I know that sometimes things may not go so well in your life. And during these times we all can get depressed.
But when we get depressed we can't operate in our lives with full capacity. While you do have to be patient, there are still some steps you can take now to help yourself feel better.
Of course your depression may be so severe that it requires medical attention. Don't be afraid to call a doctor and schedule a visit. But if your depression comes and goes remember that it is natural to have some ups and downs.
Here are 12 ways to beat depression, get you back on your feet, and give you the backbone to carry forward and make things better in your life.
1. Get Some Buddies
There are people around you who care about you. Your children, parents, friends, neighbors, church families, social groups. Any of these are good support for you and your life. If you have a phone, program the numbers of 5 buddies who you can call on for support.
Our job as buddies is to help each other not roll out of the tent and
into the stream, and to keep each other safe during midnight bathroom
runs. My buddies are the six numbers programmed into my cell phone, the
voices that remind me sometimes as many as five times a day: "It will
2. Read Away Your Blues
A book can be a powerful way to get you out of your self and into a place where the depression can be put aside for a time.
Of course the Bible is always a good resource. The Psalms are my favorite places for uplifting prayer and thoughts.
But don't forget other good books. There are probably books in your home right now you haven't read in years. Find a cherished old book and read it again with fresh eyes.
Go to the Library and just look for a section of books that interest you. It might be self-help, mysteries, adventures or any subject you like. And don't forget magazines. Your local library can be a great resource for you - use it.
3. Be Accountable to Someone
Twelve-step groups use this method--called accountability--to keep
people sober and on the recovery wagon. Everyone has a sponsor, a
mentor to teach them the program, to guide them toward physical,
mental, and spiritual health.
Today several people together serve as my emotional "sponsor,"
keeping me accountable for my actions: Mike (my writing mentor), my
therapist, my doctor, Fr. Dave, Deacon Moore, Eric, and my mom. Having
these folks around to divulge my misdeeds to is like confession--it
keeps the list of sins from getting too long.
4. Predict your Weak Times
Some time specific times of the day are the worst for me. In the morning when I wake up, during the afternoon when my work is finished, at night when I'm alone.
Try to figure out if certain times of the day are the worst for you and plan alternate activities. If the morning is hard for you, take a walk outside, change your morning routine - brush your teeth first, then bathe, then take some time to pamper yourself with powder or oil. Or change these around.
By predicting which times of the day are the worst for you - and planning things that change this time from your normal routine, you can avoid these depressing periods.
5. Distract Yourself
Try crossword puzzles, novels, Sudoku, e-mails, reading, walking the dog (pets are wonderful "buddies" and can
improve mental health), card games, movies, sports, de-cluttering the house (cleaning out a
drawer, a file, or the garage...or just stuffing it with more stuff);
crafts; gardening (even pulling weeds, which you can visualize as the problem causing you to be depressed); exercise; nature (just
sitting by the water); and music.
6. Sweat it Out
I don't mean just sit and wait. I mean get up and WORK or EXERCISE.
A good run, an aerobic dance, a vigorous workout - anything to get the sweat rolling down your face. Get a workout video tape at your local shop. Find a good book that details a workout regime. Turn on the music loudly and just DANCE.
Sweating releases endorphines in your body which naturally raises your mental attitudes.
7. Begin a New Project
The fastest way to get out of your head is to put it in a new
project--compiling a family album, knitting a blanket, coaching Little
League, heading a civic association, planning an Earth Day festival,
auditioning for the local theatre, taking a course at the community
If you can't get out of your house look around for a new project to do. Remember that pile of photos you have stashed in a drawer? Why not begin a photo album? Re-arrange your kitchen ware. Pull out all the blankets, sheets and pillowcases you have stored all over, give them a good shake out and wash. Tackle that garage that always seems to grow and never ends.
8. Keep Records
One definition of suffering is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting different results.
But I can be so blind to my own attempts at disguising self-destructive behavior in a web of lies and rationalizations.
When you are depressed grab a paper and pen, write down the time of day, what you have just eaten, what you have just been doing that might have triggered your depressed feelings. As you build up a record of your depressing times you may well find a pattern that you can read about, and begin awareness to change.
9. Offer to Help
The quickest way you learn material is by being forced to teach it. I
adamantly believe that you have to fake it 'til you make it.
always feel less depressed after I have helped someone who is
struggling with sadness. It's the twelfth step of the twelve-step
program, and a cornerstone of recovery. Give and you shall receive. The
best thing you can do for your brain is to find a person in greater pain
than yourself and to offer them your hand. If they take it, You're inspired to
stand strong, so you can pull them out of their funk. And in that process, you are often pulled out of yours.
Offer to pray for others in need. Subscribe to our PRAYER CHAIN and pray for those in need. It's a great way to feel better!
10. Find a Security Item
Do you remeber Linus in the famous Peanuts cartoon strip who always had his blankie nearby? We all need a blankie sometimes. Maybe not a real blanket, but something that we can hold tightly that reminds us of security and hope. Maybe it is a special medal, photo, lucky charm or fondly remembered jewel or wrist watch.
Find something that has special meaning for you, keep it near you at all times, and when you begin to feel depressed grab it and hold on tight. Simply close your eyes and squeeze your security item.
Let the feelings of peace and security flow around you.
11. Get on Your Knees
Simply pray to have your depression lifted and to receive peace in your life. Of course we believe in the POWER OF PRAYER. Request that others pray for you also. Join our PRAYER CHAIN and pray for others.
Ask God for help in simple words - just say "Help"!
12. Do Nothing
This is not to say just sit there and be depressed.
Go sit in a park and just do nothing. Find a church and sit in the back when it is empty. Go into your yard on or your porch and watch the activity around you. Doing nothing is not getting worse. And these days that is actually a step in the right direction.