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Ten Ways to relieve depression and cheer up

Tags: Coping

When life is ‘the pits’, there are ways to take control and help yourself work out of it. Here are 10.

1. Breathe

Conscious breathing can assist in reducing stress and anxiety. Focusing on your breathing keeps your mindfulness on the current instance and is a common integral part of reflection and meditation, an evident stress reducer. Breathe deeply and leisurely down into your stomach, noticing each breath you inhale and exhale. Make your out-breath longer than your in-breath – breathe in for 3 counts – out for 5.

2. Smile

Smile deep down into yourself and up into your mind – physically smile at the feelings of stress, anxiety or depression – smiling releases beta endorphins (natural feel good chemicals).

3. Self talk

Give yourself a good, positive self-talking to - give yourself a motivational talk – tell yourself all the good things about you – all the things you’re good at – encourage yourself by reminding yourself that this feeling will pass, nothing lasts forever and until it does pass - you CAN cope.

4. Exercise

A quick walk or some form of physical workout, especially one you enjoy - will benefit your mood. The physical exertion will give you a life and also help induce your natural feel good chemicals (beta endorphins).  A 5 to 15 minute walk can improve your mood.  Motivate yourself by giving yourself some kind of healthy reward (see below).

5. Gratitude

Prepare a list of three to five things in your life for which you are thankful. Reflect on each thing and recognize the positive way it impacts your life.

6. Reward yourself

Think of a positive reward (carefully – for example you don’t reward yourself with food if you’re on a weight-reducing diet – think of something else). Reward yourself with anything – stickers, animal stamps – gold stars, points to go towards a weekend activity or an outing. It’s an old trick but it works.

7. Positively daydream

Remember a great holiday or a wonderful experience. Focus on something you’re looking forward to. If there isn’t anything – create something to look forward to – make a date with a friend – book some theatre.

8. Use a strength

We all have strengths. Devote one or more of your strengths to an activity. For example creativity – sport – writing - looking after animals.

9.  Return to nature

Go for a walk in the bush or the park, sit down by water, go to a favourite place whether physically or in your imagination. Reflecting on a beautiful scene can raise your spirits.

10. Give of yourself

Being thoughtful towards someone or something else (a commitment to a cause for example) can be uplifting and increase your self-efficacy – that’s your ability to feel in control and take on life’s challenges (maybe volunteering).