How to Shake Depression

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There are some general methods to shake off depression and specific tips depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Since depression is a type of mood disorder, getting out of the rut means changing our mood for the better.

Cause Specific

If the depressed mood is the result of some cause, addressing that can give a feeling of taking action in a positive direction and elevate mood. So, for example, if it’s due to the loss of a job, knuckling down and working hard to find another may be the perfect remedy. When the cause can’t be fixed, then planning and action still work.

If depression is due to an illness, get help with the illness. Support groups abound and you can also get involved in helping others. You will quickly find that others have been where you are and survived intact. Dealing with the cause is a route to shaking off the depression.

Many of life’s tragedies leave us permanently scarred. It’s foolish to think we will ever completely get past the death of a child or a crippling injury. Still, these don’t have to take over our whole lives. Time helps. Planning for a future that extracts what good can be had from our lives also works. Even when you don’t have the energy to follow through, making plans puts you in a frame of mind where the depression is less severe and has less of a grip – that’s good.

Use logic to help you. As much as our emotions tell us there is no hope, logically we can and will find a path through the pain. You can step back and think, “Yes, this is me being depressed – so now what?” Logic allows you to be realistic and overcome the voice telling you to just withdraw into a cocoon and wither away. Doing something because you know you have to will replace the lack of motivation and the “it doesn’t matter.”

General

All types of depression benefit from some general principles.

Find something new. No matter how our life circumstances change, there are always opportunities. For some, the best course is to focus on others who are not as well off as they are. Helping the less fortunate can provide an authentic boost and give a sense of self appreciation. But no matter what the new activity is, it will start to generate its own meaning, make you learn something, take you outside of yourself and establish commitments you will have to fulfill. All of these help us move past the stasis of depression and start to overlay the bad memories and experiences with new ones.

Find inspiration. Inspiration can come in many forms. For some, religion can be a real source of comfort and act as a salve. For others, reading some of the great works that revolve around sacrifice, redemption or growth. Others are inspired by learning and accomplishment – even a small goal met can help lift the clouds of despair.

Rely on others. Support comes, not just from sharing your pain (although that can help) but in making and keeping obligations you make with others. Sometimes, it’s just the promise you have to keep to a friend that moves you past that moment’s ennui. Friends don’t even have to be physically present – you can find a great deal of support in online forums. In some cases, support doesn’t even have to be human. Pets have been found to help seniors overcome their sense of isolation and depression.

Finally, if the depression is severe, the only real solution will lie in therapy and possibly medication. There is nothing wrong with this, it is like any other disorder – self help goes so far and then it’s time to call in a professional.

 
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