If you experience depression frequently or in an ongoing manner, it's important to seek professional help. Nonetheless, there are things that you can do on a daily basis to help lift your spirits and shed the mantle of depression – at least temporarily – and perhaps permanently. In this article, we will share a series of practical, doable tips to help you cope with depression in your daily life.
1. Do your best to develop supportive relationships. Sometimes, when we are depressed, it's hard to even notice other people. Be that as of may, try to keep your eyes open and notice the many small kindnesses that people bestow upon you every day. You may be surprised to find that people are generally concerned about you.
2. Do not hide yourself away. Make it a point to get out every day and spend a little time among others. Even if you just visit a mall or park and do a little people watching, it will lift your spirits. Taking part in a social activity once or twice a week is also very helpful. Good places to look for social activities include libraries, places of worship, or your local gym.
3. Learn to substitute positive thoughts for negative thoughts. If you find yourself being pessimistic or thinking negative thoughts, simply cancel them. Substitute something positive in the place of negative thoughts. Act on your new thoughts right away to help them come true.
4. Get plenty of high quality rest every day. Get 8 hours of sleep a night, or if this is problematic for you, be sure to take a nap in the afternoon or at a convenient time during the day to make sure that you have a total of 8 hours of good rest every 24 hours . This is very important to maintaining a good mood because lack of REM sleep and lack of dream cycles can very negatively affect the way we feel.
5. Learn relaxation and stress management techniques to be better able to cope with day to day stressors. Learning to meditate, redirect your thoughts, use muscle relaxation and any other established method of managing stress and relaxing body, mind and spirit will be helpful in alleviating depression.
6. Spend a little time with a pet. It has been proven that time spent petting and playing with a dog, cat, rabbit or other beloved pet, or even just watching fish in an aquarium can have the effect of lowering the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and relieving stress. Stress is a big contributor to depression, and spending time with a pet can help you get rid of stress and enjoy the unconditional love that pets give freely.
7. Be sure to get at least 15 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise every day. Going for a walk, swim or bike ride can be very effective in improving your physical condition and your state of mind. Exercise such as yoga can be extremely helpful in ordering your thoughts and settling your spirit. All of these things are helpful in the fight against depression.
8. Spend a few minutes in the sunshine every day. Although spending too much time in the sun can be bad for your health, it's important to attain a happy medium. Do not stay out of the sun entirely. People, like plants, need sunshine to thrive. Take 5 or 10 minutes to enjoy the sun on your face every day. Combine this with your walk or bike ride outside or simply sit in the sun to read or have a chat with a friend or acquaintenance. It will lift your spirits.
The effect of these tips is synergistic. Each tip alone may not seem to amount to much and will not take much effort for you to perform. Nonetheless, when done together and regularly, all of these tips combine to have a depression fighting effect that is much greater than the effort it takes to follow the tips. If you incorporated these tips into your lifestyle on a regular basis, you may wake up one morning to find that you are free of depression!