If you’ve been depressed or you’re currently depressed, then you know how deeply it drains your energy, your hope and your drive. The unfortunate reality is that overcoming depression is not quick or easy. Like running a marathon you can only take one step at a time. Even though depression can be stubbornly persistent and severe and you can’t just will yourself to snap out of it, you do have some control. Start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time but you can get there with persistence, and by making as many positive choices that you can manage. Don’t give up! You will recover!
Psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane has helped hundreds of people overcome depression; giving them tools they can use outside of sessions as well as the support of ongoing therapy. Here are four ways you can get started!
- Cultivate Relationships – Reach out
Getting the support you need from positive relationships plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. Without supportive relationships, it can be hard to maintain perspective and sustain the efforts to beat depression. Depression can make it challenging to reach out for help from others. While loneliness and seclusion can elicit or worsen the symptoms of depression, emotionally close relationships are imperative when overcoming it. Even if it seems like an overwhelming task, remember it’s the depression that’s stumping you, not your own self. With that in mind, triumph over those woes and reach out to others. It is never too late to improve your support network.
Depression can make otherwise easy tasks like getting out of bed daunting, but when you muster up the strength to get outside to exercise, it has many benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants; increasing your energy levels and reducing feelings of fatigue. Maximum benefits are going to come from 30 minutes or more of exercise per day but you can start small and then build up the motivation to go longer. For instance, 10 minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood and best of all, you don’t need to hit the gym or run miles. Something as simple as a brisk walk is enough to get you moving.
- Challenge Negative Thoughts
Depression tends to put a negative spin on just about everything, particularly the way you perceive yourself. Breaking that pessimistic cycle can be difficult but over time it is essential to replace those negative thoughts with more positive ones. For starters, think outside of yourself – no need to be so harsh on yourself! You wouldn’t say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. Allowing yourself to be less than perfect is the key. Lastly, socialize with positive people. Their bright-sided attitude is contagious!
- Do Things You Enjoy
To overcome depression, it naturally helps to do things that relax and energize you. Making small changes to your lifestyle can reap huge benefits in terms of mood. For example, getting a full nights’ rest, eating a well-balanced diet and adopting healthy habits that will become routine. While you can’t force yourself to have fun, you can pick up again on things you used to enjoy, like a hobby or a sport, and let that reignite the passion.
All in all, depression can be beaten with the right tools and resources, so take advantage of everything you have at your disposal to get back on track to happiness.