Depression is like a heavy, black blanket where no light comes in. It is hard to breathe, as if someone put a candle inside a glass-jar with no oxygen. It is even hard to see any light, any hope as the blackness surrounding you hides what could have been positive and uplifting. Luckily, there are ways to throw the blanket away, even if it`s heavy and you feel like the energy to lift it just isn`t there. Here are ten things you can do if you feel depressed or hopeless.
- Try to figure out what used to make it happy. Write it down and read it when you feel sad. Try to do some of the things that were good for you before you got depressed. This can be small things, like eating something you like. For someone it can be meeting a trusted friend, or playing your favorite music
- Find or make a box that is only yours. Feel free to decorate it any way you want. In it you can put things that remind you of the good things in life. It can be pictures from times you felt happy, emails or letters from someone who care about you, or objects from your past that you loved, and that remind you of happier times.
- Talk with people who care about you.
- Get out of bed. No matter how tired or lethargic you feel, try to get up and do SOMETHING. If you are seriously depressed, everything is an effort, so remind yourself that it is a real accomplishment if you manage to do small things. Depression is a serious condition, almost like having cancer or another disease. It`s not your fault, and you deserve to give yourself positive feedback like you would to a friend who suffers.
- Try to exercise. Research shows that only five minutes of intense exercise is enough to produce results. Your mood will life and your brain will be flooded with nutrients and oxygen that might contribute to feeling better. If you can`t manage to get a pulse, try to at least take a walk or do something else that involves moving your body.
- Take a warm shower, and feel every drop on your skin. Feel the warmth, if possible close your eyes to intensify the experience.
- Register what you think. Depression have a profound effect on your thinking, so it`s important to notice what you say to yourself, especially if you start to harass yourself. You would`t verbally abuse someone else, so why do it to yourself?
- Eat healthy. Some types of food are known to lift your spirits. It might be diary products like cottage cheese or warm milk with honey, or types of food with tryptofan, the precursor to serotonin. Serotonin if often lacking in depressed brain, so try to enhance the level of it by being conscious about what you eat.
- Read good books with tips, or stories from others who have been depressed and managed to get out of it. In this way, you won`t feel so alone. I highly recommend books from David Burns, they are easy to read and full of practical tips.
- Protect yourself. When depressed, you don`t need to put yourself down by being self-destructive. A lot of depressed people, feel they don`t deserve anything good. But isn`t it the other way around? When you feel so bad, you actually need to be taken care of, either by others or yourself. Self-soothing and self-compassion are two of the most important skills you need to get better.
- For some it might help to write down happy memories you`ve had. Read it when you feel like nothing good happens, because our brains are biased to search for mood-congruent information and this might get you out of the rut. If we are sad, sad memories pop up like balloons eager to burst. For that reason, reminders might be necessary to drag yourself out of the negativity spiral.
These are just some tips, what matters the most is finding your own ways to fight depression. These tips might ignite some ideas that might help you remember what to do when you feel like everything is hopless. Depression is like your enemy in a war, so be sure to be well equipped when you have to defend yourself from lethal attacks.