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How to Manage Depression

Updated on December 22, 2012

Learn How to Manage Depression and Take Back Control of Your Life

Depression affects more people than some may realize, and it's not always easy to overcome it. There are treatments available in the form of medication or counseling, but not everybody is willing to try the conventional methods, or maybe they can't afford it.

If you suffer from depression and are not undergoing any treatment, it's not the end of the world. You don't have to live with your depression, and there are ways to beat it. Nobody should be a slave to their illness, and you shouldn't let it control your life. It's time for YOU to control the depression. In this lens I will give some tips for managing depression that helped me, and I hope they can help you - or someone you know - as well. It is important to remember, however, that if your symptoms worsen or you experience feelings of wanting to harm yourself or somebody else, to seek help from a professional.

Image used under the Creative Commons license via Sander van der Wel on Flickr.

Tips for Managing Depression

  1. Make a playlist of happy songs

    This is something my tutor told me to do, and within a week or so I found that I was feeling much happier in myself each morning. She told me to make a playlist of 10 songs that make me happy. Try it. Each morning when you wake up, switch on the playlist and make it a part of your daily routine. Leave it playing while you shower, brush your teeth, eat your breakfast, get dressed, or whatever else you do in the morning. Within a few days it will be like second nature. Music is a very powerful tool and a great way to evoke emotion. By listening to those 10 songs that make you feel happy each morning, you'll be lifting your mood from the moment you wake up.

  2. Keep a journal

    One of the things I found while trying to cope with my depression was that I didn't have an outlet. A journal is a great way of getting your feelings out without fear of being judged. Nobody has to see it. It can be a diary, or a private online journal, just as long as you have a place to put down how you are feeling. Note the good feelings and the bad. It's a good idea to write in it as you wake up, and before you go to bed. Make note of any changes in your mood and anything that made you feel happy or sad. Expressing your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up helps a lot more than people realize. Even if nobody really is listening and it's for your eyes only, it's great to get it out of your system.

  3. Make a "To-Do" list

    Stress can be a major factor in depression, and a "To-Do" list can help to relieve some of that stress. If you write down each day what you have to do and prioritize your work-load, it can take a lot of weight off of your shoulders. Eliminating stress from your life is a positive step in managing depression. Writing on a memo board and placing it somewhere where you can see it is a good way to keep a "To-Do" list. Make sure you write at least one fun activity on there each day, even if it's just listening to music for an hour, reading a book or surfing the Internet... Whatever you do for fun or to relax and unwind. Set some time aside from the stressful activities to reward yourself a little. Cross off each activity as it's completed to help keep on top of things.

  4. Make note of some inspirational quotes

    This is something I took upon myself to do just last week. I figured that if I had some positive, motivational and inspiring messages to read over, that it would make me feel more positive... and it did. The quotes can be about anything, and by anyone. Find things that someone you look up to has said that you can apply to your life, write it down and stick it up somewhere where you can see it. Mine are in the inside of my notebook. Some of the quotes I wrote down were: "Surround yourself with good-hearted people. Remember, your life is too short and valuable to waste on negative people that spend their lives trying to drag others down to make themselves feel relevant," and "Make a conscious effort to constantly remind yourself that YOU control your subconscious mind. Only then will YOU control your destiny." Both quotes are from a musician that I admire named Dj Ashba, and whenever I'm feeling down, I read over them and remember what I'm living for. To live my life the way I want to, and accomplish all of my dreams. Those quotes, along with the four others I wrote down, inspire me to never give up.

  5. Eat healthily and be well rested

    Maintaining a well balanced diet is essential to keeping a healthy body and mind. Your diet, whether you know it or not, can affect your mood. A poor diet is often cause for a low-mood and can lead to depression. Make sure you're eating healthily, and you're one step closer to helping yourself overcome depression, and prevent it from bringing you down again.

    The same can be said for sleeping. I think lack of sleep had a major impact on me and was one of the leading causes of my depression. I often go a day or two without sleeping, and it doesn't take a doctor to know that not sleeping isn't healthy for the mind or the body. It is recommended to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, but many people are only getting 5 or 6. Keeping your body and brain well rested is another way to help your mood and keep the depression away.

  6. Think positively

    When you're suffering from depression it can be difficult to see the positive in life, and much attention is paid to the negatives. By trying to channel your negative thoughts into positive, and surrounding yourself with positive influences on your life, you will find that managing depression becomes easier, and in time you will beat it. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your life, or things that went wrong, focus on the GOOD things or try to figure out how the things that went wrong can go right next time.

Wreck this Journal

Keeping a journal isn't the easiest thing for everyone. Some people just aren't inspired to write about their day, or don't know how to express themselves through words. "Wreck This Journal" from Keri Smith takes a unique approach to keeping a journal, and prompts the writer with often reckless activities. One day you may be told to stand on the journal, drop it from a height or poke holes in the page with a pencil. Other prompts will inspire you to be more creative by tracing your hand or creating a non-stop line. Either way, this journal is something different and a great way to distract yourself and have fun while keeping a journal in an unconventional fashion.

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Depression Links

Here are some links to other articles containing advice on how to beat and overcome depression.

Depression is more common than people realize, and can be brought on by a number of things. Do you, or have you ever suffered from depression? Do you have any tips to share for overcoming it?

Do YOU suffer?

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    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 4 years ago from US/TN

      Yes, I suffer with depression. I'm on medication but sometimes the depression still gets out of control. Getting out of the house helps somewhat. Watching a good movie sometimes helps too.

    • EmeraldWillow LM profile image

      EmeraldWillow LM 4 years ago

      fantastic work! I as well just wrote something along that line. Keep reaching there is always someone that needs to hear what you have to say

      Blessings

      Willow

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 4 years ago

      Great lens ! Useful and informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • drupalsharma lm profile image

      drupalsharma lm 4 years ago

      All points are good, i've personally tried point number 6 many times and it helps much. There is always some thing positive in life.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 4 years ago

      @lkamom: Definitely. The tips I mentioned may help for mild depression, but for severe, clinical depression it's definitely best to seek professional help.

    • lkamom profile image

      Heather McGlaughlin 4 years ago from Marryland

      Talking to good friends is always helpful. But if you get too bad seek a professional.

    • konacoffeeaddicts profile image

      konacoffeeaddicts 4 years ago

      I suffered from a bit of depression in university. I've found regular exercise and keeping a tight social support network improved my life tremendously since then.