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Feeling Depressed?

10 Things You Can Do to Start Feeling Better Right Now

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Updated December 16, 2011

Have you be feeling depressed lately? Clinical depression may require medication and/or psychotherapy to help in recovery. But if you are experiencing a milder case of the blues, there are many things you can do to help yourself feel better quickly.

  1. Go for a Walk
    Walking is a great way to feel better fast. Not only may it stimulate the release of feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins, it also relieves stress and helps you sleep better. If you take up walking on a regular basis, you will receive the added benefits of better health and improved self-esteem as your body becomes stronger and slimmer.

  2. Talk with a Friend
    Talking with a friend can provide many benefits when you are feeling down. A friend can give you a safe place to vent your feelings and let you know that someone really cares about you. He or she can also give you advice or provide a new perspective on your situation.

  3. Turn Your Thoughts Around
    When you allow yourself to think negative thoughts about a situation, it is very easy to talk yourself into feeling bad. For example, how easy is it to feel good about yourself when you call yourself a "fat, lazy pig?" What if you immediately rephrased your self-talk to give yourself credit for how hard you've been working on your diet? You couldn't help but feel just a little bit better, could you? A type of psychotherapy called cognitive therapy is actually based on this premise, and can help teach you to break those negative thought patterns that keep you feeling depressed. To get started, read this article.

  4. Practice Gratitude
    Cultivating feelings of gratitude can help your depression by keeping you focused on the positives in life rather than dwelling on what's wrong. When we are in the midst of depression it is very easy to magnify all of our problems until we only see the bad. Making a conscious choice to see what is good brings things back into perspective.

  5. Do Something Nice for Yourself
    Feelings of worthlessness and guilt often accompany depression. We don't feel like we deserve good things for ourselves. When we step outside this feeling and do something nice for ourselves we are affirming to ourselves that we are worthy individuals. Doing something nice for yourself doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. It could be something as simple as throwing that burned piece of toast in the trash instead of eating it because you don't think you deserve anything better.

  6. Help Someone
    Reaching out to help someone, either through volunteer work or informally in your day-to-day life, can help you feel better. It gives your life meaning and purpose, and helps you feel less isolated and alone. Even small acts of kindness, such as feeding a stranger's parking meter or giving up your seat to a tired mother, can give your mood a boost.

  7. Listen to Music
    Musicians have long known about the power of music to evoke emotion. Slow music in a minor key like Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" evokes a very different emotion than an upbeat piece in a major key such as Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." Even the positive message in the lyrics of the latter song has a different effect on our mood. So, the next time you are feeling blue select music that matches the mood you'd prefer to be feeling, rather than music that mirrors your current mood.

  8. Forgive
    In order to see how forgiveness helps depression it is important to understand that you don't have to forget what happened or even to be friends with that person. Forgiveness is about letting go and moving forward with your life. It is something that you do for yourself rather than for the other person. In fact, the other person doesn't even need to know about it.

  9. Let Go of the "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda's"
    Have you ever lost sleep by worrying about what you could have done, should have done or would have done differently? You've just made yourself miserable over something that you have absolutely no control over. Until someone invents a time machine, it is a much better use of your energy to focus on what you can do better in the future rather than worrying about things that you can't change. Stop beating yourself up about what happened in the past; you will feel better in the present.

  10. Take a Deep Breath and Relax
    Stress creates chemical changes in your body that make you more prone to depression. Anything that you can do to reduce your stress - such as relaxation techniques, exercise or meditation - will help decrease your depression.
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