are shocked to receive calls like these, as they are much more accustomed to customers complaining about bad service. Further, on many occasions, the manager tells me that the employee will be formally recognized or rewarded in a meaningful way.  Suddenly, everyone’s a winner – the manager feels proud, the employee gets much-deserved kudos, and I feel good about putting this happy chain of events into motion.

Next time you find yourself in a slump, try this for yourself. Imagine how much happier our society would be if focused less on the ways in which people disappointment us and more on the simple acts of good that occur everyday around each of us.

Blog written by Katie Rickel, PhD
Dr. Katie Rickel is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in weight management and health behavior modification. She...