6 things to do when you’re feeling depressed

Fighting depression is a tough journey, one that often feels impossible to take.

But with proactive mental exercises you can do everyday, you inch closer to progress one step at a time.

Here are six positive thought exercises you can do alone or with other people to combat depression, anxiety, and stress:

1) Hating yourself is not the solution

Depression tricks our brain into hating ourselves. It sucks out self-confidence and creates a limitless pit of bad thoughts.

You start thinking that you don’t deserve any good in the world. You tell yourself the bad things happening to you are justified.

You become complacent with mediocrity and convince yourself that this is all you’re going to achieve.

The solution sounds naively simple, but sometimes the first step is really just blatantly obvious: love yourself.

Everyday, remind yourself what a great person you are. Remember one thing you like about yourself. Spend some time internalizing your success.

One day at a time, remember who you are what makes you happy to be you.

2) Progress is better than perfection

We spiral into depression because we’re too hard on ourselves. As human beings, it’s our natural instinct to hustle and want to thrive.

Afterall, success is admirable. But sometimes, we break our backs to achieve unrealistic expectations of success.

When we strive for perfection and fall short, we feel worthless and incapable.

Instead of reaching out to perfection, remind yourself to achieve things in milestones.

Just because you can’t go from 0 to a 100 doesn’t make you an incompetent person. A lot of successful people in the world slowly crawled their way to success.

If they can do it there’s no reason why you can’t too.

3) Remember that you do deserve love

It’s easy to let your anxiety eat you up. When we turn to friends and family for support, sometimes the love they give doesn’t feel enough for us or that they’re only doing kind gestures because they pity us.

We push them away and end up feeling more alone. As a result, our relationships take a sour turn and we end up despising ourselves because of it.

It’s important to you realize that the biggest threat to ourselves and our relationships is our brain.

It tricks us into feeling insatiable and irrational. It’s important to remember that our friends and family love us for who we are, and do so unconditionally.

It’s when you feel less deserving of love that you have to strive to build genuine and memorable connections with people you care about.

4) Don’t ignore immediate feelings

When you’re living a busy life, it’s easy to ignore the things that you feel and pass them off as stress. However, these “little things” build up over time.

They start gnawing at our insecurities subconsciously. Before you know it, you’re feeling alone more than ever and you don’t trust anyone around you.

To prevent things from escalating, it’s crucial that you identify negative emotions from the get-go and actively try to mitigate and overcome them.

5) Everyone compares themselves to others

When we strive for perfection, we turn to what we think to be its closest resemblance: a successful boss, a happily married colleague, a thriving relative.

The line separating inspiration and envy is often blurry. It’s easy to cross that and convince yourself you’ll never be as good as other people.

But when you start realizing that the person you compare yourself to also compares himself to others, it’s easy to see that maybe the cycle of unhappiness and insatiability exists because we will it to.

Even the best people we know can be challenged by negative thoughts and can think themselves unworthy.

At the end of the day, the people you think are perfect can consider themselves imperfect, too. Similarly, this means that someone out there admires you the same way you admire others. So why be so hard on yourself?

6) There’s more to like than dislike about you

The sadder we are, the easier it is to find things about ourselves that we don’t like. The little insecurities come out and transform into bigger problems.

You start thinking about your imperfections and strive to change them, only to realize they are a core part of your identity.

Again, it all boils down to progress, not perfection. Your few bad habits don’t negate your achievements and positive attributes.

One or two mistakes don’t erase your history of kindness, compassion, and goodwill.

Don’t fall into the habit of finding more things to dislike about yourself. Battling depression is a constant and conscious effort that requires positive affirmation.

Getting better starts when you shut out the bad thoughts and realize there’s more to you than your fears and anxieties.

At the end of the day, the way out is very simple: love yourself for being you.

Closing thoughts

We can’t begin to understand what depression feels like for you. However, you do have the power to make small changes to your mindset so that you can meet it head on.

The six exercises above will help you to make incremental progress in your life.

If you’d like to read more about combating depression on Ideapod, check out these articles:

I had suicidal depression. Here’s how you could have helped.

Stephen Hawking has a beautiful message for anyone who suffers depression

If your depression is making life incredibly difficult, we recommend this particularly powerful article:

4 reasons not to commit suicide, according to Dr Jordan Peterson

Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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