25 Suggestions for Lifting Feelings of Depression
Depression is real, but I have found the following suggestions to be extremely helpful. I have incorporated all twenty-five of these suggestions into my own life and recommend them to all my friends. If you are suffering from major depression, it is important to have a complete physical exam and psychological evaluation. The use of psychiatric medication for a few months and professional counseling helped me immensely when I was once going through an acute depressive episode. The assistance of professional help can speed up the healing process as you change past behaviors and learn new coping strategies for dealing with the stresses and discouragement of daily life.
- Keep a simple structure and routine in your life.
- Sit down and eat three nutritious meals a day. If lacking energy or enthusiasm in between meals, eat a healthy snack. Avoid excessive sugar and caffeine, which are temporary stimulants that always bring you down.
- Drink a large glass of water before each meal, snack, or other times throughout the day, which will help you feel more energetic.
- Spend 30 – 60 minutes a day nourishing your spirit with scripture reading, meaningful prayer, journal writing, reading good books, and meditating about your life.
- Exercise for 30 - 60 minutes every day so you will feel physically fit and have natural endorphins to help you feel less depressed.
- Strengthen your body and nourish your spirit at the same time by listening to something spiritually uplifting on audio while you exercise.
- Spend time outdoors and get some fresh air and sunshine. Research shows that being outside in the morning helps to relieve depression.
- Be prepared and on time for all commitments.
- Get up when your alarm clock rings, and go to bed on time. Try to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. If you can’t sleep during the night, relax, read, or listen to spiritually uplifting quiet music.
- Train yourself to take a quick nap during the day when you are feeling fatigued. Don't use stimulants when your body feels tired. Listen to your body and let it get energized naturally with a little sleep.
- Keep your surroundings neat and orderly. Make your bed, clean up after yourself, and expect the same from your family.
- Live within your means and avoid debt. If you’re in debt, begin paying back your creditors on a regular basis.
- Look nice for yourself. Get dressed and well-groomed first thing in the morning—even if you’re not going anywhere. A daily shower or bath not only cleanses the body, but it also refreshes the spirit.
- Spend a little time developing your talents or hobbies each day.
- Put your family first in your life, and spend some meaningful time with them on a daily basis. Write, email, or call relatives who live away from home.
- Friendships are important. Look for those who are lonely and befriend them. Write, email, or call a sincere friend once a day. Remember “He is rich who hath two friends.” When considering your friends, remember that relatives count. Sometimes we find our best friends within our own families.
- Work hard at your chosen vocations, but don’t overwork. Whether you have a paid job or non-paid job, such as being a full-time homemaker, pace yourself. What doesn’t get done today can be finished tomorrow when you’re fresh.
- Write down your goals, set priorities, and do only the most important things. Don’t procrastinate, but do be flexible. You can achieve your goals slowly over time.
- Don’t avoid conflict—talk out problems as they arise so you don’t have to withdraw or become angry.
- Be of service as your time, energy, and money allows, but don’t overcommit yourself.
- Strive to keep all of God’s commandments and worship in your church every Sunday. Missing church, except when recovering from an illness, accident, or childbirth, leaves an empty void in the soul that can only be filled with consistent church attendance.
- Don’t expect perfection. Be forgiving towards yourself and others. Learn to love yourself for who you are. Be gentle, loving, and kind.
- Practice “Mirror Therapy” each day. Look in a mirror and say to yourself, “I am an amazing, unique child of God. I have many strengths and many weaknesses. With God’s help, I will turn my weaknesses into strengths until I become the person that both He and I know I can be.”
- Put a smile on your face and choose to be cheerful. “Pretending” to be happy sometimes works—and turns into the real thing—as you start experiencing real joy from time to time.
- Surround yourself with colors that you love. Find colors that make you feel happy and use these splashes of color to brighten up your home with simple furniture, pictures, throw pillows, curtains, etc. Wear clothing in your favorite colors so when you see your reflection in a window or mirror it will lift your spirits.
By putting all twenty-five of these suggestions into practice, feelings of depression will gradually fade away until you feel joy most of the time instead of just occasionally. If your depression keeps lingering, seek professional help. You also may benefit from my self-help 13 Choices Happy Life Program. I have been using this program for years, and it always helps me to rise above the depressive feelings that continually try to pull me down.