The best way to deal with depression just might be to not deal with it at all. Depression is hateful, and of course few, if any, people want it in their lives. The natural reflex is to focus on it, giving it attention and what little energy we have. In an attempt to lessen depression, we often restrict our very lives, avoiding people, places, situations, and activities that heighten our depression. In trying to control depression this way, we end up intensifying it.
When our attention is on depression, even when that attention is on trying to get rid of depression, that’s where our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are. The field of positive psychology offers another way, maybe the best way to deal with depression: shift our focus (Peterson, 2006).
Instead of seeking to get rid of depression, focus on building wellness. Rather than trying to do less of what’s wrong, do more of what’s right. How you approach your mental health and well-being shapes the result. The best way to deal with depression is to pay attention to wellness and living the life you want to live. What do you want more of?
One of the Best Ways to Deal with Depression- Focus on Lifestyle
Regarding depression, what is your goal? Many people initially respond by stating that their goal is to be depression-free. That makes sense. However, as a life goal, it falls a bit short. Think in terms of a broader objective: what kind of lifestyle do you want?
Among the best ways to fight depression is by focusing on lifestyle:
- Create positive experiences every single day; even during those inevitable horrible days, you can create good moments.
- Each day notice people experiences, and feelings for which you are grateful, and pause to reflect on them each night before going to sleep (many people find that keeping a gratitude journal helps them deepen this focus).
- Identify your strengths, and intentionally use them in your daily life.
Creating a lifestyle around building the positive rather than destroying the negative is one of the best ways to deal with depression.
The Best Ways to Deal with Depression?
Values, Meaning, Purpose, Satisfaction. You know what you don’t want: depression. But do you know what you do want? Our values represent what we care most about in our lives. Values are what give our lives meaning. Once you are fully aware of your values, you can build your lifestyle around them. Again, your focus will be on what you do want your life to be about rather than on the depression you don’t want.
Values give our lives meaning and a sense of purpose. Meaning and purpose in turn create joy and deep satisfaction. Living a valued life of purpose and meaning is much richer than living a life focused around getting rid of depression. Meaning and satisfaction aren’t moods but instead are states of being. With a state of being that is meaningful at its core, depression quietly fades into the background.
Another Best Way to Deal with Depression: Experience Awe
Awe is part of a lifestyle of values, meaning, purpose, and satisfaction. As such, it counts as the best way to deal with depression. Awe is a deeply meaningful experience that takes us out of ourselves and into the greater world around is. Awe involves amazement and wonder.
The experience of awe is the opposite of the experience of depression. Where depression is confining, awe is expansive. Where depression zaps motivation, awe inspires it. And where depression pulls us down, a sense of awe pulls us up out of depression. Awe is the opposite of dealing with depression, because with awe, you’re focusing on something greater than yourself.
Living a Life Worth Living: The Absolute Best Way to Deal with Depression
Shifting the focus away from depression isn’t the same thing as ignoring or avoiding it. The best way to deal with depression involves replacing it with something better. What do you value? What creates meaning and satisfaction and gives you a sense of purpose in your life? Concentrating on these things, building on them, is a great way to deal (or, rather, not deal) with depression and instead live a life worth living.