Whether it's the lack of mental energy and stamina, self-loathing, or sitting around the house vegetating, most depressed people find themselves falling into a hopeless rut. The good news is that with practice and discipline, depressive symptoms can often be diminished in just weeks by taking a few simple steps. By following these eight lifestyle adjustments, you can soon be on a path towards recovery:
Reclaim The 'Old You.'
When a person becomes depressed, they tend to fall into a new routine of thoughts and habits, different than during 'more joyful' times in their life. In order to exit your funk, this pattern of lifestyle and thoughts must be altered. Getting back to the 'old you' is difficult while in a state of depression, but it should be tried. Every attempt should be made to start enjoying and experiencing the life you once knew.
To better remind yourself of happier times, start making (and constantly updating) a list of things you once enjoyed doing and save them to a computer or handheld device. When practicing this exercise, many people are surprised how lengthy this list can become. Then print & post them somewhere that they'll be seen every day (for example, next to the refrigerator handle). Read this list each time you see it. By doing so, you are subconsciously invigorating your pattern of thinking. As often as you can, force yourself to take part in one of these activities, until everything on the list has been checked off. This exercise can help reclaim the 'old you.'
Take On New Challenges.
Breaking out of a rut means incorporating new thoughts, ideas, habits and ways into your life. Start listening to a new radio station, take on a new hobby, start going to a different supermarket etc... the possibilities are endless. 99% of the thoughts we have today, we will carry over into tomorrow. Why not replace the old, stale, negative and repetitious thoughts with new positive ones. Slowly, over the course of weeks and months, you'll naturally infiltrate your brain with healthy new thoughts and slowly rid yourself of the same old negative thought patterns.
Listen To A Life Coach.
Listen or watch recordings or shows from great life coaches such as Wayne Dyer, or Anthony Robbins. If you're willing to be a little more alternative, ayurvedic mind-body guru Deepak Chopra may work wonders for you. All of these professional speakers will help you find meaning in life, assist you to seek forgiveness in others, and help boost your self-worthiness. Dyer and Chopra can frequently be seen on PBS television shows teaching spirituality and life motivation. Anthony Robbins is seen less on public TV, but like Chopra and Dyer, has penned many books and videotaped many lectures. He also participates in many live lectures throughout North America.
It is natural for many depressed individuals to lay around and sulk all day. Staying busy is a great way to keep your mind occupied and away from negative self-absorbing thinking. Lying around feeling sorry for yourself will not solve anything.
Instead, go outside and do some simple yard work (weather permitting), start a garden, take walks around the block, start a diary -- whatever you can think of. At the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself and maybe start looking forward to what the next day brings, rather than loathing about yesterday's problems.
Stop Being So Self-absorbed.
Begin to focus your attention on other people. Self-loathing only helps to remind yourself of how miserable you are. By focusing more on others (or even your pet) you'll naturally feel more 'open' and not as 'closed in.' And best of all you'll naturally get more love in return (there literally is truth to the saying "if you give, you shall receive").
By keeping your depression a secret (or not wanting to talk about it), it not only hurts yourself but it's also not fair to loved ones or others in your life who may be confused by your behavior.
Talking about your feelings is extremely therapeutic and is also a good step towards recovery. In addition, you'll be surprised how understanding others are, and how willing they'll be to help you overcome depression. Another good way is to join a discussion group or other online forum where you can anonymously discuss depression with other sufferers.
Lift The Bodily Stagnation.
Get the blood flowing throughout your brain and body. Yes, I'm talking about the dreaded "e" word, exercise! Consider exercising on a regular basis (or at least 3 times per week, at least 15 minutes per session).
Exercise is well documented to decrease bodily stress as it helps the body produce natural chemicals which may promote overall well-being. In addition to creating pure adrenalin, exercising helps the body naturally create mood enhancing chemicals such as serotonin or norepinephrine.
Aerobic exercises such as jogging or brisk walks appear to work well, as do strenuous activities such as weight lifting. Studies show simple long walks may be nearly as effective. If you have joint pain, swimming has great physical (and mental) benefits. As always consult with your physician before beginning a serious exercise program.
Don't Be Afraid To Cry.
Many depressed people already cry a lot, but surprisingly some depressed patients get very stoic, impassive and unemotional. For these people, crying can be a great release emotionally and physically. Some people call the effect of crying as 'an orgasm of the emotions.'
But how does such a "stoic" person tap into his/her emotions? Confronting your thoughts "head-on" is one way -- impassive people frequently avoid delving too deep into their "issues." Instead many pretend these issues don't exist and then become cynical with thoughts such as "it just doesn't matter" or "it'll do no good, what's the point?"
Start writing your thoughts down on paper, one-by-one, as they enter your brain, or start a daily diary. Read and review these thoughts every day. By visually seeing what you wrote down, you may find clarity and solutions to your problems that you otherwise could not do.
Learn More About Depression.
Education is knowledge and knowing everything there is to know about depression is a great starting point. Do free research on the internet, visit a library or go buy a good book on depression. The more you know about depression, the more you may understand that having this condition is NOT a life sentence. Millions of people in America alone suffer from this disease right now, and many more millions have also completely cured themselves. You're not stuck with depression forever.
Other factors to consider include better, more regular and consistent diet and nutrition, and taking the proper herbal and vitamin supplements to combat depression. For long-term relief consider taking 1,000 to 3,000 mg. of the herb St. John's Wort (allow 4-8 weeks to see results). Taking 5-htp as needed can help lift your mood within minutes.
Defeating depression does not occur overnight. The causes for your depression may be deeply rooted within your soul. Using your willpower and all of the advice above (on a daily basis) can speed your healing process significantly.