Health And Wellness

11 Tiny Things That Really Help Depression

Photo: Kosamtu, doidam10 | Canva 
Girl overcoming depression

Depression hurts — it’s a private and lonely battle that takes place somewhere on the invisible battlefield of the psyche. Not like a wrenching cough with slimy phlegm, or a broken leg in a white cast propped up on a plush pillow and covered by "get well soon" graffiti. This kind of pain is brutal, ripping you apart from the inside and without any estimated date for when the suffering will end.

I’ve been there, faced it, and I’m on the other side of it now, so I believe it’s possible for you to feel better, too. Besides, what if your depression is simply an invitation to self-discovery? Maybe just the fact that you have it makes it possible for you to overcome it. I believe that.

Since depression is a mental state, it takes a mental shift to get out of it. Your mind is the primary tool on your healing journey, your best ally, and it wants you to recover. Your mental decisions control your brain chemistry, so let’s begin by making some simple, positive changes in your thinking and your daily routine, encompassing both mind and body and honoring their connection.

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Here are 11 little things you can do every day to help overcome depression:

1. Decide to live

Depression feels like being disconnected from life, and this state is unnatural and suffocating, so begin by deciding that you want to be alive and feel good. Remind yourself of this daily. Don’t worry too much about how you’ll get there; that will come. When you set an intention, your mind will calculate all the possible routes to take you to your desired destination.



2. Every morning, when you open your eyes and your mind is still awakening, say this to yourself:

“The darker the past, the brighter the future, and this is where I am heading.” In your mind’s eye turn your back on your dark past and face your luminous future. This simple mental exercise will create a new neural pathway in your brain, leading you to happiness. Then drink a glass of water to detoxify your body (you might want to put it by your bedside the night before).

3. Do at least one thing a day that brings you happiness

Even if you just get a small hit of happiness, it’s still huge, because you’re creating a new behavioral pattern by focusing on something that makes you feel good. You may play with your pet, treat yourself to a cappuccino, plant a rose bush, or take a bath. It’s healthy to self-indulge and give yourself pleasure.

4. Eat at least one food a day that helps balance your brain chemistry

You want to support your body while you’re healing your mind, so enjoy omega fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon, almonds, eggs, and pumpkin seeds. Your body will appreciate these natural foods high in vitamins and nutrients; then add a rainbow cuisine of fruits, veggies, and healthy grains. Treat yourself right, because you’re worthy of self-respect.



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5. Take yourself outside, even if it’s just for several minutes

Fresh air, sun, and deep breathing are all powerful healers. And you want to heal, don’t you?  If you said yes, then it’s possible — and it’s up to you. Because healing means replacing the old mental behavioral pattern of being depressed with a new, more desirable one of being happy and excited. Move your body daily: walk, stretch, dance, swim, do gardening —anything that you enjoy.

6. Stay away from negative media

Chronic TV watching, especially of news or politics, can keep you in a depressive state. Instead, watch something funny on TV or YouTube, because you need to train yourself to laugh again. After all, life is a dramedy (drama + comedy), and when you laugh, your brain’s ‘happy’ chemicals flood the bloodstream, strengthening your nervous and immune systems.

7. Allow yourself to get angry

This may feel like it’s the opposite of laughter, but anger unfreezes you, so allow yourself to express your emotions. Throw a tantrum, kick, scream, and cry in the privacy of your closet. When you feel a sense of relief, then stand up for yourself and set healthy boundaries with the people in your life. You deserve to be appreciated and treated right.

8. Write down five things you’re grateful for in your life

If you can only come up with one for now, that’s good enough. You’re training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of this convoluted life equation, and that’s a valuable skill to have. The more you focus on the good things in life, the more of them life will reveal to you.

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9. Once a day, look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself

Force yourself. Say, “I like your smile and the dimple on your left cheek,” “I love your kindness and your loyalty to your friends,” or “Your apple pie recipe is amazing!” Just be kind to yourself, even if it’s for only a moment. Remember that you’re a good person and you deserve to be happy. You belong in this world, so let life love you — because you’re lovable.

10. In the shower, imagine a cascade of healing waters pouring over you, washing away all the impurities and mental confusion, cleansing and purifying you

Your subconscious mind, which is your emotional mind, doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s not; whatever you imagine, it has to accept and communicate to your brain. Your brain then aligns its chemicals accordingly with who you are becoming, which is, “I am healed and purified.”

11. Introduce mindfulness meditation into your daily routine

According to an Oxford University study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) offers an alternative for the millions of people who suffer recurring depression. When the mind is relaxed, you enter a state of chemical homeostasis where all your bodily systems work in unison, creating a positive environment for self-repair and rejuvenation. Things that bother you seem to disappear, and new, positive, and beneficial perspectives on life emerge. 

I’m so proud of you! Choosing to deal with depression is huge, and I applaud your courage to fight for yourself and get better. Not too long from now, the war will cease, and peace and mental-emotional well-being will prevail. I know that you’re stronger than depression, that you’re capable and resourceful enough to find the solutions to all your life’s challenges.

I also know your childhood may have been difficult or unfair, but the pain is over and you’re an adult now — not a helpless, insecure kid. You’re a wise, resourceful, smart grownup, and it’s your life, your rules. And by the way, what are your rules? What’s important to you? What kind of person do you want to be? Decide that, and start implementing it daily. The time is now, and you’re ready.

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a Medical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Consultant. She is the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family.