Everything seems to be dark, obscure and gloomy with no way out. No light, no hope, only sadness and a general melancholy which become every day worse. You just have this weight which you’re not able to drop and feel happy again. But sometimes looking at things from a different point of view can make miracles and can help to overcome depression and even prevent it from hitting you.
Disclaimer, just to avoid any misunderstanding: if you’re depressed you must follow your doctor’s advises. I’m not a doctor so this article is just to give you a different perspective.
Note, here I’m talking mainly about sadness because many times they are a kind of first step toward depression. Dealing with them soon prevents those common emotions from developing in something worse.
What is Depression?
Before thinking how to overcome depression we must have a definition of it. You are depressed when you mind is stuck on negative thoughts always repeating themselves in a kind of infinite loop, the more you feel bad the more negative thoughts you have. Negative thoughts bring sadness and if we don’t take care of it it can transform into depression, a permanent state of inability to cope with life.
Another definition of depression, which I love very much as in its simplicity says everything about it is that you are depressed when you have lost your happy thoughts and you’re not anymore able to find them. They seem to have disappeared, forever. And, as Peter Pan’s book teaches, without happy thoughts you can’t fly. You need them, we all need them. If you’re able to think about happy things obviously sadness just goes away. You simply can’t be happy and sad at the same time right?
Point 1: To overcome depression you need your happy thoughts back.
You are depressed or sad, right?
Wrong. You are not depressed. The correct way of saying it is that you are feeling depressed now. It seems the same thing but it’s very different instead. Saying that you are depressed means that it’s a kind of permanent state, like one of your traits but in reality depression is not a permanent state as it can come and go. And if you want to really overcome depression even rewriting the way you think about it helps.
Maybe you don’t feel like this, but let me ask you a couple of questions: when you were five years old, were you depressed? And when you were ten? Or twenty? You see, there were many times when you were not at all depressed, and maybe times when you were even happy. And what was true in your past can be true again in your future.
Also don’t forget that it’s normal at times to feel sad about something, we have many emotions and obviously we can’t be always happy, sometimes sadness is the right emotion to feel. The problem arises when it becomes a kind of permanent state.
Point 2: you are not depressed, you are feeling depressed now. You’re not sad, you’re feeling sad now.
Having stated before that even if you are feeling sad now to overcome it you have just to get back you happy thoughts, let’s see how dealing with depression can be made simple. If after years of antidepressants and psychological treatments you’re still feeling a general sense of hopelessness now probably it’s time to change approach, right?
You are feeling sad, now what?
When feeling depressed you have only two choices: either stay into a grey cloud of sadness thinking how unlucky you are or act and do something to break the infinite loop of negative thoughts.
You and only you can take this decision, you can have the support of others but only you can choose to overcome hopelessness. And once you take the conscious decision to deal with your negative emotions everything becomes simple, maybe not easy but simple. And you have the power and strength needed, even if you’ve forgot you have. At the end if you’ve been happy you can be happy again.
It might be that there are people around you who think you’re not able to overcome your sadness without the help of drugs, or without discovering the roots of your depression and why that negative feeling sticks with you. Probably they see you as a kind of toddler, and they could even do this moved by the best intentions but the real truth is that nothing will work consistently unless you really want to overcome depression. No one can win this battle for you, but it is a battle you can win. So, unless you have a flat electroencephalogram you can decide if you stay well feeling bad or if you want to do something about it.
Point 3: you and only you can decide to remain still or to act and do something about your sadness.
How to Overcome Depression finding its roots.
This is one of the mainstream approaches to deal with negative emotions, that is you go to a therapist for months trying to find the roots of your melancholy or sadness, or anger, etc., so that you can deal with them and finally overcome you depression and feel good again. This can also be seen as the “Digging in the dirt” approach.
My opinion is that it randomly works first because finding the roots of your negative emotions focuses your thoughts on negative things, otherwise you would not feel depressed, and thinking often about what has gone wrong in your life does little good and makes you feel more sad. Also negative thoughts reinforce themselves so that every time you dig into negative things you make them stronger, and that’s exactly what you want to avoid. Unless you like sadness and being down in the dumps.
Second you probably already know why you are depressed so it would be surely more effective to find out ways to keep negative thoughts under control and focus more on your happy thoughts. Given that you can’t be happy and depressed at the same time focusing on positive thoughts saves your time, and your money.
Point 4: you can’t have positive thoughts and negative ones at the same time. Can you be sad and happy at the same time?
How to overcome Depression dealing with Sadness first.
- Decide to act. And leave that bed.
- Clean your mind from negative thoughts. The best way to do it is to perform a physical activity which focuses your thoughts on the present. Gardening, running into the nature, taking an aerobic class, Cardiofunk, chopping wood, digging holes etc. You can’t be depressed if your body is moving, so move your body. Avoid Yoga and similar disciplines for now as they don’t keep your mind busy enough.
- Change perspective. Just like in the movie Dead Poets Society looking at things from a different point of view can help to see them under a different light. Possibly a better one. A lot of things can have a positive side, but we can see it only if look for it. Usually looking at things from a distance is the right way to see them as they are and not as we think they are.
- Change appearance and posture. Try a new hairstyle or even a new hair color, keep your spine straight, your head up and breath with your belly. I can assure you that this will make wonders for your mood. When you’re experiencing sadness or melancholy your breaths are short, your head is most of the times down and your spine curved, this is pretty common when depression strikes; and it’s a demonstration that our mind can influence our body. What’s not so commonly known is that this works also the other way and if you stay for a while with your spine straight, head up and breathing deeply your mood improves and you feel better. Sadness disappears. Do it now and see if I’m selling lies.
- Don’t fight alone. While to overcome depression you must decide by yourself that you want to do it you are not alone and can have the support of your family and friends. Talk to them and express your feelings. Don’t do what many others do and keep things, thoughts and feelings for yourself, closing on your inner world. Open up and let those negative thoughts to express themselves. As an example if you’re feeling sad for something cry and let those tears wash your sadness away. If you have no one else to talk to leave a comment and talk to me. It’s free.
- Surround yourself with positivity. Use your TV only to see movies which lift your mood and your heart, try to have around only positive people who can lift you up and not throw you down. Go where you can find people with similar interests and stay with them. Open the door and go out with friends or have a walk into the nature and listen to birds singing their happiness just for being alive. Print some positivity posters or quotes and spread them all around your home. Write a blog or a diary and express your feelings, but keep the closing sentence positive….
- Find out your happy thoughts. You know you had them and only you can find them again. Remember when you were younger and felt happy, what where you doing? What were your desires? What did you want to do in your life? And if you haven’t done it yet, can you do it in the future? Or at least do something similar? Maybe you can’t be an astronaut, but you can always open a blog and write about the Space. Your happy thoughts are those who make you feel happy: take a sheet of paper and write down as many answers as you can to the question “What Makes (or made) me feel happy?
- Keep in mind always that sooner or later the Sun will shine again. We all have bad days, or periods in our lives when everything seems to go wrong, you are not the only one. But just like it cannot rain forever the Sun cannot always shine. Life is made up of both positive and negative things and while we cannot always decide what happens to us we can almost always decide how we react to life. 99 percent of the times we can handle our life and our feelings just by knowing that happiness and positive things will come back again. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The Sun will always shine again, but we must keep our eyes open to see it.
- Doing something for someone else helps. I know it can seem difficult but helping others not only almost instantly lift our mood and makes us feel good, it can also show us that at the end we are not so unlucky and there are human beings around whose life is worst than ours. Like the story of the man who felt very unhappy because he had no shoes, until he met a man who was without feet.
- Read Peter Pan, more than once. It won’t get you addicted and it’s a great natural antidepressant.
So, this is how to overcome depression, you have just to leave that bed and do something about it.
Action is the best answer to depression.
The only exception is if you have lost a family member. Well, there is not much that can be said about this, losing a son, a daughter, a wife or a husband and so on has no positive side, and I won’t cheat you telling this. It’s the worst thing that can happen. The only thing that can be said is that with time it will hurt a little less but there are wounds which remain always with us.
Only ask yourself how your loved one would like you to face their death. Would they like you to stay sad forever or would they prefer to see you happy again? Could they be better honored if you can help someone else? And by helping others helping yourself and feeling better at the same time?
I haven’t the answer, but I know you have.
What do you think about this guide on how to overcome depression? Isn’t it also great for sadness?