How do I deal with depression?
What you will learn from reading this article:
- How to create empowering beliefs and take back your life
- How changing your body posture can change your mood and help your confidence
- How to use rituals and routines to create a feedback loop that lifts you up instead of drags you down
- How to transform your vocabulary and your self-talk to be more positive
- How getting off social media can help you create real connection – and why that’s so important
Feeling sad, anxious or depressed? Happiness doesn’t always come easily, and you don’t have to be happy all the time. The science of happiness tells us that it is dependent on many things, including brain chemistry and life events. But if you find yourself constantly feeling down, you could be one of the many Americans who experience depression. You’re not alone: Depression affects almost one in six people at some point in their lives. You’re also not powerless – you can learn how to deal with depression and increase your quality of life.
Whether you have been formally diagnosed or not, dealing with depression can be a frustrating and exhausting endeavor. At times, you might feel stuck. You might feel helpless. But there are ways you can make lasting changes to your mindset – and take back your life.
Between 2011 and 2014, roughly one in every eight Americans reported recently using antidepressants, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a common prescription for those dealing with depression, but it isn’t the only solution. Antidepressants don’t work for everyone, and they don’t always get to the root of the problem.
If you’re anxious or depressed, it may be time to examine your lifestyle and make lasting changes. Though learning how to cope with depression may not be easy, it is possible to feel better and live a fulfilling and extraordinary life.
How do I know if I’m depressed?
Depression symptoms can vary, but it always results in living in a negative state. Feeling hopeless or a lack of energy and interest in things that used to bring you happiness are common signs. Some people who are dealing with depression also experience restlessness or constant negative thought patterns. It’s important to realize that your symptoms don’t have to be like anyone else’s to qualify you as depressed.
Depression can feel like an endless cycle: You don’t have the energy to fight back, which only makes the depression worse. This makes your energy even lower and dealing with depression becomes seemingly impossible. Instead of getting caught in this cycle of suffering, you can change your body and mind with positive, empowering rituals that create a feedback loop that brings you up instead of taking you down.
Ways to deal with depression
What are your options for how to deal with depression? A host of treatments exist, and they all have one thing in common: for all the research and studies performed, we only know a tiny bit about why brain chemistry works the way it does. What we do know for sure is that your mind-body connection is a huge determiner for whether you live in a peak state or a negative one.
For example, what is your body doing right now? If you’re feeling down, it’s likely that you’re slouched, head down, with your body curled inwards. What is your inner self-talk like? Are you berating yourself for procrastinating or reliving an argument with your partner over and over? The way we speak to ourselves affects our mood. What about your daily routine? Even a short, empowering ritual focused on self-care can make a difference. Tony Robbins says, “You don’t get depressed, you do depressed.”
One of the first steps in how to deal with depression is understanding the common triggers. Feelings of loss, “less than” and “never going to happen” are the major reasons that most people dip into depression. Loss can result from a loved one dying or losing a job; feelings of “less than” can be triggered by comparing yourself to others you view as having more than you and “never” occurs when you start believing that your goals and dreams are completely out of reach. Once you understand which one is behind your depression, you can better learn how to cope with depression.
If you have been depressed for a long period of time and it’s significantly affecting your quality of life, you should get professional help. However, if you have just recently started dealing with depression, you may be able to pull yourself out of this state with these tips. Here are five ways to deal with depression that you can start doing today.
Address your limiting beliefs
Many of those trying to find ways to deal with depression have formed limiting beliefs that negatively affect how they think. If you come from a family who has never had a member attend college, you might believe that you are not smart enough to achieve your goals. Another common limiting belief of those dealing with depression is that they are supposed to be sad because depression or anxiety runs in their family. It’s important to address these types of negative beliefs and understand where they come from so you can start changing them. Whether your beliefs come from your environment, past results or a traumatic event, you can start knocking down the walls of these beliefs and change them to empowering ones that can help you learn how to deal with depression.
Change your physiology
Change your body and you change your mood. There is a reason successful people walk confidently or have a firm handshake or great posture. Being mindful of your body and making adjustments to how you carry yourself can be key to dealing with depression. Changing your body can be as simple as lifting your chest. Seriously – Tony does this exercise in his seminars all the time, and you can try it right now. Stand up normally. Now lift your sternum just a little higher; there’s a point where you’ll start to feel powerful and confident. Now exhale until your chest lowers and you notice that you start to round your back; can you feel the difference? You can play with lifting your sternum and ribs even higher, but hold the position for a few moments. See what happens to your mood.
Feeling more confident and in control? How to cope with depression becomes much easier if you can learn to master your body language. It just took a few physical adjustments in how you held your body to make that happen. You can also change your physiology by doing something active, such as taking a walk or doing some stretches while you breathe deeply. Dealing with depression can make it feel like you’ll never be happy again, but you can train yourself to be wired for the emotions and state of being you want by making some quick physical adjustments. Start making a positive feedback loop with energy and you can begin to take charge of your emotions.
Get a routine with empowering rituals
Depression often takes away structure in people’s lives, especially due to lack of energy. Establishing an empowering routine that you enjoy is important to regain that structure when dealing with depression. Routines and rituals create stability and certainty in your life, even when the world looks bleak. A daily meditation practice or yoga routine can be excellent ways to deal with depression and quiet negative voices in your head. Exercise and movement are also great ways to naturally improve your mood, releasing endorphins and improving overall mental health. You don’t have to become a marathon runner – doing an exercise video at home or taking a daily walk are great ways to boost your mood.
Though routines can help alleviate stress and create an overall feeling of balance, flexibility is the big key when learning how to cope with depression. Avoid training yourself to be frustrated and stressed out when things don’t go your way. Instead, try empowering daily rituals like priming as a way to focus and recenter your state.
Change your words
Everyone has patterns they live by: You’ve built up dozens of patterns throughout your life that you might not even be aware of and could get in the way of dealing with depression. Patterns can be as simple as the words you use when talking about yourself and how you feel and can be the key to dealing with depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on breaking patterns in how you perceive the world around you. Change your negative self-talk with empowering words and you’ve taken a powerful step toward learning how to cope with depression.
Transforming your vocabulary is another way to change your state of being. The biochemical effect of feeling “devastated” or “crushed” is much more negative than “disappointed.” If you’re wondering how to deal with depression, remember: the words we attach to our experiences become our experience. Your words matter – both the words you say out loud and the way you speak to yourself internally. When you change your words, you can literally change your life and effectively find ways for how to cope with depression.
Humans are very social – it’s in our DNA. Connecting with others and having close relationships is a vital part of life and a key to dealing with depression. Creating meaningful connections with others is an important part of creating happiness, and those who are in your close circle have a direct impact on your quality of life. It’s especially important to be connected with other people when dealing with depression symptoms and sometimes the Internet can be a lifeline. While there are benefits to using social media and other technology, it is still crucial that you turn to real-life interactions when learning how to cope with depression.
Facebook and other social media sites often make us feel worse, not better. Even the hunched-over position we use to look at our phones makes us feel down. Instead of scrolling through status updates, go outside for a short walk in the sun or meet a friend for coffee. Instead of pulling away from your significant other or avoiding a planned get-together, push yourself to interact with your loved ones. Your spirits will instantly lift and your connections will deepen.
Dealing with depression can make everything in life seem more difficult. However, by incorporating the above tips, you can take strides toward feeling better and achieving the well-being we all need to thrive.
Depression is serious. With all the resources out there, just knowing where to start can be overwhelming. If you’re thinking about ending your life, call one of the suicide hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (866-205-9848) and 800-273-TALK (877-657-2224). If you have a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.
Conquer the negative beliefs holding you back from happiness.