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Ways of Dealing with Depression

Updated on November 28, 2017
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Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the "Punksters" comic strip series.

Music is Just One Way I Deal With Depression

Throughout the years I have had periods where I was depressed. However, over time, I learned to deal with it in a number of ways. Eventually, the periods of depression were fewer and farther between and the period of time that I was depressed became increasingly shorter. So I feel that, in many ways, I am capable of offering sound advice to other people that may be having problems with depression, whether on either an occasional or continual basis.

Try to Be Thankful for What You Have

I have often noticed that one of the triggers for depression, for me, was thinking about my negative circumstances. I often overlooked the various good things that I had going for me. I neglected to count my various blessings. A lot of people neglect to count their blessings even when there is so much that they should be thankful for.

Instead of thinking about how much you hate your job, be thankful that you have one. Think of the better aspects of the job. Maybe you aren’t doing the kind of work you dreamed of doing when you were younger. Believe me, I can relate. Many of us have high hopes for ourselves when we are young and life does not always turn out as we had hoped that they would. But there are often ways of making the best of a situation.

Maybe you only have a few friends. Are they good friends? Appreciate the ones you have and maybe, from time to time, express your appreciation to them. This also may apply to your family members. Be thankful for the people that you do have in your life. Maybe you’re not as popular as you would like to be. All that is really important is that you have at least a few good, loyal and decent people in your life.

Try to Forget the Bad Things From Your Past

Some of us may have had a terrible childhood. We sometimes take the feelings of resentment with us throughout our entire lives. I have personally known people who would talk about the resentments they had from their childhood, who were well into their 50’s, 60’s and, in some cases, they held on to those resentments right up until the day they died. This is really no way to live. You know, forgiveness isn’t always for the sake of the person being forgiven. Sometimes it helps the person who is doing the forgiving more.

If you dwell on the negative memories of the past, there may often be a trigger in your current life that may bring back those old negative feelings you had in the past; basically regarding the terrible memories you keep holding on to. Then you allow yourself to be consumed by anger or other negative emotions.

Redirect Your Thoughts to Positive Things

Most of the times when I was depressed, I would basically be dwelling on all of the bad things going on in my life. I might have been thinking about the aggravating things going on at work or my personal life or both. I had to learn to redirect my thoughts to more positive things. That was probably the most important step I had taken. The longer you sit and think about all of the negative, depressing things, the harder it is to break the cycle.

Negativity is actually habit forming. Think about all of the people you have known in your life that you would consider to have been very negative. You probably got that impression from them as a result of them always talking negatively. Why did they do that all of the time? Well, it’s because it became a habit for them. It’s a habit that is sometimes very hard to break.

When you find yourself in a period of time where you are constantly thinking about or dwelling upon negative things, try to redirect your thoughts to something else. Redirect your thoughts to more positive things. Change the subject in your mind. Put a comedy in your DVD player. Do something that takes away those negative feelings.

There were times when I was feeling either angry or depressed and I picked up my guitar and started playing and singing. Before I knew it, I was already feeling better and more cheerful. Do that thing that makes you feel better when you have the chance. Everybody usually has something they do that often will change their mood for the better. With me, it is often music.

Stay Away from Drugs and Alcohol

In my younger days, I used to like to drink heavily on the weekends. It was, in part, my way of dealing with many of the resentments I had regarding my past and my childhood. But one day I realized that it was not helping me cope with those things. In fact, it was doing the opposite. It was preventing me from dealing with those things.

You see, I was using alcohol to numb myself. But it’s often like when you go to the dentist to have something painful done. They give you a shot to numb you and then do the work. But when the Novocaine wears off, you feel the pain. Just like when the alcohol wore off, I still felt the anger and resentment. So I eventually realized that the alcohol was no solution to my problems. I had to give it up for a while. It was while I was sober that I began to let go of my resentments and negative feelings regarding my past. Later on I was able to drink moderately and not for the purpose of drowning my sorrows.

I have also noticed that there are times when I felt tense and irritable after consuming too much caffeine. I would notice how, all of a sudden, I was thinking about things that were making me mad or depressed. I was wondering why and I remembered that I just finished my second large coffee of the morning. Once I realized that, I tried to calm myself down by redirecting my thoughts to more pleasant things. The substances we take into our bodies can have an effect on our mood.

Try to Help the Less Fortunate

One thing that can help us to get our minds off of our own troubles is to help other people with their problems. You could donate to a charity. Not just money but time. Maybe you don’t have the money to donate. So you go somewhere and donate your time.

Maybe you have a friend that’s feeling down. Be a source of encouragement for that person. Cheer them up. The feeling you get after helping someone else is often its own reward. It gives you more of a sense of purpose when you actually help others. Just remember that you can’t help anyone any more than they are willing to help themselves. And don’t beat yourself up by thinking you didn’t help someone as much as you should have. Just make an honest effort to help others and be satisfied with that. Don’t try to save the whole world. You are not Superman, you are just a mere mortal being.

Don’t Surround Yourself with Negative People

There was a time when I was surrounding myself with negative people. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to maintain a positive attitude yourself when everyone around you has a negative attitude. I did not consider myself a very positive person at the time but now that I look back, I was the most positive thinking person in the group.

There are a lot of people out there with no sense of purpose in life or no real goals. They merely exist and that’s kind of sad if you really think about it. If you have goals in your life, it’s hard for people like that to be a good influence on you, simply because they can’t relate very well to what you are trying to do, since they have no goals of their own. You certainly won’t get much encouragement from them. In fact, some may seek to discourage you because they may be jealous of you. They might even take steps to sabotage you.

When you notice that some of the people that you surround yourself with or associate with are more of a source of discouragement rather than a source of encouragement, you need to spend less time with them or separate yourself from them entirely. They are not a good influence on you and negativity rubs off.

Don’t Procrastinate

I have noticed throughout the years that one of the things that I would be depressed about was the lack of progress regarding certain things in my life. In many cases, there were a number of things I wanted to do but I didn’t get around to, due to procrastination. Once I started to do things that I had been putting off, I started to feel much better about things in my life, overall.

It’s good to have goals in life. They give us things to work towards and we get a good feeling from reaching those goals. The goals you set could pretty much be about anything. They could be personal goals, financial goals, educational goals and so on. I noticed that I really only started to make progress in my life when I began to set goals for myself. Goals can give us a sense of direction and/or purpose in life.

You must make sure that your goals are realistically attainable and measurable though. It’s best to set a series of short term goals that may work towards one large overall goal. The short term goals are easier to reach and upon reaching them, you get a sense that you are making progress. That feeling of making progress can do wonders for your overall outlook on life. It’s a great way of combating depression.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up Regarding Past Mistakes

Often, we can be our worst critics. Sometimes people can really be hard on themselves. This is especially true regarding mistakes we have made in the past. I’ve done my share of beating myself up over past mistakes. Sure, I’ve made some stupid mistakes but I can’t go back in time to undo them. All I can really do is try to learn from those mistakes and deal with the aftermath.

I have often thought about decisions I have made in the past. I think things like “I should not have done that.” but when I think back to that time, I think about the information I had that caused me to make that decision and the fact is that if I only had that information today, I would probably make the same choice. You can’t go back in time knowing what you know know and make a different choice. You didn’t know then what you know now. So you based your decision on the information you had. that’s part of life. I don’t know how many times I have heard people say “If I only knew then what I know now.” Hell, I’ve probably said it a thousand times myself.

The Grand Scheme of Things

In the overall grand scheme of things, our time on this planet is relatively short. So it might be a good idea to make the most of it while you are here. Wallowing in depression and self-pity would probably not be the best use of your short time in this world. So it would obviously be beneficial to you if you were to take steps to making sure that you don’t spend all of your time in a depressed state.

All of the methods of fighting depression that I have mentioned here in this article are not all that hard to do. Maybe they would be difficult I the beginning but they all get easier with practice. The hardest part is just breaking the cycle of depression. That’s what I have been able to do. Now I am not as depressed as often and the periods of times of depression are shorter.

My suggestions are, by no means, a substitute for medication and/or therapy that would normally be used for serious cases of depression. However, they may be helpful to people who do have a serious case of depression and are receiving treatment for it. Obviously there are levels of severity. But in most cases my suggestions should help.

© 2017 Bob Craypoe


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