The phenomena that many of us are familiar with known as depression is experienced among the afflicted for a variety of reasons and in a plethora of forms and levels of intensity. Sometimes healthy individuals will become depressed. This does not inherently make you mentally ill, depression is something most people will be faced with to varying extents at various points in their life. Often arising after particularly stressful, traumatic and or upsetting experience. This can be anything ranging from the death of a loved one, ended relationships, losing a job, etc.
On the other hand some people become depressed perpetually, spontaneously, and or cyclically due to one or more of many potentially correlating illnesses. Speaking from experience as someone who was diagnosed with manic depressive (bipolar) disorder, as well as Attention Hyperactivity disorder, depression became something I found myself having to deal with on a regular basis from a strikingly young age.
This however had the benefit of having a lot of extra time to learn how to deal with and cope with it. I am not a certified counselor. Nor do I have any formally recognized measure of educational notoriety regarding psychology. I want to explicitly state before going any further I want to state that
A. this article should not serve as any form of diagnostic or authoritative source.
B. If you are experiencing depressive symptoms and you are not already seeking medical such as counseling and psychiatric care, you certainly should (provided you can afford to do so.)
C. These methods are not intended to replace any sort of formal treatment, and one should not assume that they can top taking or refuse medication in an attempt to mange their own symptoms with these tactics.
These are 10 methods I have found personal success in both mitigating depressive symptoms as well as helping me to come out of the depressive phase faster.
1. Get up and Get moving!
Easily the most hackneyed depression related advice one could get besides changing their diet, though I can’t argue its incredible effectiveness. Exercise and movement of any form tends to improve the state of ones mindset and overall cognitive performance. This could be an actual structured work-out routine, but it can be far simpler and less committed as well. It could be Going for a walk jog or run around your neighborhood or local park, taking a hike through the woods. I’m a pretty big fan of using project/chore/hobby that requires physical activity as a supplement for exercise.
It can get even easier, though obviously the less effort your willing to put in the less benefits your going to reap, but sometimes some of us really just don’t have the time or can’t be bothered to get out and go for a walk, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit in a chair or lay in bed all day (something that tends to become really easy to fall into in the midst of depression). Especially in the winter, for me it may often be something as simple as just getting up and pacing around whilst thinking in great detail, having long productive phone calls, or even while reading rather than sitting in a computer chair for hours doing these things. It might sound trivial but little things add up throughout the week; physical activity is no exception.
2. Introduce something new into your consciousness!
Often times I find long extended period of depression to be strongly associated with an overall psychological boredom, not literally bored, but bored of existing. Something I’ve found particularly helpful whenever I feel this way is too introduce some new idea into my consciousness. This could be a plethora of things, It could be visiting a place you’ve never been, making friends, opening a unfamiliar book, searching for new music, watching a movie you’ve never seen, making a recipe you’ve never tried, trying to take up a new hobby, exploring a new website, reading through a blog (hint hint ours.)
Mental stagnancy tends to make life feel much more mundane, repetitive and dull. It’s very easy for me to get caught up spending my free time hanging out with the same people every day, doing the same thing at the same pace, listening to the same music, and going to the same few local restaurants, and studying the same few books at night when I go home.
This really starts to get to me after awhile. However as soon as i’m able manage to break my comfort zone and force myself to try new things, my disposition almost immediately becomes more exciting, pleasant, and optimistic, after awhile, taking in large quantities of new information every day just became something I had to do to feel satisfied. I’ve recently come to truly understand what all my high school teachers meant when they said they had life long commitments toward learning to say the least, and this in hindsight has been one my most valuable defenses against depression.
3. Call someone!
Call a trusted friend, even if just to have a casual conversation. This can help in multiple ways. Though it usually helps to have a close trusted friend that one can vent their pains and frustrations too, sometimes the real value in this is positive distractions. I can’t count the amount of times Id been very depressed, angry and or anxious, and decided to phone a friend, only to be laughing at something completely irrelevant within a matter of moments.
4. Write about your troubles!
Obviously talking helps too, but I often find myself unable to fully articulate my thoughts in conversation with even my closest of friends and associates, mostly out of a combination of fear of how I may be looked upon, and or not wanting to pass my negativity onto them. These are situations when pen and paper really come in handy.
If your anything like me, when your upset you tend to think large volumes of quite negative thoughts at a strikingly rapid pace. When this happens I often find writing it out on paper makes it much easier to understand the source of my negative thinking, extrapolate information, attempt to draw connections and conclusions, and make a plan of application for whatever solutions I can conjure up. It allows me to logically and analytically break down my thoughts rather than being tormented and tortured by them. This can often times be quite time consuming and relief is never instant when it gets this bad, but rather this is more of like a slow walk up a long hill on a hot day.
5. Do something artistic &or creative!
I’ve known many people who found various forms of creative expression to be indescribably helpful in battling not only depression but a whole slew of mental ailments. Everyone has their own flavors, I personally like music and writing the most but any craft or art form will do. It especially helps to create something you can keep at the end, which is why I keep everything I draw, write, and record nearly all of my instrumental and vocal practices, when you have a lot of negative thoughts being able to sift through and derive personal happiness from something you made yourself can really help curve your self perception and thought process. In my experience it tends to become a habitual coping mechanism, the more you truly enjoy what your doing the better!
6. Meditate (or pray if your into that sort of thing)!
There any many forms of meditation, though I tend to veer toward the basic forms. This generally consists of sitting legs crossed in the lotus pose, or whatever is most comfortable for you. This is generally followed by either closing ones eyes, and doing ones best to quiet their minds whilst taking care not to outright reject or suppress any arising thoughts. The goal in mind is achieving a completely silent mind, one which resembles a calm body of water undisturbed by any ripple or splash.
I generally do this by focusing on the patterns of my breath, the sound of my heartbeat, and whatever colors, patterns or fractals might arise in my field of vision. This isn’t something that will generally arise earlier in learning meditations, but when it begins to manifest, it immediately makes the act of meditating much more enjoyable, to the point where I would almost call it addictive after a certain point, but in a good way, so maybe habitual would be a better description.
It might be hard to get the hang of at first, but with practice, you’ll find it much easier to quiet the mind quicker and achieve deeper states of meditation more easily. Not only does it get more enjoyable and in depth as you get better and better, but the benefits it can provide for your psyche become increasingly beneficial and easier to access.
7. Switch up (a part of) your schedule!
I’ve often found making small changes to ones schedule can often mix things up, and if there’s one thing that’s universal about combating depression: it’s change. It could be a significant change, like adding something new to your daily/weekly routine.
A series of small changes may be quite beneficial as well. Examples may include taking a different route to work, going somewhere different for lunch, listening to a different radio station. One I’ve heard has helped many is going to bed and waking up a little earlier (or later) or changing up what time you do certain things like leisure activities, hobbies, housework etc. Changing things up helps things feel fresher and less monotonous.
8. Look for reasons to get out of the house!
This one may not apply for everyone, but its not common for depression to cause people to become increasingly introverted, antisocial and even reclusive. When this happens, no matter how hard it may be, focusing on overcoming this problem should be a priority. If this is part of your depression, conquering this aspect is incredibly crucial. In my experience it makes most other parts significantly easier.
It can be anything; Visit a friend, Go to the movies, go out to eat, go for a hike, a walk in the park, go to the beach, window shopping, get your hair done, get groceries, go to the library, the zoo, walk around with a boombox on your shoulder bumping the most obnoxious music in your library, ANYTHING! Just make it a point to leave your house every day. if your in a position where your depression or anxiety have driven you to introversion no matter how hard it may be, if you can manage to do this you WILL notice change!
9. Release your grudges!
Whoever your brooding against, try your best to get over it(if possible.) Obviously this wont work for every situation. Over small things; it’s worth it, your psyche and your stress levels will thank you, trust me.
Bonus points if you call, visit, or write that person a letter.
10. Go for a drive!
This one is extremely therapeutic. Something about moving so quickly, seeing the scenery pass by, and the freedom to just go wherever you’d like.
I currently do not have a vehicle, though I find myself frequently asking and or paying friends to take me out for cruises. Especially if you live in an area without much traffic and good scenery, this can almost instantly turn a long day of self loathing and hopelessness into a moment of relief and relaxation!C
That’s all for now, I hope you found value in our post, thank you all very much for reading and lending us your time and brainpower!