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How do I Choose the Best Self-Help for Depression?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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One of the best self-help strategies for dealing with depression is understanding the condition and recognizing its presence. While this may seem obvious, there are many people who become depressed without realizing it. For example, they may lose interests in activities they previously enjoyed, suffer from appetite loss, sleep more or less, and experience irritability, without realizing they are dealing with a mental health condition that has a name and treatment options. In fact, those close to the patient may notice the symptoms of depression before the patient recognizes them. Once the patient does recognize his symptoms, he can then go on to try methods of self-help for depression or seek the help of a mental-health professional.

Talking can be one of the best methods of self-help for depression. Sharing thoughts and feelings with trusted friends and loved ones can have a therapeutic effect. Often, loved ones are happy to support their friends and relatives in tough times. In lieu of supportive friends and family, a person may turn to members of the clergy, support groups, and professional counselors for support.

When depression takes hold, the affected person may want to stop doing things he once enjoyed and avoid social activities. However, withdrawing can make things much worse. Instead, getting out among other people may help to lessen the feelings of depression. Likewise, keeping up with fun activities and pastimes may help a depressed person to add just a little fun back into his day and lighten his mental state.

Exercise can be another one of the best methods of self-help for depression. It may be hard for a depressed person to motivate himself to exercise, but if he can, it can have a dramatic effect. Exercise increases brain neurotransmitters that boost mood, reduce stress, and help to relax tense muscles. It also helps to increase endorphins, which are natural defenses against stress and pain. In fact, some studies have produced evidence that exercise acts as a potent antidepressant.

Practicing healthy lifestyle habits is an important part of self-help for depression. Eating right and getting at least eight hours of sleep each night can help to keep the body feeling fit and the mind able to cope. It’s also a good idea to get at least a little sun each day, as lack of sun exposure can actually make depression worse. A short walk or a little time spent in the garden can not only provide a little sun exposure, but also improve the mood.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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