Dec. 27, 2022

How To Get In A Good Mood And Stay There: A Practical Guide To Overcoming Depression And Finding True Happiness

How To Get In A Good Mood And Stay There: A Practical Guide To Overcoming Depression And Finding True Happiness

Depression is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It can cause a range of symptoms, including persistent sadness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in...


Depression is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It can cause a range of symptoms, including persistent sadness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

Sound familiar?

In today's episode, we’ll talk with Dannie De Novo. She is a mental health advocate and survivor of depression, and she will share their personal journey of overcoming depression and the tools and strategies she uses to find happiness and build a fulfilling life…so you can do the same

In this episode we discuss:

  • Seeking help and support is crucial for managing depression and finding happiness. This could mean talking to a trusted friend or family member, seeking support from a mental health professional, or joining a support group.
  • Practicing self-care is essential for managing depression. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and finding ways to relax and de-stress.
  • Focusing on small, positive things can bring joy and happiness into your life, even when you're feeling down.
  • Setting goals and working towards them can give you a sense of purpose and meaning, which can help boost your mood.
  • If your depression is severe or persistent, it may be necessary to seek professional treatment. This could include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Remember, overcoming depression is not easy, and it may take time and effort. But with the right support and strategies, it is possible to find happiness and build a fulfilling life. Don't be afraid to reach out for help – it's a sign of strength, not weakness.

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If You Enjoyed This Episode, Check Out: 

The Future of PTSD And Mental Health Treatment: Why MDMA and Magic Mushrooms Could Be The Cure with Jill Sitnick

 

Transcript

TFM156-DannieDeNovo-FINAL

Zach: [00:00:00] Depression is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. It can cause a range of symptoms, including persistent sadness, low energy, difficulty concentrating. Changes in appetite in sleep patterns, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

Does that sound familiar?

Jeremy: In today's episode, we'll talk with Danny Denovo. She's a mental health advocate and survivor of depression, and she'll share her personal journey of overcoming depression and the tools and strategies she uses to find happiness and build a fulfilling life so you can do the same.

Zach: But first, this is the fit mess. We're together, we learn to develop habits that help us live beyond our mental health struggles to create happier, healthier lives.

Jeremy: He's Zach. He lives in the future with his.

Zach: He's Jeremy and he lives in the past with his depression, and we get together once a week in the present to share the obstacles we face and how we overcome them. 

 In order to be happy, you've gotta do, you know, a multitude of things. Like we'll hear about. Like on a pretty regular [00:01:00] basis. And if your routine or those things that you're doing, if they're not quite right or they're, you know, just like one of them, one of them is way off, can throw a wrench into the happiness project.

I'm, I'm telling you in the last couple of weeks, has really just shown me how all of those things need to hit on, , all cylinders for me or I just kind of go down this hole, , and I don't feel good. And I recognized it this week, what I was doing wrong, I fixed it. Hey, here. I am smiling. I'm happy to be here.

Life is great. I woke up really.

Jeremy: Nice. So we have a guest who's gonna get into all the great ideas, great suggestions, little things you can be doing throughout your day. But Zach, I'm curious, so you, you did that introspection, you got curious, what were the things that you weren't doing? So what, what do you normally do and what fell through the cracks, and how did you end up where you were?

Zach: So in this particular case it was sleep and it was, I was a little bit sick too, but I couldn't sleep well, so I was getting very, very, very little sleep and. that was the problem. If I'm not getting the [00:02:00] full, I don't know, I only sleep for like six, six and a half hours, but if you don't get your full nightly sleep in or you have bad sleep and it compounds like you do it day after day after day, like that, that's a problem for me.

And it actually has a, a direct impact. How happy I am, or actually, let me rephrase that. It has a direct impact on how depressed I get. So I was just feeling really, really, really low and it was literally just lack of sleep. And because I was not sleeping, I wasn't exercising right, and because I wasn't exercising right, I wasn't eating right, and because I wasn't eating right, I just kind of all went downhill.

So it's just that nice reminder that it's like, Hey, I do all of these things. To be happy and if one of them falls out,

I'm kind of done. 

Jeremy: interesting that that sleep isn't even necessarily the keystone. It's just one of several pieces, and at any point, if any one of them falls off, I can throw everything else off. Uh, for me, I've actually, so I, I, I still use my aura [00:03:00] ring all the time, and I check the numbers first thing in the morning, like a lunatic.

And it's funny cuz even when I get enough, like last night I got over eight hours of sleep, but my sleep score was like a 76 or something, which some people are like, that's incredible

to me. 

Zach: actually pretty good for me.

Jeremy: For me, I'm usually like high eighties, like maybe low nineties. Even if it's less than eight hours. And so something's been off and I, and I know that some of it is, I'm like, in some cases I'm eating a little later, in some cases I'm staring at the screen a little too late cuz I'm trying to catch up on work that I didn't get done earlier in the day.

So I'm staring at that blue light late into the night sometimes too long. And so I know that there's those little pieces that if left unchecked, Will be the trigger and then the overwhelm sets in and then the depression can kick in. So all of that stuff definitely builds up over time if you don't address it and, and, and get curious about what is the cause of why things feel off right now.

Zach: And what are those things? . I would say, you know, 20 years ago, I would've never associated like my general [00:04:00] overall happiness or, or my level of depression with the amount of sleep that I was getting because I was running myself ragged at both ends, , back in the day. And I, you know, I wasn't miserable, but I was, I was okay.

I was also young and I could recoup a lot, a lot quicker. But at 43, like, you know,

Jeremy: The bounce back is a little slower these days. Is it

Zach: Uh, little and that's, that's underwhelming

 But Jeremy, I'm curious, everyone's curious, what do you do to keep the depression away and happiness up?

Jeremy: man, it's, it is a struggle. It's something I deal with, uh, a lot. It is a daily grind. One of the most effective tools I've found is just the cold. I just love putting my body in a position where it's just gotta fight for that next breath, that next, uh, hope for warmth because it just is such a reset. It's rebooting your computer. It just going back to, okay, just survive the next [00:05:00] two. and when you approach things from that perspective, all the story, all the nonsense, all the rattling around in your head gets really quiet really quick. So that's, that's one of my most, uh, useful tools.

Definitely sleep. If I'm not getting good quality sleep, it's going to affect me, it's going to wear down my reserves, and I'm not gonna have the energy to get through whatever the day throws.

Also just having a clear vision of what my day is gonna be and allowing for life to get in the way. Allowing for things to get canceled and changed and disrupted, but having sort of a roadmap and not just reacting all day to everything that that comes my way. Certainly is, is one of the major things that has been so helpful because my life has gotten a lot busier and typical.

That constant shift, that constant reaction again, just drains the energy and you feel super overwhelmed and by the end of it, you just want to fall over. So having an idea and having some control, at least perceived control of what's coming at me [00:06:00] each day has been huge. And, and we talked a few a weeks ago about getting organized, right?

And using that Eisenhower matrix and just prioritizing what needs to happen today, what needs to happen later, what needs to be delegated and what doesn't need to. A 

Zach: Mm-hmm. 

Jeremy: approaching all of the things that I have to do all of the time through that matrix, through that lens has really helped me sort of stay ahead of things emotionally because I have more, again, just more control over my life and my time so that I can prioritize getting out in nature for a walk for half an hour to to clear my head, getting myself in some cold water, to reset things when I need, making sure that I'm eating the foods I need to eat, like all that stuff.

when I am more,

, disciplined and, and proactive with the things that I need to take on in any given day.

Zach: I love that, that me telling you about the Eisenhower Matrix kind of rubbed.

Jeremy: And it's funny, I mean, we talked about it years ago, like when we first started, we had a blog post that [00:07:00] has disappeared off the internet since then. I think part of it is that I've always sort of had a job where someone else told me what to do all day, so I didn't really have a need for that control.

But now it, it is very much kind of up to me how I build my day. And so having that freedom, , to create the discipline around the boundaries that matter to me has been, , really beneficial. 

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Alright, anyways, enough about us and, and what we. Let's hear from an expert on these things. We are joined by Danny Denovo. She's a happiness expert, a happiness coach. As it turns out, an author of the book, get in a Good Mood and Stay There.

Our conversation started by asking her just, what the hell is a [00:08:00] happiness coach?

Dannie: What I do, I think is just help people become brave, right? I mean, I think happiness surrounds two things. You have to be brave about being really honest with yourself about what makes you happy, and then when you've been really honest with yourself, which isn't the easiest thing to do. You have to act in conformity with that honesty, right?

That voice inside of you, you've gotta go along with it. And you've gotta do that despite what society thinks, what the people around you think, what your mom thinks, what your kids think, whatever. , and of course you have to do that despite what you've kind of come to believe about yourself over all these years and all those lies you've been telling yourself about.

I'm not good enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not smart, smart enough, I'm too old now. Whatever. Right. There's a lot of battles internally that you're fighting, right? And takes a lot of courage to do that. So I think, uh, the best way that I can put it is I help people, uh, find that courage to be able to go after what they want so that they can be happy. So you seem pretty happy now. Um, , you've got a smile on your face, , but that wasn't always the case. [00:09:00] Can you tell us a little bit about, , how you got to where you. Yeah, I was definitely the expert in unhappiness for a really long time. I suffered through really horrible depression and anxiety through my teens and into my early twenties.

I was hospitalized, uh, suicidal tendencies, uh, underwent some pretty aggressive treatment for everything, and it really derailed my life and. , I kind of just started pretending that I was happy because I couldn't deal with the treatments anymore. I couldn't deal with the medication, I couldn't deal with being labeled, you know, the, the crazy girl in the psych ward that's so young.

And so I just started pretending like everything was okay because I just didn't wanna deal with it anymore. , and you know, I kind of built a wall around my heart and just sort of, Real life aside and went through the motions of life, and I was functioning. You know, I became a lawyer. I had a job, I had a house, I was married, and I went to the gym and I paid the bills, and I did all the stuff you're [00:10:00] supposed to do, but I didn't even realize how miserable I was until my daughter came along.

And then one night I was making dinner and she was about a year old and she was on the floor of the kitchen and she was playing with her bulls and spoons, kind of, you know, just tapping away. And she stopped and kind of got my attention and looked up at. She picked out one of those bowls and spoons and she started mimicking my stirring cuz I was stir really slowly.

I was doing like my sauce on the stove and it was the first time she was like a little human being. So I bet over her and said, yeah, just like mommy. and then I almost fainted on top of her because I realized that she was copying my every move. It didn't matter what I said, it mattered what I did. And here I am showing her how to live this very depressed and lonely and unfulfilled life.

So I fell on the floor and I grabbed her up and I cried my eyes out and I promised her I was gonna learn everything there was to know about being happy for her sake. Now I didn't think I could be happy. I didn't think I was wired for it, cuz I had been that way. My whole. But I thought [00:11:00] if I learned early enough, I could teach her some things and then she could avoid the pain and suffering that I went through.

And then I just started studying it again. Like I was in law school, like I was studying for the bar exam, like highlighting, getting everything I could and started going to people I thought had the answers to this question. What is happiness? And some of them liked me and they started working with me.

And when I started implementing all these things, I was learning. My life very quickly started to change and I realized I could be wired for it. And other people started to see the changes in Me Too. And so they started asking and I was like, oh, maybe I can sort of replicate this in a way they can help others avoid the pain and suffering that I went through or that they're going through.

And, uh, that's kind of how the whole story came together.

Jeremy: So what did you discover about happiness? Because I feel like this is something that everyone, I mean, it's, you know, it's in the American constitution, the pursuit of happiness is a right, right? Like it's something that we all strive so hard for, but I don't know if we even really know. What it means, right?

Like, uh, [00:12:00] I, I made a decision a while ago to just like strive for content cuz happiness sort of comes and goes. But like, as long as things are just generally kind of good, then cool. Is there more than that? Can you just be like, happy all the time? Is that, is that act an actual thing?

Dannie: Well, I think you can. I, you know, I don't see happiness as sort of this elevated state, right? To me, happiness is a state of being that's sustainable and being up here all the time is not sustainable. Right. So for me, happiness is kind of finding that equilibrium where things are good for you, but where you have this sort of sense of connectedness every day and you're experiencing the subtle joys in in moment to moment, maybe not every moment.

But you're aware enough to come back to the next moment when you might be having a bad moment, right? So you're sort of saving as much as you can throughout the day and uh, you're starting off the day with a good attitude and you're ending the day with a good attitude. So even though these things are coming, right, cuz the highs and lows are always gonna come, you're still able to come back to this [00:13:00] sort of main state of where you feel really.

About who you are and what you're doing with your life every single day. Uh, as far as you know, what have I learned about happiness? Well, I've learned a number of things. Number one is if you wanna be happy, you have to be brave. I think that's the biggest thing. Number two is, uh, I really don't require a whole lot to be happy. , the more that I learn about it, the less I need to get there. And uh, number three is there is absolutely nothing outside of you that is ever going to make you happy. There is not a situation, there is not a circumstance, there's not a relationship. There's not an amount of money. There isn't a place.

Right. None of it will ever make you happy. It has got to come from inside of you. And that requires daily work. It's like going to the gym. If I. To be in shape and I want muscles. I've gotta go to the gym every day. And then when I get there, I've gotta maintain it. And you have to do the same thing with your happiness.

Uh, it's easy. And in that it's simple, I guess, I think, but not easy to execute. In the [00:14:00] back of my mind as we were preparing for this, I was, I was contemplating joking with you and asking you what's the one thing that I can do to be happy? Yeah. Um, knowing full well that there is no one thing and there's multiple things.

So, you know, you just mentioned, , the daily work and, you know, I'd love to hear you elaborate a little bit more on, , what are those things? . It's not just like physical movement or mental activity, right? There's a spiritual aspect, like there's a whole bunch of things.

So I'd love to hear you talk about, , what are some of the daily things that you do to be happy and what do you recommend to other people that they do on a daily basis for this happiness because it is ever so elusive. Yeah, it can be. I mean, I think we also make it a lot harder on ourselves than we need to, , because we believe, we come to believe all these stories that it is elusive or it's hard, or it only happens to chosen people, or you only get it once in your life, or something along those lines.

, instead of this idea that you can make your own happiness and you can do it every single. My daughter woke up [00:15:00] this morning and said, oh, it's gonna be a terrible day today. It's gonna be a long day. And I said, well, yeah. When you start off a day like that, then that's exactly what you're gonna do. And you know, I mean, I, I get into the neuroscience and I, cuz I've studied every aspect of this because I really wanted to know, I mean, I.

I was not in a great place. I know what those dark days are like. So I really wanted to know what is going to help. I mean, can I eat certain foods? Can I do certain things? , and so I've changed a lot about my lifestyle and the way that I live it to, to stay happier. , as far as what you can do, if you're in a really bad spot.

When, when I was, you know, at Rock bottom, the first thing that I did is I promised myself I was gonna go outside every single day no matter what the weather was like, no matter, you know, how I was feeling. And I was gonna make myself stay out there for at least 15 minutes. And that was it. That's all I said I was gonna do.

And then I got a big calendar and I put it on the wall. And every day that I did it, I put the X over that day. Right. and it sounds like hardly nothing. But when you are that bad and you [00:16:00] make that promise to yourself and you watch yourself keep it, you start to gain a little bit more confidence back both in your mood and in yourself.

And at the end of that month, I saw all those Xs and I was like, wow, okay, if I can do that, then I know I can add in something else. What else can I do to support this? Right? And I just started building in that. It's not something that you can just take on, you know, a full tilt. It's like, you know, it's the same way.

If you go to the gym and you start working out too hard, you're gonna get sore, you're gonna burn out, you're not gonna feel well, and you're just gonna quit. You've gotta take these in incremental steps. So, yeah. Is there a spiritual component for me? Absolutely. I need to feel that connectedness right? As soon as I feel isolated and separate then.

Feel my depression kick right back in. So I do a lot of meditation, but that is what's helped me get to that voice in my heart as well, because I did have a lot of voices in my head telling me a lot of things that just weren't true, and it takes some time to sort that out too. Right. Another thing is I try stuff all the time.

Different crazy stuff. , [00:17:00] because how do you know what makes you happy if you've never even tried it? Right? And so I just go out and try different things. I go different places, I eat different foods, , and I. I keep notes. I mean, that was what the basis of my entire book was about was a trial and error.

Does this make me happy? Okay. No it doesn't. Well, it's a lot easier to figure out what makes you happy when you know all these things don't make you happy. Right? When you could kind of clear that space and just go on. the Happiness journey is about learning about yourself, and every part of learning includes making mistakes.

So I think that's another component of it as well, is allowing yourself to make mistakes and. Be okay with the fact that you tried something and you, you sucked at it, or you just didn't like it, or you know, it just for whatever reason, doesn't fit some aspect of your personality. We're so afraid to admit things like that, but once you free yourself and allow yourself to do that, then you open up this whole new world of magic.

Jeremy: That's all [00:18:00] powerful. And there's, I have a hundred questions about all of it, but you, you mentioned your depression a few times, and as someone who's fought that my entire life, I know that feeling and, and I'm, I don't know if, if it's the same for you, but there are times when you're in that dark place, you know better.

Right. You, you know, there's a path out. , but there's, I've never been able to put appropriately put it into words, but there's maybe a comfort, maybe there's something about being in that place 

Dannie: familiar. Yeah.

Jeremy: like it's, even when you're like, logically, I, can do other things there. I know how to fix this.

I know how to feel better. But just physically getting your body to do the thing, there's just, it's, it's almost like there's this bridge that's supposed to be there and it isn. How do you overcome that feeling that that just dark. I know the way out, but it's just not physically possible. What do you do when you're there?

D does that still come up for you? And what do you do about that?

Dannie: It does. Not to the extent that it used to, but I would slide back in and out for [00:19:00] years. I mean, I've spent most of my life there and it was horrible. I hated it. Um, but yeah, it was familiar and I, I accepted this story, this belief about myself that I was depressed. I was just wired this way and that's just how it was going to be.

And I just better get used to it. , it took a lot for me to believe otherwise, but to get over that hump is, I had to find a really big why.

Jeremy: Mm-hmm.

Dannie: because again, that work is hard, that pulling yourself up and out is difficult to do every single day, and you're the one that has to do it. No one is gonna do it for you.

I mean, you might have a little bit of help along the way, but at the end of the day, it's you and it's you every single day. Uh, so the why for me was, was my daughter. I mean, I am. I suffered horribly. I went through, uh, electroshock therapy treatments every other day for a series of weeks. And I mean, it was pure torture.

And I know doctors like to say that it helps, but I know a lot of people were just really. Screwed up their lives for them for a long [00:20:00] time. Uh, I lost all of my childhood memories. I had these horrible headaches. It just lasted for forever. And, , I had these aspirations of going to college and being a doctor.

I mean, I got my leg kind of turned around, but still, I mean, it took a lot to do that. So I really, I really needed something huge to pull myself out of it. And, and the thought of my daughter, Having to go through what I went through was enough to, to really make me get up every single day.

When I wake up in the morning, uh, on the wall in my bedroom, I see two things. I see a picture of my daughter, and I see a plaque that I hung that says, uh, when you feel like quitting, remember why you started, which is right next to her, right? And so every day, I know. . I mean, she's genetically close to me, right?

She watches my behavior, so I know that she has, you know, the ability to slide into that just like I did. And so I have to model it every single day for her. I have to live it so that she knows how to do it for herself. No one taught it to me. No one teaches [00:21:00] us this in school. And so I really want her to have that basis so that she has that springboard in life to, to really go out and see what she can do with. You, every time you talk, I think of different directions I want go. hearing you talk about the, , the treatments that you went through, , and how you're, you know, changing your life. You know, treating depression today is a little bit different than it used to be. I guess I don't, I don't know.

You know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of drugs out there. There's a lot of treatments that. Questionable whether they work or not, I'm just curious, like, what are your thoughts on, all of these, treatments, medications, , psilocybin in general, like, you know, do you think that it's a lot of placebo effect or do you think that there's, , real help in, in medications and in psilocybin and, and do you think that the shock therapy actually works for some people? . So with respect to the electro shock therapy, I think it can be helpful for people because it does have a way of sort of resetting your brain, like [00:22:00] the mechanism part of it. I know I was completely out there. I had no idea what planet I was on. I walked into traffic.

I got hit by a bus. I mean, I just was out there. And I know that people who are are elderly tend to utilize it when they've lost a spouse and they can't come out of that depress. So I think for sort of a short term kind of scrambling of things, it, it, I guess it, it works. I mean, again, it doesn't address the underlying reason as to why you were depressed in the first place.

So is there a recurrence of it? I mean, my guess is yeah, but I don't know a lot of people who are signing up for a second round of electro shock therapy treatments. 

Jeremy: Yeah. 

Dannie: I mean, I'm certainly not , uh, the medications. I think that you've gotta be careful. I think some might be helpful in some circumstances.

I think for me, it's what kicked me into that sort of suicidal spiral. So it, it depends on, you know, biochemistry and a lot of different things. Uh, I'm obviously not a doctor and not pretending to be one, [00:23:00] but also with the treatment of depression, it's such a different thing than. You know, treatment of other things, right?

So like as a doctor, even if you've never had a heart attack or a heart condition, you can still kind of understand a little bit more about what's going on with the patient, right? Because there's a mechanical aspect of it that you can look at and you understand physical pain on some level, right? If you're a doctor that's never, or a therapist that's never had depression, How do you really understand how to treat it?

Right. And that's where the hardest thing for me was. I went through years of therapy and I'm, and I'm sorry, there's some really bad therapists out there, unfortunately. I mean, there's bad doctors too. And, um, the things that they would say, and I would just, you know, even at a young age, it's like, how, how can you even say something like that?

Because they could just have no concept of what it feels like internally. Right. So there's. I think the medication part is hard because of that disconnect there. , the psychedelics, I've seen [00:24:00] some really good things from that. I, I mean, I think that they have the potential to help people. , there was a, a physician in the fifties who did a lot of work with L S D before it became illegal.

And then when it became illegal, he had to learn a new way, but he was having great results with his patients. So he developed this, , holotropic breathing technique that actually went and studied with a protege of his on, and, um, supposed to bring about the same sort of effects as a psychedelic, right?

And I got immense. Healing from that. So I think there's a lot of different ways that we can access it, but we've gotta be creative and patient with it. And again, I think it's helpful to have people who have healed to be on the side of helping to develop these things instead of it just being a pharmaceutical that you know, does this, this and this, and we can sell it for X, Y, and Z money and give you a pill and get on with our lives and not really have to think about how we can change.[00:25:00] 

Jeremy: Yeah, I think you're so right about so much of that and, and I think, you know, those, I've had the same thing with breath work completely just mind blowing how, how powerful that that can be. Uh, and, and I think the medication and the things can be helpful for those extreme cases, but I do think that for the most part, what you've found is those small things, those lifestyle changes can have a huge impact.

And it is a, it is a clinical issue and it's, it's a tricky spot to be in cuz I'm also not a doctor, but I am somebody who suffers with this. And, and I know that when I'm doing the work and when I'm disciplined and I stay with it, it's better than when I'm not. so if I can that, and then on top of.

do some breath work or experiment with whatever's going on to, to try and put bandaids on on the acute cases or maybe springboard even forward farther so that I don't need to do as many small things. Like there's a combination there. Uh, so waiting around for the magic pill, waiting around for the magic, uh, relief that's gonna come from someone else, I think is gonna be a long wait.

Dannie: Yeah. I mean, I was there, I was waiting for someone like [00:26:00] praying, like, pull me out of this, pull me out of this, pull me out of this. And then when you finally realize that you're the one that has to do it, um, it's scary. But it's freeing at the same time, you know, I had so many therapists say, oh honey, it's okay to be depressed.

Well, I, I mean, no, it's not. It's okay to have feelings and to process through them, but it's not okay to sit in this perpetual state. I mean, it's not at the age of 16, right? I mean, especially when I didn't really have anything going on in my life that should point to any sort of depression. just have this really bizarre outlook as a society about things.

Um, it's not okay to be depressed, but it's not okay to go through the messiness of healing yourself so that you're not depressed anymore, right? So it's like, what are you supposed to do? Well, you, well, you do what most people do. You walk around and you fake it like I did for how long? Uh, and then one day you wake up and you realize that you've never been happy and that you're completely wasting your life, and I could not sit with that regret.

I think that was another thing that really kicked me into action too, is just the thought of, you know, I lost [00:27:00] my father. He was young when he died, and the thought of, you know, waking up one day and being faced with the fact that this might be your last day and you've not really lived it. I mean, yeah, I can't do.

Jeremy: You mentioned, uh, and we've talked a lot about the small things and you've tried a lot. And so with just a couple minutes left that we have here, if someone's hearing this and then this is connecting, and they're like, yeah, this sounds like me. I, I wanna do something different. , what are some of the like entry points that you found?

What are some of the smallest steps that someone could take and, and see the greatest impact from?

Dannie: Yeah. I don't know if they're small, but, um, they're controllable. Right? And, and you can document easily, you can sort of keep statistics on yourself as far as this goes. Uh, changing diet. I think is a huge thing. Sugar is a huge feeder of anxiety and depression. And I mean, I'm not talking about cutting down on sugar, I'm talking about taking it out of your diet completely, uh, for, you know, months and seeing where you stand on the other side of that, [00:28:00] uh, or other foods even can do a lot, you know.

I see. Fluctuations in my daughter when she eats certain things. So that's, uh, like an easy in that it's simple route, right? Not easy to execute. Like taking sugar out of your diet is really, really hard. , another thing too is , I think starting the meditation or the breath work and really getting to a place where you feel like you're listening to that right voice, because at the beginning it's really tricky.

We're so used to, uh, listening to other people instead of going to ourselves for, , the answer. And you have the answer. And then once you kind of get used to that voice and you feel comfortable with it, trying out some of the things that it wants you to do, because again, that stuff is scary, right? , I say that I kind of recreate my life one epic screw up at a time.

Uh, but I use a different word and. You know what? That's where I am now. It's just like, how many times can I screw this up today? Not in a reckless way, right? Not in a way that's gonna harm anyone or anything like that, but [00:29:00] in a way that isn't perfect, that doesn't, you know, look good from the outside. I mean, I really wanna get to the heart of this.

I really wanna know who I am and how do I know that if I don't really test it, right? So, you know, just kind of having fun with it, you know, lighten up a little bit and have some fun with it, and, uh, don't take it so serious. . It's, it's a serious endeavor, but you don't have to take yourself seriously through the process. Yeah, I love that. I, I try so hard not to take myself seriously. It's, it's made a, a huge change in my life. Um, so where can we learn more about you and your book? I'm gonna make sure we mention the. Yeah, so everything's on my website@dannydenovo.com.

Uh, I've got some free tips there too and some media stuff that you can just kind of peruse and get some different angles on. And my books are there, but they're also on amazon.com.

Jeremy: , , so I understand you have a program coming up in January that people should know about.

Dannie: Yeah, I'm gonna do a program probably starting late January, [00:30:00] maybe even early February, because that's a time when, you know, we've decided that we're either sticking with our New Year's resolutions or we've already fallen off that wagon, and just kind of how people regroup and see, you know, again, how can I implement these things throughout the year.

Build month by month so that by the end of the year I've got all these tools in my tool belt that I can utilize and you know, can I get to a higher level living? Can I be that happy person?

Jeremy: Our thanks to Danny de Novo, author of Get in a Good Mood and Stay There. You can find links to her and her work in the show notes for this episode@thefitmess.com.

Zach: I, I love that conversation. One, one of the things that really struck me was , the story she told about how , her daughter was mimicking her I, yeah, I had a similar situation not too long ago with my 11 year old daughter where I told her to put her phone down and she shot right back.

But Dad, you're always on your phone. You're on it right now. And, and I made up some excuse like, you know, I'm working. And meanwhile I was on Facebook, like they're watching, like they can see these things and, and like, if you [00:31:00] are, , outwardly unhappy, outwardly depressed, like they will see it and they will mimic it and like they'll carry on that story.

That you tell yourself. That really struck a chord with me.

Jeremy: Yeah, that, and then it, I mean, it just opens the door to a lot of, , I guess vagueness. A lot of, uh, how this is tricky, right? When you're talking about depression, this is something clinical. So there are gonna be a number of different, literally medical treatments, uh, Different procedures, some radical, some not so radical.

It's gonna be different for everyone and it takes a ton of experimentation. I know I've taken, I don't even know, a handful of different kinds of antidepressants and had initially good results with some, and then it eventually turned bad and had to stop taking them. Uh, in her case, she talked about electro electro shock therapy, which just sounds traumatic and horrible.

but even she says maybe there's value in it for some people who knows. So this is just such tricky territory and really requires, , a, a medical professional's opinion to get to the root of it in most cases. So just be very [00:32:00] careful with any of the stuff that we're recommending here, uh, including just even the small steps that it takes.

Right? I mean, with all this stuff, whenever you're trying to make a. Take it small, take it one step at a time. Because if you do overhaul everything, you don't know what works. You don't know what's making things worse. , but we know, and we talk about all the time here, right?

You've gotta just make those micro adjustments, those tiny steps, and just build on those habits over time. There is no race here. Nobody's gonna get to the finish line ahead of you. It, you just have to take it one small step at a.

Zach: Yeah, it's, it's impossible to know what's working and what's not working for you if you don't do it that way. , if you introduce like 35 changes and you feel like crap, it literally could be one of those changes. That's making you feel like crap. And the other 34 were great, but you're gonna quit all 35 because of that.

So, , how do you eat an elephant? 

Jeremy: One small bite at a time. Uh, and like with all of this stuff, we, you know, especially when it comes to your mental health, if, if you are in a dark place and you need help [00:33:00] seek it. . If you are in a dark place and you don't think you need help, you probably should seek it even more. It's a dangerous place to be.

So if you, this is something you struggle with, please reach out for help from a loved one, a therapist, medical professional, somebody to help you get through this cuz depression is no fucking joke. 

Zach: And to your point of, even if you don't think you need help, like. We all need someone to talk to. So, , get in front of it, talk to somebody, get some help. Like I think everyone should be assigned a therapist when they're born, just so you have somebody to talk to. I know for me, if I do that regularly, it keeps the demons away, but if I don't do it, sometimes the demons rear their heads. So like, even if you're not, in trouble or you're not in a bad, bad spot, it's not a bad idea.

Jeremy: It's amazing how when I have a, an appointment with a therapist, how days ahead of time it'll make me get curious about, well, what am I gonna talk about? What am I dealing with? What's going on with me? And that just that additional, uh, accountability measure of knowing I have to talk to somebody about my feelings, makes me get curious about, well, what are my [00:34:00] feelings?

How am I right now? Uh, always, always a valuable. Speaking of valuable tools, we also have a great community for you on Facebook. You can join our Facebook group where you and fellow fitness listeners can connect for accountability, connection, just, uh, sharing thoughts even about what you're hearing on the show.

And we just got done sharing a lot of the things that we do to try and, you know, keep our, our emotions at bay to try and find happiness, to, to, to keep peace in our lives. I'd love to hear what some of the tools are that you use. Is, does sleep resonate with you? Is it diet? Is it movement? What other things are you doing to, to make sure that you're.

As happy as you can be, or at least as I said earlier, content, sometimes content is, is all we can strive for. Please share that with us in our Facebook group. There's a link to that in the show notes for this episode that's at the fit mess.com, and that's where we'll be back next week with a brand new episode.

Zach: See everyone. [00:35:00] 

Dannie De Novo Profile Photo

Dannie De Novo

Author / Attorney / Speaker / Happiness Coach

Not too long ago, I was living the life that I thought everyone wanted to live. I had a good-paying job as an attorney, a husband, a house, and the most adorable baby girl. The problem was, though, that aside from the time I spent with my baby, I was actually pretty miserable. I was depressed but still functioning at a level of basic survival from day to day.

The scariest part about this for me was that, growing up, I had suffered a very hard depression beginning in my teens and lasting through my early twenties. I had a terrible time with antidepressants and was hospitalized in a psych unit more than once for suicidal tendencies. Finally, after no therapy appeared to be working, I was given only one more option—electroconvulsive therapy. Not knowing any better and simply wanting to be free from the prison of my mind, at age 19, I dropped out of college and consented to weeks of the tortuous “treatment.”

The treatments were so intense and horrific that I started pretending I was no longer depressed just so everything would stop. Along the way, I often heard that if I stopped being so much like “me” and started acting more like everyone else, I wouldn’t be so depressed. So, I set out on a course to be like everyone else and live happily ever after.

But there I was. I had everything I thought I needed, and yet, I couldn’t have been more unhappy. I remember one evening, mindlessly stirring a pot on the stove, lost in my misery. My baby was sitting on the kitchen floor playing with some pots and wooden spoons of her own. Suddenly, she looked up at me with her big brown eyes, picked up a pot and a spoon and started mimicking me! I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I bent down and said to her, “Yes! Just like Mommy!”

And then, I fell to the floor. A crushing wave of nausea came over me and I was faint. It immediately became apparent to me that my daughter was watching me and copying everything I was doing, and what I was, in fact, doing was teaching her how to live a very depressed, lonely, anxious, unoriginal, and uninspired life. So, that day, I set out to learn what real happiness was because I could not bear the thought of my daughter ever having to go through what I had forced myself to endure for so long.

I started studying happiness at the level I had once studied law—the spiritual side, the neuroscience side, the health side—everything I could get my hands on. I studied with spiritual leaders and gurus and coaches all over the world. The next thing I knew, I was at my lawyer friend’s office signing my divorce papers when I got a call that the company I was working for was being acquired and that I was not part of the deal. It seemed like the universe opened a new chapter for me right then and there.

I stopped being like everyone else and I began working as a happiness and success coach, coaching men and women globally. To date, I have 3 bestselling books. (I have one international bestseller, Get in a Good Mood & Stay There, which chronicles my first steps of pulling myself out of depression, dealing with anxiety, and finding happiness.) When COVID hit, I wanted to help as many as I could, so I started going on television. I am now a resident television expert on multiple stations nationwide and have done well over 90 TV appearances across the country.