11 Tips to Overcome Depression
Feelings of sadness occur when we go through difficult things and it’s something everyone experiences. However depression is much more than that.
Depression causes feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and guilt, as well as appetite changes, a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, and difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
And depression is a very real illness that affects people in different ways. It interferes with everything in daily life: parenting, work, school, and our relationships with friends and family.
Depression also affects the people around you. They want to help but don’t know how.
And keep in mind, that depression is not a sign of weakness! And it’s not something you can just snap out of.
I pray these 11 tips will help you if are experiencing depression. 🙂
1) Do Something for Yourself
We are always doing things, but rarely are they for our own benefit. Which isn’t bad; but if you have depression, a way to help yourself is to do something that you enjoy, without worrying about anyone else.
For example, I’m a mom to the sweetest 4-year-old boy. When my depression just continued on and on, my doctor asked me if I do anything for me.
Um…….. like what? (Haha) I’m a mom; I take care of my little one and make sure he’s happy. I don’t really have time for myself. And if you’re a stay at home mom (or dad) you know what I’m talking about.
My doctor suggested I find something that I enjoy and just take 10 minutes out of each day to do it.
Then I ran across an article on Pinterest that talked about creating your own website. Long story short, that’s what encouraged me to start Health.Faith.Strength.
Since beginning this website in March 2016, my depression and PTSD have significantly improved. I feel like I am helping others and it gives me a purpose. Not that being a mom doesn’t give me a purpose, but running a website is a different purpose, one I choose to do.
Some ideas of things you can do for yourself each day:
I felt like counseling helped me quite a bit. However, for me personally, it also created more headaches and migraines. Because I was talking about what happened and how I was feeling, it was causing all those negative emotions to resurface, leading to more stress and headaches.
Now this isn’t the case with everyone, obviously, and it’s certainly worth trying if you are depressed. Also, counseling doesn’t have to be just you and a counselor; if you prefer, group counseling is an option that’s available in many places.
And by the way, there’s never EVER shame for getting help, EVER! Asking for help, and wanting to get better is brave and takes willpower!
To find a counselor, just google, ‘counselors for (depression, PTSD, grief, etc.) near (your city)’.
3) Set Goals
Setting goals can be extremely helpful in creating motivation, desire, and purpose; all of which help with easing the feelings of depression.
There are several types of goals:
- Immediate goals (daily or weekly goals)
In the case of depression, these goals can be anything from getting out of bed, eating healthy food, doing something for yourself each day, making sure you get outside every day, finding a counselor, volunteering, etc.
- Short term goals (within a year)
Short term goals can be things like getting to a healthy weight, being trained for a job you’d enjoy more, finding a new place to live, improving relationships with family and friends, etc.
- Long term goals (over a year)
These goals can be things like finishing college, owning your own company, buying a house, etc.
4) Get Outside
The sunshine offers many benefits to our overall health. When your skin is exposed to the sun, your body produced vitamin D. And vitamin D keeps your immune system healthy (as well as keeps away many health problems, which you can read about here).
But in addition to providing benefits for our physical health, the sun supports our mental health as well.
When you’re out in the sun, your levels of serotonin increase. As I state in my article, Proof that being Outside is AWESOME for your Health, “Serotonin is a hormone that makes you feel happy. So if your levels are too low it can contribute to feeling depressed.
From Progressive Health, “Serotonin exerts its major effects on the parts of the brain responsible for controlling mood, appetite, sexual desire and performance, sleep, memory, learning, social interactions and temperature regulation. However, outside the brain, serotonin also affects the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system and muscles. It has even been found to contribute to the regulation of milk production in the breast.”
In addition to sunlight, exercise can boost serotonin levels in the brain. Dancing, jogging, walking, yard work, etc. are good ways to not only be out in the sun, but also get some exercise. Both of which provide good ways to increase your levels of serotonin.”
When you exercise, especially outside, endorphins are released. “Endorphins are chemicals in the body that are produced with intense exercise, emotional stress, and pain.
These chemicals help to decrease feelings of pain and increase positive feelings. Endorphins are often referred to as your body’s ‘natural painkillers’.
Exercising outside for 30-45 minutes is best when trying to produce endorphins.” 
6) Be around Positive People
Being around people who have a positive attitude will help you not feel so down. Time and time again, we discover that we become like the people we surround ourselves with. I remember my dad telling me when I was younger, “show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future”.
If you want to be successful in life (whatever that means to you) and happy, you need to surround yourself with successful and happy people!
So distance yourself from negative people.
One way to surround yourself with positive people is to join a church group. Or you could find another group you would feel a connection with and that provides a positive influence. You may make some new friends as well!
7) Read Scripture
There are many examples in the Bible of men who overcame depression. And you can too! These examples come from my article, Dear Depression, God is Bigger!
Take 1 Kings 19:4-5 that talks about Elijah, “while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
Another example is 1 Samuel 30:4-6, “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.”
In 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 Paul says, “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…”
Another example is Jesus. Luke 22:41-44 says, “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
You’re not alone. God is always with you and will help you if you let Him.
Your life matters. It matters to the people who love you and it especially matters to God. Isaiah 44:2 says, “I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.”
Isn’t it amazing that God thought the world would be better with you in it?! 
When you pray, thank God for what He has given you – this can help you realize you are more blessed than you realize. And ask Him for peace and comfort.
9) Take Natural Supplements
Here are 5 natural supplements that help with depression:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B complex 
Read my article, 5 Natural Supplement that Help with Depression, for more on each of these, including studies showing how they help with depression as well as what brands I recommend!
10) Eat Healthy
Kick the habit of eating to feel better emotionally. Stress eating can lead to health problems. Instead eat foods that are high in vitamin Bs and omega-3 fatty acids.
Here is a list of natural food sources with healthy amounts of b vitamins that is also included in my article, 5 Natural Supplements that Help with Depression.
- B1 (thiamine): whole grains, kale, spinach, peanuts, and wheat germ
- B2 (riboflavin): almonds, milk, yogurt, eggs, and spinach
- B3 (niacin): yeast, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and beans
- B5 (pantothenic acid): avocados, yogurt, eggs, legumes, and meat
- B6 (pyridoxine): meats like chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna; sunflower seeds, brown rice, and carrots
- B7 (biotin): barley, liver, pork, chicken, fish, nuts, potatoes, and egg yolks
- B9 (folate): dark leafy greens, beets, salmon, milk, and beans
- B12 (cobalamin): fish, dairy, eggs, pork, and beef
Some of these (fish, eggs, some dairy products) contain healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well.
Other options that help with depression are: green tea, walnuts, turmeric, and dark chocolate. 
11) See a doctor
As long as you’re incorporating some or all of the above tips to improve your mood, getting on an antidepressant may give you some extra help. And there’s nothing wrong with being on an antidepressant as long as you feel like you need it. You’ll need to see a doctor who will prescribe it and monitor your use.
Be aware that antidepressants can cause many side effects. When I was on Prozac, I was falling asleep all the time, even while driving. My body just didn’t react well to it.
Currently I’m on Wellbutrin but also take a couple of the natural supplements that are discussed here. And because I’ve been doing the above tips for quite some time, I’m doing better and will be getting off the Wellbutrin soon.
Also, I ran across this article recently, “5 Habits to Kick for a Simpler and Happier Life”, it’s worth a read 🙂
I don’t know why what you’re going through, but I know depression is a hard thing to experience.
And remember, depression isn’t something you can just snap out of. It can take months or even years to begin feeling better. But by doing these above tips, you’ll be on your way to feeling better.
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http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/outside-is-awesome-for-health/  http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/dear-depression-god-is-bigger/  http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/5-natural-supplements-depression/  http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/8-foods-that-fight-depression.aspx