When Mark visited the podcast, he shared a quick, intuitive exercise he asked some of his depressed clients to do every day.
"If you can, think of "What can I do or what can I get done every day, that helps someone else."
I can tell you that over the years when I was a practicing psychotherapist, more than a few people who were depressed and anxious, when you drilled down, would say 'maybe I don't deserve to be happy because way, way down deep. I don't care about anyone but myself. I'm just self-absorbed.'
'Even if I do things on the surface, you know, I do things on the surface because I can, I have money, I can write a check, but down deep, I'm not sure I really care about anyone other than myself.'
And one of the things I used to do is I would give some of my patients a box of healthy treats. And I'd say 'when you pass homeless people, and you're afraid to give them money because of, you know, [you're afraid] they'll use it on drugs or alcohol, go over to them, introduce yourself, ask them their name - you know, homeless people have names and they actually talk - and then after you do that, give them a healthy treat and say, "Here, hope this helps a little bit. Take care of yourself." and then report back after doing that every day.
The majority of patients who did that, they came back and they say, "I feel less depressed". It's because every day they felt, you know, 'I was doing something other than just being focused on myself. I was making the world better.' "
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