Feeling depressed is something that happens to all of us at some point or another and no one likes when it comes around. Depression drains your energy, hope, and motivation, making it difficult to do what you really want to. Even though overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible.
You do have more control than you realize—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start taking small actions and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.
Here are 5 things you can do to boost your mood when you’re feeling down:
1. Get Social
The worst thing you can do when you’re feeling depressed is to withdraw from the world and isolate yourself, even though that’s exactly what you want to do. Humans are social creatures and we need constant interaction with others for mental health.
The more isolated we are, the more we are going to think about whatever it is that is causing us to be depressed in the first place and we may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain when we should instead be turning to friends.
We do, however, need to make sure that we are surrounding ourselves with the right people during these times, not everyone is going to support us the way we need them to. Meet up with people that you know aren’t going to judge you and that are going to listen to you, while giving support.
Leave your house and meet them at a coffee shop or mall, it doesn’t matter where you go as long as you are around people and interacting with the world. Although technology makes it easy to contact people instantly, there’s still nothing better than face-to-face interactions.
You may not feel like going out and talking at first, because you don’t think it will affect your mood, but as the day goes on you’ll be surprised how you start to feel better and better.
2. Practice your hobbies
It’s as simple as doing things that you like to do, if it makes you happy, do it. While you can’t force yourself to have fun, you can push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for your favorite activities.
Another great benefit of practicing your hobbies for coping with depression is that they will keep your mind busy and off of your problems. If you’re a person that likes being active play a sport or go on a hike or swim. If you’re someone that prefers to stay inside go to the movies with some friends or go to a favorite restaurant of yours.
Whatever it is you like to do, do it and watch your mood change.
3. Get Active
Have you ever noticed how many fitness addicts and gym-goers always seem to be happy and having a great time even when they’re in the middle of a tough workout? This is because exercise significantly improves your mood both during and after your workout, so much so that most substance abuse and mental health treatment centers have a consistent schedule of exercise incorporated into their programs.
Not everyone is an athlete and not everyone wants to be, and that’s fine but what are they supposed to do for exercise? Go back to the list of things that you like to do and you probably have at least
one thing that is active. You could go dancing, you could go paddle boarding, or you could even play frisbee with your kids or pets.
Almost every article online about coping with depression suggests exercising on days that you feel depressed and it has been called one of the most important tools in your recovery toolbox.
Get moving and kick the depression to the curb.
4. Get Outside
This one goes hand in hand with pretty much every tip we’ve included so far, getting outside and leaving your isolation zone is the best thing you can do for your depression.
Getting outside is a simple and easy way to start feeling better, especially on sunny days. Sunlight has the great benefit of improving mood by boosting your serotonin levels which is a chemical in your brain that is responsible for affecting mood and social behavior, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function.
Get outside when you’re getting social with your supporting friends, get outside when you’re practicing your hobbies, get outside when you’re exercising, just find time to get outside and in the sun.
5. Question the depression
Sometimes it seems like the depression just came out of nowhere and sometimes there’s a specific reason to why you’re feeling depressed, it’s important to know the direct cause of your feelings and attach those thoughts.
The first thing to ask yourself is “Why am I feeling this way?”. When you’re depressed negative thoughts flood into your head, all of these thoughts need to be examined and broken down. Remember that this is not how you want to feel and this is not the real you, those thoughts are stemming from a negative mood.
The next thing to ask yourself is “What can I do about this?”. If the cause of your depression is something that you can change then focus on changing the situation that is making you feel this way. If the cause of your depression is something you can’t control then you need to understand and accept that and focus on moving forward.