How Not to Feel Depressed: What’s the Secret?
It’s hard not to feel depressed when we’re stuck in depression’s grasp. It’s a vicious cycle: depression feels horrible and causes us to avoid situations, people, and activities; the more we avoid these things that were once positive, though, the deeper into depression we fall; and this downward spiral causes us to feel less and less in control of life (Depression Symptoms: What Are the Symptoms of Depression?).
Take heart. There are ways out of depression's trap. Read on for information on how not to feel depressed.
How Not to Feel Depressed: Think Long-Term
The effects of depression can be downright painful, so it’s natural to concentrate on them in order to get them to go away. Unfortunately, focusing on fixing how you feel right now actually increases rather than decreases depression.
Problems like depression grow when you feed them. Because acting on the short-term goal of symptom alleviation feeds depression, instead try looking at long-term changes. Think in terms of quality of life—not just getting rid of depression but replacing it with things that you value and bring overall life satisfaction (Coping Skills for Battling Depression: Here’s What You Need).
How not to feel depressed involves envisioning your ideal self living your ideal life. What do you value most? Then, despite the presence of depression, begin to take little steps toward that quality world. Just shifting your focus from short term depression relief to long term life satisfaction helps you not to feel depressed.
How Not to Feel Depressed: Live Intentionally and Mindfully
Living intentionally means to take charge of each day by being fully present in what is happening around you and within you. Depression puts us on autopilot so we find ourselves drifting numbly, keenly feeling depression.
How not to feel depressed and numb involves purposefully connecting with ourselves and the moments of our life. Life is a journey of moments, and it’s imperative to get out of our own head and into every moment.
The process of living intentionally in each moment is known as mindfulness. With mindfulness, we are fully present in our life. To be mindful is to become aware of our thoughts, our sensations, and what we doing in life moment by moment. When we’re present in each moment, we can experience it for what it is rather than through a lens darkened by depression.
Numerous studies have shown that living intentionally and practicing mindfulness significantly decrease depression (Strosahl, 2008). An effective answer to the question of how to feel less depressed is to live intentionally by practicing mindfulness, paying attention to what you are doing in the present moment, every day.
How Not to Feel Depressed: Know That You Have Choices
Depression is a deep, dark hole. Because it’s hard to get out of this hole, we begin to feel stuck, confined against our will with no choices. That, though, is a lie that depression wants us to believe. The truth is that regardless of how depression makes us feel, we do have choices.
When you realize that you have a say in your life, you can begin to make choices and act on them. Practicing mindfulness helps open you up to the individual moments in your life and thus pulls you out of your own head, positioning you to choose actions that will help you move toward your values.
Just a few of the choices you have include:
- Activities to do or not to do
- Who to spend time with
- How much time to spend with a given person
- What to focus on and pay attention to
- How to seek help for depression and what treatments to try
- How to think about things
- How to react to people or events
Knowing you have choices is very empowering. Realizing you can make choices, and then intentionally making choices, is a way out of feeling depressed.
How Not to Feel Depressed: Feel Hope
Hope is real. Having a vision of hope allows you to keep going despite all of the doubts. Hope doesn’t mean not having doubts or times when you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Hope means hanging in there, being patient, and continuing working toward your values and goals despite problems (Stop Being Depressed. Use These Self-Help Tools Now). Hope won’t make depression magically disappear, but hope is how not to feel depressed.
Peterson, T. (2016, July 5). How Not to Feel Depressed: What’s the Secret?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/depression/how-not-to-feel-depressed-what-s-the-secret