How to overcome depression


How to overcome depression

I was a little nervous when I was approached with this topic. Depression isn’t a state that could simply be turned off by wishing for it. Not to mention thinking positively while in a depressed state is extremely difficult.

An annoying piece of advice that people tend to offer is the simple phrase, “Just be happy and think more positive.” I never considered it as an insult or inconsiderate thing to say. It just seems annoying because it seems like depressed people never considered the option of, “cheering up and being happy.”

I do believe that sort of mindset does set someone on a correct path, but how does one think happily while suffering from depression? In what ways could they overcome depression? The concept of overcoming depression by simply thinking about it isn’t effective because it would be like telling someone to breath as they were drowning underwater.

The concept of thinking positively seems easy to accomplish, but people can’t think happy thoughts when they lose that ability. Another method people offer to overcome depression is by smiling whether it’s fake or not. But this strategy only helps a small percentage of people and this isn’t strong enough to cure this type of illness permanently.

In this age, it’s easy to fake a smile. We do it everyday. When we go to work, when we’re at school, when we’re with family or friends. You hold a fake smile to avoid sharing your burdens with those close to you and therefore, allow them to judge you.

This may create a false sense of illusion to the outside world, but it starts to sour your soul. It could be depressing to know you probably encountered over a dozen people suffering from depression, but hid it from the rest of the world. You’ve probably met someone today who suffers from depression, but hides it through fake smiles and laughter.

People take pills and drugs to fight this illness and oftentimes, don’t even know the source of their depression is located. They may find the small things in life enjoyable, but still choose to be alone and not allow too many people in their life.

Some people assume depression is an imaginary problem stuck in someone’s head because they never suffered through it before and don’t know the effects. People who suffer from depression experience insomnia, asthma, and panic attacks. They can’t control it, and some turn to food, drugs and alcohol as a means to fix it. So to overcome depression, you need to:


1. Get outside more: 

Sometimes just being outside could boost your mood whether you’re aware of it or not. The sunlight provides you with a source of energy that brings forth positive thoughts. It won’t make you suddenly happy, but it sets forth a positive boost in your day.

So while you’re outside, do something proactive such as taking a walk, exercising, sitting on a bench, or anything you enjoy. You don’t have to spend time with other people. Just spend time outside for fresh air and sunlight.


2. Exercise: 

This is an activity anyone depressed wouldn’t want to get themselves involved with. It takes motivation to put on your running shoes and take a jog outside. But you’ll discover by exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes, it reduces the minor symptoms of depression.

Exercising releases endorphin and block stress hormones, which then produces serotonin. Exercising has the ability to reduce sadness because your breathing rate changes. It reduces panic attacks because of the mechanics of your body.

To give an example, I conducted this practice over a year ago and ran 3 -5 miles a day. I wanted to see how my mood would change after a serious change of habit. After all, I often read studies recommending people to give it a try.

I didn’t work out to become fit, but to see how it would reflect my attitudes and high anxieties. After 2 and a half weeks of exercising regularly, I discovered an improved attitude, a weird fixation on eating healthier, and found it easier to control my anger.

Don’t think after one hard exercise session that you’ll automatically be cured of your depression. You will notice a slight change of thought after the first couple times, but it takes weeks before noticing your symptoms lowering by over 50%


3. Change eating habit: 

Everything you eat affects your brain and body. So look at your diet and examine the foods you’ve been consuming. If you could, avoid sugars and grains if possible because people who suffer from mood disorders also tend to be gluten sensitive.

Depression is found in over 50 percent of gluten-sensitive individuals and if you’re not sure if you’re gluten sensitive, get tested. A diet in low carbohydrates and high fat can increase depression and schizophrenia. You don’t have to ban sugar from your life, just consume less of it. A treat people like to give themselves is chocolate because it has a brain boosting effect on people.


4. Get enough sleep: 

It might be difficult  accomplishing this task if you’re already dealing with insomnia. But many people are still clueless as to how sleep could give someone more strength physically and mentally. You’ll discover that by changing your sleep schedule along with a regular wake up time, it’ll set your mind and body towards a positive path.

A recommended time would be waking up around 6 AM and going to bed at 10 PM. Shoot for 8 hours of sleep if you find yourself with a busy schedule. If you have more time to spare, shoot for 9-10 hours. You’ll want to keep this habit until you find your body and mind becoming use to this habit. The time frame for you to adapt this mindset is usually one and a half weeks.


5. Improve yourself on a daily basis: 

Sometimes, when someone deals with depression, it’s because they feel worthless with no values to offer the world. That isn’t true, and to trick your brain to think that way, start doing something that will better yourself daily.

Learn something whether it’s drawing, writing, making music, coding, speaking, or reading faster. The goal will be to conduct daily activities that builds your skills so you have something to lean back on when your brain sends you negative feedback.


6. Laugh: 

It’s amazing how the ability to laugh has been the source for many people overcoming their depression. We laugh at a lot of things such as watching movies, becoming nervous, or thinking to ourselves. In the study of laughter and its effect on the body, otherwise known as Gelotology, it was discovered not only does it reduces stress, but releases endorphin.

Using laughter distracts people from stress, fear, and pain. It promotes healthy living because of the way it changes your breathing pattern. There have even been developments of laughter therapy, courses, and meditations.

So find funny videos on YouTube, watch comedians, or listen to anyone funny in general. By learning to laugh more, you’ll slowly shift your mind into a state of comfort.  By laughing once a day for several weeks, you’ll notice a shift of thoughts.


7. Praying: 

This is often taken as a meditation tool because this exercise allows you to live in the moment. The only difference with meditation and prayer is that you’ll also be in a session with God. You won’t have that sense of loneliness as you look over your fear and depression.

You’ll discover if you lock yourself in an isolated space where no one could judge you, you let go of your fear through prayer, and find a deeper understanding of your sorrows.

You might find the answers you’re searching for. I was amazed by the results of people who used daily prayer sessions to lift their spirit and became happier as the weeks gone by. They no longer had a sense of loneliness and placed their burdens for God to embrace and help them through their struggles.

When someone feels like there isn’t a single person for them to turn to in this world, the best source is to turn to is God. That way, through meditation and prayer exercises, they find hope, faith, and love.


8. Talk about it: 

This is a difficult exercise to conduct because people aren’t keen to the idea of releasing their feelings upon someone else. It’s the fear of being judged after releasing their inner soul out to them. People don’t want to be rejected, so they bottle up their pain and hide it.

But you’ll discover if you find at least 1 person you could release your thoughts to, it’ll set you on a path of feeling better. I understand some people don’t have anyone special nor the money to hire a therapist.

Therefore, find support groups in either churches or local communities. If you’re more comfortable online, conduct online therapy where you speak to online communities via instant messaging. It might be easier to do this because you could hide behind a mask while releasing your inner thoughts. You’ll find other people suffering the same way you are and together, find a way to overcome depression.


In final thoughts…

I’m aware dealing with depression is difficult and everyone has their reasons. Everyone’s depression doesn’t originate from the same source and they’ll have to apply different methods for correcting it. This list is meant to target people dealing with different kinds of depression.

Someone could be depressed because they feel alone, they’re dealing with a poor eating habit, they feel lost on their journey, or they need someone to talk to. With that being said, each person time frame of overcoming depression is going to be set within these exercises.

You might only have to apply one of these methods or you might need all 8. These are your tools and you can determine how to use them based on how they serve you best.


About Author

Besides being random and dealing with ADHD from time to time, Michael Gregory II is the CEO of the Self Development Workshop. He's traveled to over a dozen countries, counselled a variety of people, and continues furthering his knowledge in self-development, depression, and mastering your happiness. On his lazy days, he enjoy watching people, reading in Starbucks, and speaking to random strangers. (Yeah, he’s weird.)


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