Depression is a major issue in the world today, with the World Health Organization estimating that at least 350 million people suffer depression worldwide.
Unlike a physical illness like a cold or a fever, depression can’t be cured through medication alone; it requires willpower and perseverance, something that we become stripped of when we become depressed.
We fall into a cycle of depression, anxiety, and fear of the depression coming back, and for many who suffer depression, this can last for years or even a lifetime. So how can you stop being depressed? Here are 5 everyday ways:
1) A Human Touch
It may not make much sense the first time you consider it, but one of the best ways to start climbing out of depression is through human touch. What does this mean? Just touch another person and let them touch you.
Touch is the first thing we experience when we come into this world. The touch of a mother, a family, a loved one, a friend; it is the feeling most associated with comfort and overcoming pain.
When we were kids and we needed to let out pain or sadness, the greatest comfort we could imagine was a tight squeeze or hug from a friend, family member, or even a kind stranger.
The touch of another person has a certain healing power that we often take for granted, but if you find yourself sad and depressed, it may be time to reach out. Literally.
2) Take Photos
Think about how you live your life, how you go about your typical day. Maybe you wake up, get ready for work, commute, sit at your office for several hours, then come back home and relax until you sleep.
Or maybe you might not be employed, and your day consists of nothing but sitting around the house.
When you live this kind of life, it’s easy to let days fade into one another, with nothing separating one day from another. And there’s nothing more depressing than knowing that weeks, months, and even years are passing by, hardly noticed.
So take photos. Whether it’s on your camera or your smartphone, take photos. Every time you go out and see something pretty, interesting, or unique, pull out your camera, find the best angle, and snap.
Taking pictures is an easy and rewarding way to create something and appreciate the world. When you find yourself trapped in a head full of depression, we need these baby steps to pick ourselves up again.
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
3) Enjoy Upbeat Music
Another sad day, and another sad playlist on Spotify, right? It feels so right to succumb to our sadness by filling our head with sad and slow music. But feeding your depression only encourages it, making it last longer and hit harder than before.
The goal should be to ward off your depression, not to make it feel at home. So what do you do when you don’t want something to feel at home? You change its environment. And for depression, this means changing the music you listen to.
Turn on the latest “happy” hits. Something fun and upbeat, something that makes you want to dance. You don’t have to turn your musical tastes upside down; just find something that motivates and inspires you. Sooner or later, with enough willpower, that happy music will become your entire reality.
Exercise is an amazing way to end depression, and there are two reasons why: mental and chemical. Firstly, who doesn’t like looking good?
You don’t have to be superficial and narcissistic to appreciate improvements in your body. Looking good, feeling stronger, and knowing that your body is becoming better all contribute to a brighter and happier outlook.
Secondly, the reason why medication often helps depression is because much of depression is related to the chemicals in our brain. Fighting depression is more than just fighting off the sadness and pain in your life; it’s also about ensuring that you have the right chemicals firing off in your head.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, triggering positivity and reducing one’s ability to feel pain.
5) Live Spontaneously
And finally, let’s talk about breaking your routines. As we said above, depression has this uncanny ability to make days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months.
You can go by years before noticing a difference in your life, and before you know it, a decade may have passed without you actually doing anything new.
So stop waiting. Stop letting depression steal your life away. Go outside and do something. What, exactly? Anything. Be spontaneous—buy tickets to another country, call a friend and ask them to go on an adventure, sign up to a new gym or pick up a new hobby. The point is that you do something, something that wasn’t planned or expected.
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