16 Ways To Fight Depression

Depression is more than a rough patch.

Depression is more than a rough patch. It’s a serious mental illness that requires attention. An estimated 16 million Americans have depression. It causes people suffering in all areas of their lives, personal and professional. While we’ve come a long way in finding effective treatments for depression, less than half of those affected receive any treatment. A range of barriers to access to mental health care exist, from stigma to poverty.
These are 16 ways to fight depression, 1 for each million depressed Americans.

  1. Don’t blame yourself. Accept that depression is an illness just as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are illnesses. Trying harder won’t make depression go away. Seeking treatment will.
  2. If you aren’t already, see a psychiatrist.
  3. Maintain a routine. Sticking to a routine will make it harder to slip into isolation and procrastination when a bout of depression rears its ugly head.
  4. Reconnect with someone you love. Arrange to meet up, or if they live too far, give them a call.
  5. Join a group that shares your interests. A book club, a recreational sports team, a church group, support group, volunteer corps.
  6. Learn to meditate.
  7. Plan a trip. The trip can be big or small, but it will give you something to look forward to.
  8. Spend time with kids. Volunteer to babysit a younger relative or neighbor.
  9. Sleep at least 7 hours per night.
  10. Get your heart rate up at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week. Jump rope, walk briskly around the neighborhood, hop on the exercise bike at the gym. Whatever gets the blood pumping that you’ll enjoy (at least a little).
  11. Go hang out in a public place. Even just being in a social space can lift your spirits. Go to a mall, museum, or park.
  12. Watch a funny movie or show. The chuckles will do you good, even if you don’t feel like laughing.
  13. Spend more time in nature.
  14. Start a journal. Write about your needs, wants, and moods weekly.
  15. If you’re dealing with a bout of depression, postpone major decisions concerning relationships or your career. The negative outlook forced upon you by your depression will interfere with what you really want.
  16. Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack and show self-compassion. All you can do is your best.

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