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10 Ways to Overcome Depression and Sadness

Updated on August 28, 2012
krsharp05 profile image

Kristi graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Human Development and Developmental Psychopathology of Children.

Depression and Grief
Depression and Grief | Source

Taking Back Your Life

"You cannot assess the damage until the storm has passed." -Author

When life-changing events happen, it can be difficult to overcome the aftermath; the sadness and depression that remain. It can be debilitating to experience such events and depression can last for weeks, months or even years.

Where do you start when you want to get back on your feet? Here are ten ways to begin standing strong and taking control of your life after the storm passes.

Take Care of You

Eat healthy foods. Taking care of yourself is critical to being better. It's an easy way for you to jump start happiness. Junk food makes the body feel lethargic and caffeine makes for highs and lows. If you don't want to give up all of your comfort foods then start small and slowly build. Many grocery stores offer free dietitians or nutritionist consultants who will help you learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Getting enough sleep is also important so that you are well rested for your day. Exhaustion is fuel for the depression fire. Oppositely, if you spend the entire day in bed it can be a sign of depression.

Journal or Diary
Journal or Diary | Source

Write About Your Feelings

When emotions build up over time they can cause depression. Taking the time to write down how you feel is a great way to release your emotions. There are many ways to write about how you feel:

  1. Keep a journal.
  2. Write a letter.
  3. Write "feeling" words.
  4. Make a list about the good and bad things that happen during your day.
  5. Write down what makes you angry, crumple the paper and throw it away - vowing to be done with it once it is gone.
  6. Make a collage that describes what you feel.

Regardless of how you decide to turn loose of the words in your head, it's important to get them out.

Girl Crying
Girl Crying | Source

Be Social and Active

This might sound like a daunting task but it can be simple and painless. Physical activity can be very cathartic when you are feeling sad. Begin with something small:

  1. Walk to the mailbox and enjoy the sun, the breeze or the misty rain.
  2. Walk down the block and back.
  3. Go to the park and sit on a bench watching kiddos play.
  4. Drive to a lake and walk where you can see the water. Water often has a very calming effect on the mind.
  5. Fly a kite.
  6. Ride your bicycle.
  7. Sit on the patio or deck. (Write in your journal)

Being social is important when it comes to depression and sadness because simple conversation has two benefits. First, it may allow you to have a break from what is causing you stress. Having a close friend call or stop by and chat can take your mind off the problem that plagues you. Second, when someone is there to speak with you, it affords you the opportunity to vent and release emotions and to gain perspective about the event which is cause you to suffer.

Surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you will undoubtedly change the outcome of your recovery. There is always someone who cares and who will be supportive. Whether it's a family member, close friend, peer or special person in your life, don't shut people out. Withdrawing yourself will make it more difficult for you to rebound and feel better.

Releasing Balloons
Releasing Balloons | Source
Blowing Bubbles
Blowing Bubbles | Source

Have Some Fun

When depression hits, having fun is the last thing on your mind however, laughter can relax your soul. Get up, get out and do something that you enjoy. Engage yourself in something that makes you laugh and remember how contagious laughter is.

  1. Feed the ducks.
  2. Release balloons for no reason at all.
  3. Fly a kite.
  4. Skip, don't walk.
  5. Listen to a child's story.
  6. Play catch.
  7. Watch birds.
  8. Blow bubbles.
  9. Play hide and seek with a child.
  10. Draw a picture.
  11. Go to a pet store and play with a dog (or a snake if you prefer).
  12. Go fishing.
  13. Pick some flowers - put them in a vase where you can see them.
  14. Dance alone to your favorite music - or play air guitar if you cannot dance.
  15. Buy a fish.
  16. Bake cookies for someone else (sample one - just to be sure they're yummy).

Examples of Positives

  • Music
  • Books
  • Friends
  • Family (yes, I said it.)
  • Relationships
  • Artistic influences
  • Pets
  • Physical home atmosphere

Surround Yourself With Positives

Surrounding yourself with positives is important because it will give you a boost of support when you need it and provide happiness and laughter when you least expect it. If there is happiness and positivity in the atmosphere, your subsequent depression will gradually begin to breakdown and subside. If you are in a state of depression and surrounded by negative influences then it's likely that you will only sink deeper into sadness and despair.

Source

Lend Kindness To Your Inner Voice

When you are giving yourself a pep-talk, listen to the way you speak. Is it negative? Is it harsh? Are you feeling and expressing shame or guilt? If you are putting yourself through constant torture then it is less likely for your emotional well being to heal. In fact, punishing yourself will most likely send you into a deeper state of despondency.

Let go of the past. You cannot change what happened to arrive at this moment but you can control every choice you make from this moment on. Don't spend another single second punishing yourself. Crumple that paper up, throw it away and be finished with it.

Make Plans, Set Goals and Prepare For The Future

Make a list of things you want to do immediately, soon and in the future, then begin planning on how you will arrive at each of those goals. Planning for the future is exciting and brings hope. Take life one day at a time and if you have a setback, don't punish yourself, simply start again. If you have a major setback, reach out for your support system and ask for help but don't put yourself through a mental incarceration.

As you reach each of your goals, congratulate yourself and celebrate your success. Feel good about the distance you've come.

Have you ever suffered with depression?

See results

Working Toward Inner Peace

There are many ways you can better your life. Small enhancements can make big differences.

  • Pace yourself - don't rush your recovery.
  • Don't run away - trust the recovery process and allow your loved ones to help.
  • Protect your physical health - do things to make yourself feel good every day.
  • Refuse to live with regrets - let go of the things you cannot change.
  • Avoid major changes - they can be detrimental to progress.
  • Feel positive emotions.
  • Speak positive words and think positive thoughts.

Cultivate Your Faith

Faith provides hope. In times of heartache, faith can lift a person out of frustration and despair, it can give new meaning to existence and it can provide perspective about the past. Don't try to analyze everything that has happened. Leave it to your higher power and let the healing begin.

Have a Check-up

Make sure that there aren't any medical conditions contributing to the blues. There are many physical issues that can exacerbate depression symptoms such as thyroid problems, hypoglycemia, an amino imbalance, an endocrine imbalance, various viruses, cardiac conditions or seizure disorders. Give your doctor a call to make sure.

If your depression persists over time, it might be necessary to consider counseling from a psychologist, pastor or psychiatrist. Your doctor might also suggest medication. These types of help don't make you inferior or weak, but they do give you an opportunity to breathe and gain perspective. They are a sign of strength and tenacity so don't be afraid to ask for professional medical help.

Happiness at Last
Happiness at Last | Source

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    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      omer, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I sincerely appreciate the blessing you have so graciously sent. I extend the same graces and wish you the very best. Blessed Be, Kristi

    • profile image

      omer 3 years ago

      great information ,may god reward you with happiness ,health and wealth ,thanking you

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      FullOfLoveSites, Thank you for reading and for commenting. It's wonderful that you have such a healthy perspective on your situation. It sounds like you are making progress and moving forward which is always the best scenario. I wish you continued happiness and enduring peace. Best always -K

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

      Depression is a very, very hard thing to overcome, and it can be potentially dangerous if you don't have that resolve to overcome it. I've been there, and I was indulging myself in deep sadness and frustration. It was really really difficult and I didn't know if there was any hope for me. Fortunately I had the will power to over come it. It's not easy, but I would say that I'm progressing and continuing to do so. I appreciate your suggestions you have written here. Thanks :)

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 4 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      tamara, That's a great idea. Writing for purposes of meditation and mental health can be very rewarding. Thank you for the idea. -K

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      One piece of advice I've heard is create a gratitude journal, listing three good things you've seen, heard, done or things you appreciate.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Johnjfernando, Thank you for the extraordinary comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read and leave me such feedback.

      It's my hope that this hub will serve people who need a lift or need the reassurance that they can make it in the struggle of depression. It's a fight every day, some days worse than others - as you know. I feel very fortunate to be the survivor that I am and feel that it's necessary to spread the good fortune of living every day.

      Thank you for voting. I'm so pleased that you are doing well and wish you continued success and happiness. -Kristi

    • Johnjfernando profile image

      jkchandra 5 years ago

      This is well done. You nailed it on the head and I can't tell how pleased I am to see that you're helping others who really are going through tough times and can read up on this and out from under there shells. I also know what it was like to be depressed and it was hard to just come back and breathe because I went through so much like isolation from everyone and everything around me, feeling sad, empty and hopeless, feeling a sense of guilt and unrest. I hope many of us that are commenting here will share this around. This hub in particular serves a measure significance to helping and being the voice that can break into the minds of the ones who feel like no voice can help them. Definitely VOTED UP!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      carrie, Depression is a very difficult topic and often taboo. It the type of illness that people will stop and stare at like a car accident or a train wreck, to see how you are handling it. I agree that you have to take control of your own destiny. Thank you for the excellent comment and for taking time to read. Best wishes to you. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      dobo700, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Denise, Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate your comment and votes. I'm glad you've found success with techniques. Recovery is a process that takes a lot of work. I look forward to reading your hub and linking it here as well. -K

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Depression : it is really a tough topic but for me it is easy to explain as my friend i have been pass through a long lasting depression....it is really very hard to cop up with such situation of depression......

      Friends even our loved ones cann't help in that situation....only a person himself have to come out of that situation..........and should believe in that supreme power who is there with you if no one is with you

      Good luck

    • dobo700 profile image

      dobo700 5 years ago from Australia

      Some really great advice here, thanks

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great suggestions here. I've been there and have used these therapeutic tips. Rated up/U/I and will share. Thanks.

      I recently wrote a hub about the same subject and will link yours to that one.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      watergeek, Thank you for thinking of me. It means so much to me that you care. You're exactly right, it's the moments that I don't expect that usually hit me then I'm in tears and - right back at the beginning. I'll get through this, I have a wonderful support group - this team is so great :) I think it's going to work out fine. I am so happy to still be a part of this team. Everyone has done a lot for me and I must thank you all. -K If I can do anything to help out let me know. Please. -K

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      It's awesome that you can write such an insightful, poignant article so soon afterward, Kristi. I did many of these things with my brother and both parents, and everything you say hits home. Feeding ducks worked to give me that necessary kickstart.

      An added note: You can expect that small events during the next year or so will unexpectedly revive the sadness, but they also provide a catharsis if you let them. Not long after my dad died, I watched a man dealing with his dad in a restaurant. The dad headed for the door, while the son headed for the cash register, and the dad was suddenly lost. His son noticed right away, left the register to go catch his dad by the arm and take him back with him, and I turned my face to the wall so they wouldn't see me crying. I'm so glad you're still with us, Kristi.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      DDE, Nice to hear from you again. I believe that taking care of yourself is probably the most important of all. Thank you for reading and commenting. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Spartucus, It seems that every person struggles, each in their own way. I hope that I can benefit someone, however small that benefit is. I just hope to make life a little bit easier :) -K

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Taking care of you is very important when depressed and sad, you have said it all

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      You have a real gift for writing insightful and timely hubs which show a real understanding of real life issues that people go through. Your compassion and understanding shine through, and your writing could potentially help a lot of people. I know I have dealt with anger and depression issues in the past and have had family members and close friends who struggle with clinical depression. I can definitely relate. Thanks for the hub!

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      You're welcome. Peace and healing to you :)

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Meloncauli, thank you so much. This article was my "breaking out" article in many ways. My own mantra and reminder not to allow myself to let the sadness takeover. Having such a support group (my team) has been great for me and it's meant a lot. It's really touched my heart. Thank you for reading, sharing and for being supportive :) -K

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      Great advice here. I always think someone who is depressed needs one thing, just one thing at least that they can work towards...a goal. Just managing to do the housework is hard when very depressed or go to the shop. Start low, aiming higher, to just achieve one thing a day and then recognise that you accomplished that thing can bring a little "feel good factor". Shared this article!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Thanks Om, That one can be the most difficult of all. I appreciate you reading and being here. -K

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Wonderful advice. I like that you pointed out how important it is to be kind to ourselves, and not to allow guilt or self-hatred to eat us up inside. :)

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      teaches, Thank you for the great comment. I agree that it is largely misunderstood, especially the deepest and darkest stages of depression. It's easy to give suggestions to someone when you've never walked in their shoes. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. -K

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You have posted some really good advice for those who suffer from depression. I don't believe people understand those who suffer from it. The tendency is to just tell the sufferer to shake it off. Good suggestions towards working on inner peace.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      mismazda, Great comment. I really like how you describe it as a "silent killer". Depression can destroy your life if you allow it to - that is for sure. Thank you for taking the time to read, comment and vote. -K

    • mismazda profile image

      mismazda 5 years ago from a southern georgia peach

      Depression is a terrible thing to experience..and it is a silent killer...if you know that you are heading in that direction it is best to do something to help you to spring back...GOOD hub and great tips. Voted up.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      lindacee, thank you for reading and voting. I agree with you. There isn't a "stock" answer for what causes depression or for the method of recovery. Thanks for the great comment. -K

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      K, helpful advice about investigating medical conditions that may be causing or exacerbating symptoms of depression.

      We all deal with depression and sadness at some point in our lives and the treatment is just as individualized as the person. Great Hub! Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Ruth, thank you. I absolutely agree. Although the first steps can be the hardest and sometimes people need a little nudge, even the smallest movement is still progress. Thank you for reading and commenting. -K

    • profile image

      Ruth Pieterse 5 years ago

      Good hub. You have to move forward no matter what.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Thank you Glimmer!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Good tips.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      I would say try starting with just one thing that appeals to you. Start there and work your way up. Thank you for reading. Good luck. - K

    • Alaxia profile image

      Cara Alex 5 years ago from Somewhere in the United Kingdom

      But what if you don't want to do numbers 1 to 16 because you are so depressed?