What is the best way to cope with depression?
It’s the Catch-22 of depression: recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one. The tips that follow are based on a comprehensive approach that helps you get support while making lifestyle changes and reversing negative thinking. If you continue to take positive steps day by day, you’ll soon find yourself feeling better.
Tip 1: Reach out and stay connected
When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate. Even reaching out to close family members and friends can be tough. Compound that with the feelings of shame and the guilt you may feel at neglecting your relationships.
But social support is absolutely essential to depression recovery. Staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. And if you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
|Ways to reach out|
|Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; he or she just needs to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.|
|Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they don’t replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away.|
|Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. Often when you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.|
|Find ways to support others. It’s nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find ways—both big and small—to help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.|
|Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed—both powerful antidotes to depression.
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