I have literally been battling depression for the last 36 years and I am only 43. I have had ups and downs and days where I certainly did not want to live anymore.
I experienced severe bullying and parental neglect. I felt lost and hopeless hundreds of times, but I pulled through and I am so glad to be here to share some of the things that made a positive difference for me.
I didn’t always do all of the things I share in this article, but I have added more strategies to my repertoire over recent years.
Although my depression still creeps in every now and then, I have learned how to fight it and I am getting stronger every day.
Below are eight ways that I fight my depression every day.
1. Concentrate on the present moment.
One thing I have learned is that if I dwell on the past or worry about the future, I can easily fall into a depressed-like state.
When I catch myself slipping, I make sure to pay close attention to the present.
What do I smell right now? What do I hear? What is around me that I can be thankful for? What do I see that looks beautiful?
Research indicates that paying attention to the present moment by being mindful and aware of what is around you, is as effective of a treatment for depression as medication is.
2. I remind myself how short life is in the grand scheme of things and why it is important to make the best of it.
Human life started thousands of years ago. I am only here for a short time. Even if I live to be 100 years old, my life is a blink, a flash, a snapshot in a timeline that goes on and on.
I might as well spend that time in a good mood.
Why do I want to take my only shot at life (at least the only shot that I am aware of) and spend it in misery? Even if a lot of things suck, a lot of things are good and I might as well enjoy them in my very short time here.
I always remind myself that I don’t want to spend my one chance at life feeling sad. I want to soak up all it has to offer so when I go out, I don’t regret the way I lived.
3. Help others.
Ever since I was 12 years old, I have worked or volunteered to help others.
Populations I have volunteered with include: kids, the elderly, and people with disabilities. When you help others, you can’t help but feel that you are accomplishing something worthy.
You feel proud of yourself, which is a good way to combat feeling down.
There is no better feeling than the gratitude from your clients and families, and the true reward that comes from making a difference in someone’s life. It definitely gave my life a sense of purpose.
Research supports the notion that people with a tendency toward depression can help themselves by helping others or otherwise introducing positivity into their day-to-day lives.
4. Stay away from cigarettes.
I smoked a pack a day for over 20 years. I quit cold turkey when I found out I was pregnant with my son.
Three weeks after I quit I noticed a huge improvement in my mood. I truly believe quitting helped.
While staying away from cigarettes is a daily struggle, I believe it has been a huge factor in my progress. Smoke-free for nine years now.
5. Drop and give me 20.
I have read a lot about the benefits of exercise when it comes to combating depression.
For me, this has been really difficult. I just feel so unmotivated when it comes to exercise, but I wanted to try something.
I found a way to exercise in really small doses so it is not overwhelming. For example, I will randomly drop and do push-ups (5, 10, 20 or however many I can manage). Other ways I exercise in small doses include dancing or stretching to a Youtube video, running around the block, or running up and down the stairs three times in a row.
It may sound silly, but when you pick several, quick exercises a day, it adds up, leading to a more toned body and an overall feeling of stress reduction.
Also, each time I complete a short exercise session, I can’t help but feel proud of my accomplishments.
You May Also Like These Stress Reduction Techniques by BetterHelp.
6. Notice what makes you a good person.
I am very empathetic towards others, I am a good listener, I like to share and I am someone you can call when you are in trouble.
It is hard to be down on myself or feel bad about my life, when I know I encompass all of these traits, even if others don’t seem to notice.
What are your strengths? What makes you such a good person that it is hard to be down about the negative stuff?
Look at the list below. I am sure you can find at least five things that show you how great you are.
7. Listen to music and sing along.
I think this was one of the very first things to save me.
No matter how down I am feeling, turning on a song I can relate to and belting it out, or whistling along has pulled me out of many dark holes.
8. Do something you like or something that makes you smile.
Sometimes watching a show or comedy clip that brings me laughs can help pull me out of a dark mood. Can you think of something you like to watch that brings you smiles?
If watching something is not your thing, do something else you love to bring you to your happy place -bake, dance, sew, play an instrument, paint, write poetry, etc.
If you feel like you don’t enjoy anything, push yourself to do something you once enjoyed, even if it is just for a few minutes. This can help you get back in the swing of things.
8 Ways to Battle Depression
- Concentrate on the present moment
- Remember that life is short and you want to spend it happy
- Help others
- Don’t smoke cigarettes
- Notice your strengths (what makes you a good person)
- Listen to music (sing or whistle along)
- Do something you enjoy
Meditation has also shown to make a positive impact on depression, and I have recently started incorporating this into my weekly routine.
Personally, I have found meditation helpful for me and my depression. I would like to start meditating daily so that is a personal goal for me.
Here is a guided meditation video to help with depression:
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Education and Behavior – Keeping Adults on the Same Page for Kids
Rachel Wise is the author and founder of Education and Behavior. Rachel created Education and Behavior in 2014 for adults to have an easy way to access research-based information to support children in the areas of learning, behavior, and social-emotional development. As a survivor of abuse, neglect, and bullying, Rachel slipped through the cracks of her school and community. Education and Behavior hopes to play a role in preventing that from happening to other children. Rachel is also the author of Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.
“Children do best when there is consistency within and across settings (i.e., home, school, community). Education and Behavior allows us to maintain that consistency.”