Depression is one of the deadliest illnesses around today; it kills an overwhelming number of people yearly, yet it’s one of the most overlooked sicknesses. Depression has caused many lives to be cut short; most suicide cases are as a result of the dreaded illness. What’s worse is that it’s difficult to detect by people (except doctors, of course) since it doesn’t come with immediately damaging symptoms or signs.

According to the federal government source for women’s health information, “depression is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. There’s no known cause of depression; although most victims have a family history of the illness; that doesn’t make anyone immune to depression. Stress is said to be a major contributing factor for depression. Going through traumatic experiences like a bad divorce, job loss, or other serious disease can also lead to depression.


Depression comes with a few symptoms; they include…

Unexplained sadness or emptiness

Persistent feeling of guilt, worthlessness or hopelessness

Loss of interest in favourite activities


Lack of sleep

Loss of appetite

Sudden alcoholism or drug addiction/abuse

Thoughts of suicide


So how does one fight the illness? Fighting depression is a very difficult thing to do because in a depressed state, it’s often hard to get yourself to think about anything good; your mind is filled with negativity so it becomes hard to even think about a solution. However, that doesn’t mean it is a completely hopeless condition; no. Depression can be remedied if diagnosed early, and steps are taken to reverse it. The key to recovery from depression is making up your mind to do whatever it takes be free from it. There are a host of ways one can fight the condition, and if followed, slowly but surely, total recovery is certain. These are some of the things you can do to overcome depression…


Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression, but the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make depression even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.

The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. Talking to people will afford you an opportunity to get some of the burden off your mind (help clear your head). They do not even need to offer you help per se, all they need to do is give you listening ears, and I assure you, it’ll go a long way. Social events and gatherings are also good for the depressed; try to take part in as much social activities as you can, you’ll find that it helps get your mind off those depressing things. If you have access to a support group for depressed people, it’s advisable to join them. There, you get to meet other depressed people who can offer you advice and share experiences with you.


Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.

But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.

How do you challenge negative thinking?

Think outside yourself:

Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.

Allow yourself to be less than perfect:

Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking.

Socialize with positive people:

Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.


In order to overcome depression, you have to take care of yourself. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning to manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.

Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day to boost your mood. If you live somewhere with little sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it.  Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, taking on too much or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimise their impact.

Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.


Do things you enjoy (or used to).

While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark.

Push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.



When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.

Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity triggers new cell growth in the brain, increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension—all things that can have a positive effect on depression.

To gain the most benefits, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. You can start small, though, as short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Here are a few easy ways to get moving:

Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot.

Take your dog for a walk.

Pair up with an exercise partner.

Walk while you’re talking on the phone.


As a next step, try incorporating walks or some other enjoyable easy form of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it.



If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!

Don’t forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.




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