We have all been depressed at times. Maybe we’re broke, maybe a loved one recently died, perhaps we’ve been laid off from a job, maybe we just had a fight with our spouse or a child or parent. For some people, just taking a deep breath is enough to allow them to release the negative energy and shake it off. For others, it is not so easy. For people with chronic depression, sometimes it seems impossible to get out of that rut once depression has run up and punched you in the gut.
I am the type of person that what is going on in my life is often a key determiner of whether I can easily snap out of depression or not. Is this incident isolated or is it something in a series of bad things that have happened which make me feel as though the world is caving in on me? The following is a list of things that have helped me to snap out of depression when it hits me.
1. Music. Listening to music is a great way to improve your mood. However, depending on what kind of music you listen to, it can sometimes perpetuate depressed feelings. If you just broke up with a boyfriend or girlfriend or your marriage is deteriorating, listening to “Desperado” by the Eagles is probably not going to help you smile. Though I’m not a big fan of the song, I can’t help but feel much more positive and upbeat whenever I hear the song “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Another one that helps me smile is “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield. Yet another is “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.
2. Exercise. Exercise is known to release endorphins in the body. There are few things in this world that can help combat depression (and stress!) like taking a jog or a long walk.
3. Talk to a Friend. Sometimes if we talk about what is bothering us or what has us depressed, it helps to put the situation in perspective and helps ease the process of overcoming the obstacle. No one knows us quite the same way that friends do, and often a good friend knows the perfect thing to say. Once when I was going through my acrimonious divorce with my ex-husband, I emailed an “internet friend” in Texas and complained about everything in the world that was wrong with my ex and everything that was wrong with the world and my life. My friend offered some sound words of advice, but after a while of me talking in circles about my problems, my friend finally responded with a one-liner asking “Can we talk about ducks now?” that made me laugh out loud. All of a sudden, everything I had just been so upset about no longer got to me and I was able to get on with my day, and move on with my entire life. (By the way – I’m still thankful for that Bruce!)
4. Live in the Power of Now. Another friend of mine used to tell me this frequently when I got into moods where it seemed like the world was caving in on me. This is an excellent book that she convinced me to read several years ago and it really has become a valued asset to me. So much so, that when I die, I hope that my husband and children will make sure that a copy of this book is placed in my casket and buried with me. This book focuses on the importance of living in the “now”. Much of what we often become depressed about are all things that have happened in the past or based on fears of what will happen in the future. This book helps the reader to become grounded in the “now”. These days, whenever life feels as though it is ganging up on me, I think back to the wisdom in that book and I focus on the “now”, take a deep breath and make a real effort to leave the past in the past.
5. Count Your Blessings. When depression overtakes us, it is sometimes difficult to see all the good in the world. We become focused on all that is wrong: the car isn’t running right and there’s no money in the bank to pay for the repairs, disconnect notices are bombarding our mailbox seemingly on a daily basis, our children seem to be purposely acting out or sassing, our partner isn’t providing the attention and affection we think we need, we’ve gained weight and our clothes don’t fit, our health is suffering… you get the picture. Even amongst all of this chaos, there are still blessings. Things I focus on are knowing how much my husband and I adore one another even when we are faced with rough times, I am blessed to have four healthy and beautiful daughters, there is food on our table, we are not homeless and no matter what, I know I will always have my family.
Overcoming depression is rarely easy, but these five things go a long way toward helping me to snap out of it, and I think they may help you as well.