What is Depression Self-Help?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 December 2019
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Depression is a condition that just about everyone will experience at one time or another. Most people undergo periods of mild depression that are brought on by factors such as a job loss, the failure of a relationship, or some type of life-changing event. While the condition may deepen to the point that professional help is needed, there are some forms of depression self-help that are effective with bouts of mild and temporary depression.

One approach to depression self-help is to resist the temptation to pull inward and forgo socializing with other people. While the intention of not burdening other people with your depressed mood is understandable, it will not help you move through the depression and recover a better frame of mind. Spending time with loved ones at social events, or even watching television with people who care about you, make it possible to remain connected and involved with the world outside yourself. This leaves you less time to brood and possibly forget all the good things that are part of your life.


Finding a local support group is one way to broaden your social horizons. Many communities offer groups of this type that meet once or twice a week. The group may be organized under the auspices of a local charity or mental health organization, or be part of the outreach of a house of worship to the wider community. In any event, you have the chance to meet other people who also are seeking relief from depression and can learn from each other as you recover.

Diet and exercise are also powerful tools when it comes to depression self-help efforts. A balanced diet that is rich in nutrients, especially the B vitamins and a balance of calcium and magnesium, can go a long way toward helping your body overcome the physical symptoms associated with depression. The right foods promote the production of neurotransmitters that help to restore a more even mood, making it easier to shake off the depression and begin to enjoy life once more.

Exercise has long been recognized as an effective means of depression self-help. Even a vigorous walk of thirty minutes a day can promote the release of endorphins into the bloodstream that will elevate your mood. Riding a bicycle, taking an aerobics class, or working out at a gym can also help minimize the ill effects of stress, a factor that often contributes to the development of depression.

You should also consider the way you think when seeking methods of depression self-help. Always looking at the negative will only deepen your depressed state and make it harder to engage in normal activities. By making a conscious effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones each time you are tempted to dwell on something that brings you down, you will slowly learn to control your thoughts and thus remove the power that negative thinking has on your life.

While depression self-help can be very effective with short bouts of mild depression, there are situations in which you should seek professional help if the depression continues to linger. Often, a combination of structured therapy and possibly a regimen of medication that is monitored closely can be used in conjunction with all these methods to free you from the bonds of depression, and help you enjoy life to the fullest once again.



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