Six Things You Can Do Today if You Are Depressed and Want to Feel Better.
I'm so sorry you're suffering. Please use any of these tools that are helpful to you. Keep it simple; start with one. Don't think about them, because thinking about doing things when we're depressed generally means feeling overwhelmed and giving up. Here goes...
1. Walk as vigorously as you can for an hour. Research shows many people who do this every day get as much benefit as others who take anti-depressants. Don’t think about it; don’t try to psych yourself up for it; don't even check in with yourself to see if you have the energy or feel like it. Just put on whatever clothes/shoes you need to wear and walk out the door right now. Come back in an hour and read the rest if you still need to. If it helps, do the same every day (or as much and as often as you can), at least until you feel good.
2. Eat at least 20-25 grams of protein and a whole grain, like whole wheat bread or oatmeal within an hour of waking up in the morning and two more times today (and tomorrow, and the day after…). Never eat sugar or white flour without a substantial amount of protein, and eat as little sugar and white flour as you can. Almost everyone feels better when they haven’t eaten anything processed for awhile. Look at radiantrecovery.com for tons more information about a highly effective nutritional treatment for depression.
3. If you normally do much more for others than for yourself, imagine having a nurturing, caring Mom who would take care of you. What would she do for you today? How can you get that today? Or, if you have been too depressed to think about or do for others, do something for someone else—something that will make them feel good. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, who smiles back, giving money, or giving your time to help someone. Depression makes us very self-focused. Sometimes focusing on someone else helps shift a depressed mood.
4. Imagine you are a soul, with no body. You are essentially you in your mind, but you have no body. Now think about what that would be like. Would you miss never being able to eat or make love, or feel the warmth of the sun on your skin when you’re cold, or swim, or look at beautiful things, or listen to music, or birth and breastfeed a baby, hold someone you love, or anything else you do with your body? Now imagine you are offered a chance to have a body, so you can do and experience all these body things. The catch is that you'll only get to have the body for limited time, and you don't know how long. What would you want to be sure to do for that limited amount of time, before you had to give up the body, and just be a soul again, possibly forever? Think about this awhile. Now consider the possibility that this could be true—certainly having a body temporarily is true. What do you want to do with your body while you have it?
5. Write a suicide note. Address everyone in your life you feel an emotional charge about—positive or negative, including your loved ones, friends, boss, co-workers, family, etc. I have found this to be a very powerful source of relief (and information) when people are very depressed due to unresolved feelings. If you feel like crying, let yourself cry. If you feel angry, pound your fists into your bed. If this doesn’t help, please don’t kill yourself—call someone who will stay with you, call a crisis line, and/or go to suicidehotlines.com.
6. If you aren’t already in therapy, please call for an appointment today. Most people get some relief at the first session.
Let me know what works for you and what doesn't. I have written an e-book filled with 80+ tools I've gathered and used successfully both personally and professionally. If you want the book, you can buy it here:
I hope you feel better soon.
Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT
For 30 years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.
San Francisco East Bay Area Therapist
I can work with anyone who lives in California through Skype
Including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, San Diego, Ukiah, Marin...