How To Help Yourself When You’re Depressed

March 27, 2014

All of us at some point in our lives feel “down”, fatigued and unable to focus on everyday demands. When this feeling continues to plague us for more than three or four days, it may be more than just “the blues”. It may be depression.

What is depression?


Depression is a complex disorder emerging from external and internal factors. Depressed people experience chemical changes in the brain primarily involving three neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

These chemicals are responsible for our moods, appetite, sleep and, to some extent, energy levels. In addition, depression often develops after a person suffers disturbing life events, such as a divorce, death in the family or unemployment.

Consequently, the combination of physical and emotional distresses occurring simultaneously frequently leads to depression.

What you can do

Depression sufferers are starting to embrace more natural methods for treating bouts of depression instead of relying on antidepressants. Utilizing the calming and healthful effects of yoga, deep breathing exercises and zen meditation work well for people who experience depression and anxiety.

Finding a creative outlet or embarking on a new career outside your home is another way to cope with feelings of sadness, apathy and overwhelming fatigue.

Depression recovery can be something of a “Catch-22” situation because you simply do not feel like taking action to relieve depression. However, there is a big difference between “hard-to-do activities” and “impossible-to-do activities”. Those particular activities that can relieve depression are definitely not impossible.

6 ways to overcome depression

Don’t try to do too many things at once, but begin with performing one task, stay focused on that task and move on when you begin feeling less depressed and revitalized.

Something as simple as getting creative in the kitchen can motivate you.

Talk to someone! Depressed people feel the way they do because they are so fixated on themselves and their negative thoughts. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is one of the best ways to lift your spirits.

Isolating yourself from others worsens depression. Get out of the house, take a walk, or even better, visit your local animal shelter and volunteer to help. Animals make the best natural “antidepressants”.

The Internet offers depression support groups for those who are housebound or need a starting point. Support groups can give you the encouragement, hope and empathy necessary for dealing successfully with depression.

Challenge negative thinking patterns. Write down each self-defeating thought that enters your mind during the day and review them before going to bed. Are these thoughts rational? Are you worrying about something that may or may not happen? Do you expect others to be perfect (including yourself) and inevitably feel depressed when they fail to meet your expectations?

Take a bicycle ride every day, get a therapeutic massage from a professional massage therapist, enroll in a creative writing or painting class at a local community college and train yourself to counter negative thoughts with positive ones. Although depression is partly caused by disruptions in normal brain chemistry, you are capable of re adjusting your brain’s chemistry by the power of your thoughts and your ability to focus outward instead of inward.