Do you ever feel blue for no apparent reason? Are you low on energy and motivation? If you are feeling this way for more than a couple of days, you may be experiencing depression. Anyone that has gone through depression knows that overcoming it isn’t quick and easy. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. In my personal experience the key to beating depression is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself.
In order to get out of depression you need to take action and that’s not easy to do when you are blue. In fact sometimes just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting! So basically the things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do but not impossible.
When you are depressed you don’t have much energy, but you can do small things like picking up the phone to call a loved one. This may seem like a small step, but it will quickly add up. Here are some other ways that can help you get out of a slump.
- Cultivate emotionally close relationships
- Schedule a weekly dinner, or coffee date
- Volunteer at an organization that works for a cause that is important to you
- Exercise, it’s a powerful tool for dealing with depression
- Change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts
Changing your negative thoughts to positive thoughts is one of the most important things you can do. We believe whatever we tell ourselves. So if you are living your life according to a set of beliefs you’ve held for most of your life, you take those beliefs as the gospel truth. The truth is that the lens through which you are seeing the world may be distorted.
What we think shapes our lives. So if you are constantly self criticizing, you need to stop. So many of us think pessimistically without even realizing it. It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts. One of the best ways to do that is to journal daily. This is something I was asked to do by my spiritual mentor and friend, Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed, the author of “The Quran and the Life of Excellence”. It’s an amazing book and I recommend it to everyone, no matter what religion you practice.
Dr. Abdulhameed asked me to sit in a quiet place and write down whatever enters my mind every day for 20 minutes. It’s called free writing. Wait a couple of weeks before you look at what you have written. Then read though your journal and you will find a pattern of negative thoughts. Once you know what you are thinking, then you need to switch that thought with a positive one.
I’ve been doing this for some time now. It helps give insight to what I am focusing on subconsciously. Some other things that help are the following.
- Allow yourself to be less than perfect
- Socialize with positive people
- Stop looking at things in black or white. There is a middle ground
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Eat healthy
- Expose yourself to sunlight every day
- Practice meditation
- Pick up a hobby that you enjoy
If you find that your depression is getting worse then you need to seek professional help. It doesn’t mean that you are weak, just that you need help to get better. Depression can be treated but you have to take steps to help yourself. It doesn’t go away by itself.