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Overcoming Depression

Bad news: entirely overcoming depression is hard.

Good news: easy, concrete steps you can take right now will help you start feeling better.

Depression won't vanish overnight, but you'll notice improvement pretty quickly. Here are some practical measures you can take right now to start feeling better.

Exercise


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Walk for 30-60 minutes a day. It releases endorphins, which improve your mood, energize you, and contribute to being more positive.


Laugh


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It will help you lighten up and gain a different perspective on your situation. Watch a funny movie with a friend (or even alone). Laugh at yourself whenever possible. It will help you look on the bright side of life.


Schedule


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Structure your day with planned activities and adhere to it. Each item checked off of your list adds to your sense of accomplishment. Knowing what you are doing next keeps you looking forward, and not getting stuck in the past.


Sleep


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Go to sleep and wake up everyday within a half hour of the same time. Your body needs a set schedule to function optimally. It will help you heal faster.


Socialize


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Don't isolate. Engaging in social activities with your community of friends, family, and ethnic or religious community provides comfort, love, and spiritual fulfillment, all of which are healing.


Reach Out


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Spend time with people you like and trust to be supportive and positive. Other people’s positive energy will rub off on you. Nurturing friends will help you remember that you are not alone.


Journal


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Record your thoughts and feelings. It is like having a mental vacuum cleaner. Writing helps you connect with information that may not come up in thoughts or conversations. It provides a great opportunity to gain clarity and relief from depression.


Self-Talk


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It's the most important item on the list; without it, you forget the rest of the list, and nothing gets done. Self-talk is the reminder that it's temporary and it is the process of walking yourself through the other items on this list. It gives you direction and empowers you.

Remind yourself that feelings are temporary. Even the good ones. Keep a written list of people you can call to talk you through depressive moments.


Catch Some Sun


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20 minutes in the sun without sun glasses increases Serotonin levels. Try to avoid peak hours, though; there’s no sense trading depression for skin cancer.


Set New Goals


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Write your goals down. Make a list of baby steps with completion deadlines. Planning and executing goals distracts you from depression. Completing those tasks increases confidence in your ability to overcome the depression.


Listen to Music


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Listen to music that makes you happy. It's an instant mood enhancer. Keep songs you like on your MP3 player and computer so they'll be easily accessible when you need them.


Get Help (Therapy)


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Warm, supportive environments and solid therapeutic methods help you heal. Therapy also teaches additional coping skills that help you endure life transitions and understand the sources of your depression.