Depression adds a layer of difficulty to life that can sometimes seem overwhelming. When even simple tasks seem complicated and high goals seem farther away than ever, it can be hard to come up with the energy or will to try to accomplish anything. Unfortunately, there is no magical cure for depression and not all strategies and treatments work on all people. You may have to try methods before you find the thing or combination of things that help you get past your depression. Take a look at some of the things that may help you overcome depression.
1. Strengthen Your Support Network
Depression may tell you that nobody wants to hear about how you’re feeling. You may avoid others because you don’t want to bring them down or burden them with your problems. However, being able to talk about how you’re feeling and lean on others for support can help relieve some of the isolation that often accompanies depression and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
There are people out there who want to hear how you’re feeling and want to help, even if it doesn’t feel that way all the time. Reach out to family and friends. Don’t feel obligated to go it alone or say that everything is fine when it’s not. Give the people in your life a chance to show you that they’re ready to be there and support you when you’re feeling depressed. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much your friends and family want to be there for you, and knowing that you’re not alone can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
You don’t have to rely only on the people you know, either. Your doctor, therapist, or counselor could be an important source of support. You should also consider looking for depression support groups in your community, or even online support groups. Talking to other people who also experience depression can remind you that you’re not alone, and people who have been where you are can be a valuable source of support, information, and resources.
2. Get Moving
Many people have trouble making it to the gym on a regular basis even when they’re not depressed, so it’s no surprise that depression makes it even more difficult to make the effort to exercise. But if you can force yourself to get up and get moving, it can pay off big time.
You probably know that exercise causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins act as pain relievers and provide a mood boost, which means that even if you don’t feel great about exercising when you start, you’ll probably feel a lot better by the end. Exercise endorphins aren’t a cure-all to overcome depression, but the positive feelings they provide can lower stress levels and help you get through the day when you’re feeling down.
Getting needed exercise on a regular basis can also improve your health, lowering your blood pressure and increasing your energy levels. In the long run, getting healthier can help improve your state of mind. Exercising can also boost your self-esteem. You’ll feel productive and know that you’ve accomplished something good for yourself.
You don’t have to run a 4-minute mile or spend inordinate amounts of time at the gym. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself – when you’re battling depression, you have enough to deal with. Start slow – even a brisk walk is a good start. Don’t think of exercise in terms of losing weight or training for a marathon – instead, think of it in terms of doing something nice for yourself that will make you feel good because you deserve to feel good.
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling is an effective way to process your thoughts and feelings. It can be soothing to write down your worries, anxieties, and negative feelings. You may find that these feelings have less power over you once you’ve committed them to paper and can read back over them.
Journaling can also help you channel your thoughts in a positive direction. If you decide that you’re going to write about positive things, you’ll have to think about positive things, and thinking about positive things can brighten your mood. A common recommendation is to write down a few things that you’re grateful for each day. You could also write about something beautiful that you saw, heard, or experienced that day, or about something funny that you read or heard about or thought of.
4. Overcome Depression with Therapy or Counseling
Don’t hesitate to seek out therapy or counseling when you’re struggling to overcome depression. Just as there’s nothing wrong with being honest with your friends and family about your depression, there’s also nothing wrong with getting help from an expert.
Many people with depression go to therapy, and as a result, therapists see many different symptoms and levels of depression. Because of this experience, they will likely have solutions and strategies that you’ve never considered before, and they’re likely to know which methods of treatment will work best in your case. Group counseling, cognitive therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are all potential ways to address depression. A therapist or counselor can guide you through all of your options, evaluate your progress, and help you decide whether to continue with one type of treatment or find something new.
5. Don’t Quit
It can be frustrating when you try something to alleviate and overcome depression only to find that it doesn’t work right away, or when you find something that does help temporarily, but then feel yourself backsliding into depression. It’s important to remember that depression can be complex and there’s not necessarily a quick or instant cure.
However, that doesn’t mean that you must just accept life in a depressive state. You deserve to feel better and you can feel better – it just may take more time and patience than you’d like. Don’t give up on finding a way to overcome depression. When one method doesn’t work, move onto the next. Keep asking for help and support until you get what you need. Depression can be managed and treated, so don’t let setbacks stop you from finding the solution that allows you to live a healthier, happier life.