Things to stave off depression in a pinch:
These are a few (non-medical) suggestions that I’ve found help pull me out of negative, depressed states.
- First and foremost, just get up. Walk around the house. Start exercising vigorously if possible. I’ve found that exercise/movement is the best strategy to get out of the cycle of depression and anxiety. In my interactions with people, I’ve found those who spend more time sitting each day are more likely to be depressed than those who spend less time sitting.
- Write, write, write. Write down all of your painful thoughts and purge out the depression like a juicer squeezes out the juice from a fleshy fruit.
- Do not eat. And, most certainly refrain from eating sugary foods. These clog up my brain and make me feel worse. I used to think this was some sort of pop-psychology crap that everyone repeats, “Avoid sweets if depressed”. This is actually true for me. If you eat less you will also feel better…freer. It’s weird, but it works. It’s liberating to feel like you’ve lost a pound or two.
- Avoid people. I used to say “Avoid mean people” or “Avoid critical people” or “Avoid other depressed people”. Now I just say “avoid people” (if possible). People often stir up more anger and depression because they inevitably say something that makes you “Overthink what they said or felt”. Think about it. Almost every time you’ve ever felt a twinge of anxiety or a negative state—you can trace it back to someone else—to what someone else said or did. Also, when depressed you will tend to interpret most of what other people say from a negative or condescending standpoint anyways. Your brain will make you think the worst about yourself. Close down comments. Don’t read things on social media. Get off facebook. Feel free and vent and express yourself online. Employ your freedom of speech but realize you can control your own platforms online as other people can express themselves online and control their own platforms too. You are not forced to go to their websites/social media pages and they are not forced to go to yours. If you’re not some big celebrity online and not asking for money—you do not owe anything to anyone. Period.
- Try to exercise your willpower. Strengthen your resolve for whatever tempts you. You may have a piece of cake in front of you and you’re hungry. The temptation will be to eat it so that your reward center is momentarily delighted. Exercise resistance and delay your desire for instant gratification. You will build up an internal feeling of strength that can grow with more attempts like these.
- Give to charity. Help someone else out. I volunteer.
- Get out into nature—surround yourself with the glories of the natural world.
- Focus on your family. These are the most important people in your life!