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How To Stop Being Depressed

Updated on October 19, 2011

How To Stop Being Depressed

This article is primarily aimed at those of us who know the nature of the anchors that keep us from finding the surface. Not all depressions stem from worry, and not all depressions are inherently damaging. If you are certain that you can rule out any chemical and clinical depressions such as dysthymia, which will require more than just a shift in mindset (a trained professional will be of great use), then this article is aimed at you!

Our objective: To relativize our concerns and turn needless and counterproductive traits such as low self-esteem, self-pity and lack of motivation on their heads, and to build a solid platform from which we can construct a more productive, happier you two-point-zero.

Symptoms Of Depression

  • Irregular sleeping patterns (too much, too little, can switch at random).
  • Substance abuse.
  • Inability to motivate yourself.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Rapid weight gain/loss.
  • Having a short temper, inability cope with additional stress and responsibility.
  • Rashes, acid reflux (chest pains can be confused with heart problems).
  • Panic attacks.
  • Lunacy (wild mood swings which can vary from depression to elation).
  • More...

1. Being Realistic

Most traumatic experiences will begin and end with a modicum of denial (as demonstrated by the K├╝bler-Ross model). Our first step is to back a step back and asses our issues objectively by realizing that we are depressed and stop acting like we aren't. Everyone in the world will connect with the concept of doom and gloom that depression brings about, and will, at least superficially, respect your cry of distress (and if they don't, take them out of the picture).

No matter how small, or seemingly "silly" our reactions and actions are, we need to purge the feelings of guilt that give rise to a wavering sense of self-worth. Depression is a vicious cycle, and building self-esteem (more on this in a little bit) is a surefire way to minimalize it's detrimental impact on our thoughts and life.

Realize that trauma and depression will chemically and functionally alter the way you think, accept this at face value and do not judge yourself too harshly during periods of irrationality. Try the following exercises in order to draw a contour around the depression and gain a measure of control:

  • Write freely for 10 minutes jotting down anything that comes to mind, without editing. Afterwards look for patterns of negative thoughts and negative assertions. Realize that self-talk can be corrected and will help you shape your thoughts in a positive way. Turn negatives to positives and read it again.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what other people would see. It can be heartening to realize that the turbulence and trauma you feel are shared and masked by others too. Look at yourself as if you were someone else. Look at yourself in the eyes and see where your thoughts take you. Be aloof from criticism!
  • Assess the root causes of your depression realistically. For instance, if triggered by a bad break up, know that you were happy before and will be happy again. Accept that it will take time and that it is now raining (in the words of the beloved Stephen Fry, be sure to watch the video below!).
  • Go outdoors and try your best to look radiant and approachable, happy and at peace. Notice how people treat you. Now do the opposite and take note how people shun you. In order to assuage your sense of self-esteem, know that how people perceive you is largely down to body language.

A Must Watch

2. Improve Self Esteem

Perhaps the single greatest challenge in how to stop being depressed will be to love ourselves once more. It may sound capricious and superfluous when confronted by severe problems in life, but the simple act of smiling can, while not make problems disappear, certainly make them less traumatic and more easily dealt with.

  • Fake it till you make it. The simple act of faking a smile will set in motion an entire chain of chemical processes which, lo and behold, are identical to an authentic sense of happiness.
  • Put yourself first. Do things for yourself! Loving oneself is imperative, and you may have forgotten how important you are.
  • Remind yourself constantly that happiness and completion only require you. You are only ever a decision away from smiling.
  • Be active and unapologetic in purging all that drains you from your life. People, things, habits and routines. Ignore and subdue feelings of guilt -- you are entitled to live life according to your own terms.
  • Tap into, or create new social networks. Talk yourself out with your family. While the thought of baring all to people may seem intimidating, remember that even the happiest person can relate to a downer (happiness is only happiness when related to pain, a happy person will have known suffering).
  • Forgive but don't forget. You have the ability to be whoever you want to be, and a depression is a fantastic way to begin anew (I will even offer that it is occasionally needed). Turn a one-way street into an opportunity.

Finally, accompany all introspective activities with getting out and about and tickling your senses (get a coffee in the sun) and appeasing your body. Engage in new hobbies, improve your fitness and health and rediscover childlike wonder over the simple things that surround you.

Life - Back In Your Hands

Most people who suffer from depression claim that they feel as if they were being whipped too and fro by problems in life, feeling helpless and cast into the wind.

Realize that by setting small, achievable objectives and doing them, you are taking power and your life back into your own hands. If you are depressed about your inability to lose weight, for instance, set small benchmarks rather than large ones.

Live life according to your set of rules and let nobody dictate how you feel and act. You have far more power than you think. Another example would be that of someone who was recently dumped who is anxiously waiting for that phone-call from their ex. Realize that you have the power to distance yourself from this, and get on with your life. Sometimes the single act of doing something because you can, is enough to shake yourself from your reverie.

The Fight Or Flight Response

Lastly, the most common reason that people bolt to the emergency ward is because they feel that their panic is something far more severe. Panic attacks can feel eerily like heart attacks, but they aren't. These mechanisms stem from our ancestral past, where the body actually tried to help by stimulating our bodies to fight threats (say, a tiger). The heart beats faster to provide more oxygen to the muscles, your eyes dilate to see better in the dark, your bladder empties in anticipation of a fight e.t.c.

The problem is that our bodies are wired to fight physical threats, and have evolved poorly to deal with today's intangible problems. But because a threat is detected, our bodies still react the way they did tens of thousands of years ago. Be assured that you run no risk at all, and that au contraire, it is a sign of a healthy human being! Sometimes just knowing how panic attacks work can rid you of them!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for your gracious response/s, thoogun.

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James Nelmondo 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Writeronline, thank you for your very thoughtful and heartfelt comment. As you say, the term depression is a general term that encompasses depths of "clinical depression" which have little to do with how we choose to view the world and are interlinked with physiological and chemical components. I cannot possibly address these issues, and frankly -- wouldn't know where to start.

      Thank you so much!

      P-S: Yes, the category is misleading, I should fix that.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting Hub, although I don't know why it's in the Clinical Depression category, since, as you point out, the (helpful) advice you offer, is of limited value to people genuinely afflicted with, and in the depths of, endogenous depression.

      I'm not surprised, but just as disappointed as I always am, to read dismissive patronising remarks, like this from one of your commenters:

      "People at some point have got to take responsibility for their own happiness. The ONLY person that can make you happy or unhappy is you. It's all about how you react. You have to build your own life.

      This is spot on: "Live life according to your set of rules and let nobody dictate how you feel and act."

      I hope this opens the eyes of those who keep looking for a solution in a bottle to their worries".

      That's about as insensitive and offensive a comment as I've seen. Clearly whichever part of this individual rules his life, it's a long way from his heart, or humanity, (though I feel that's probably a distant concept - perhaps if life touches his simple sunny world at some point in the future, he'll have cause to reflect.)

      There are a number of Hubs that would help people to see the degree of difficulty experienced by those who suffer from this illness, which is anything BUT an 'elective ailment'.

      Would that people took the time to read, and open their eyes, before opening their mouths and parroting simplistic mantras that are of no value, and worse, potentially harmful to people already struggling with self-esteem.

      I have no desire to promote myself, but as an example I recently wrote a Hub about suicide prevention, which has attracted a significant number of heartfelt comments and personal stories from longterm depression sufferers.

      It's called "Are You OK?.....". I recommend it to your commenter, (if he should drop by sometime to admire the eloquence of his dismissal of the disease) because of what he could learn from the comments and stories.

      Of course, just as with the potential harm that can come from the patronising lecturing of people such as your commenter, it's not a question you should ask, if you really don't want to know.

      The subject is way too important for that. In fact, one of the few things we talk about, that literally *is* life and death.

      Sorry to intrude into your hub.

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James Nelmondo 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      No. Thank you Dexter!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      7 years ago from United States

      Great advice. Thank you!

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James Nelmondo 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Excellent point Laura!

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      7 years ago from Aurora

      I found that depression sets in only when I am not busy and productive in some way. I on one occasion (divorce) been denied all my personal property after supporting a bum of a husband for over 5 years, including property which I used to work.

    • FGual profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Great Hub. Writing your thoughts into a daily journal is a great idea. Just making notes of what you did today clears the mind, and gives a feeling of progress.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      A great article for people who suffer the milder forms of depression and for those who are just not sure what it is they are feeling. Good that you pointed out some forms of depression need more intervention but these tips are great for others who just need a boost in self esteem.

      Depression is an illness that shouldn't be taken lightly so anyone suffering long term effects needs to seek medical help.

      Thanks Thoogun, I too have written on this topic.

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James Nelmondo 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thank you all for your feedback! (as always!)

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 

      7 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      I thought this overview of depression was excellently worded and constructed. The clarity in this Hub should be extremely useful for anyone plagued by the dark side. Good you mentioned that some depression needs a bit more than self help. I rate this "Vote Up" and "Useful". Good stuff!

    • shivnandan profile image

      Shiv Nandan 

      7 years ago from Ghaziabad

      Good advice and really useful..

    • MikeNV profile image


      7 years ago from Henderson, NV

      Hey this is a nice read. Especially nice to read an article about depression that is not just trying to look for a solution in a pill.

      People at some point have got to take responsibility for their own happiness. The ONLY person that can make you happy or unhappy is you. It's all about how you react. You have to build your own life.

      This is spot on: "Live life according to your set of rules and let nobody dictate how you feel and act."

      I hope this opens the eyes of those who keep looking for a solution in a bottle to their worries.

      Voting up!


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