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Self-Help and Coping Tips to Overcome Depression


Surviving a depressive episode does not mean that life is suddenly beautiful. There are ways in which you can begin to change in this way.

I found that the best way to cope with such intense discomfort was to live my life one day at a time. Depression is an illness which exists in the mind and therefore the cure and prevention lies with treating the mind. And who controls your mind? Of course, you!

Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment.

Developing and sticking to good habits requires persistence, discipline and diligence (ask anyone who has quit smoking). But the dedication is worth it. Having spent too many days in the dark house, I do not wish to return and I am confident that neither do you.

It is important to realize that the negative views are part of the depression and typically do not accurately reflect your situation. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. The aim is to develop an awareness of what you really like, how you really feel, what you really value. In order to do this you have to allow yourself free thought and felling.

Depression Recovery - Try out some Depression Self Help tips:

Below are some simple exercise for depression self help, hope you will find it helpful:


The most important ingredient in getting better is hope. The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there.


Any activity that promotes endurance, flexibility or strengthening is a natural antidepressant. Exercise in particular improves circulation, brings increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and releases endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing chemicals.

To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood.

Here are a few easy ways to get moving:
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Pair up with an exercise partner
  • Walk while you’re talking on the phone

It is widely acknowledged that if you can discipline yourself to do some form of exercise regularly, you will almost definitely feel better for it. Even a brisk walk once a day is a good start. For more exercise tips, read Read more depression self help with exercise.


Good nutrition supports the optimal functioning of your brain and body. Eat a balanced diet of healthy foods. Eating as much organic produce as possible will help to minimize the intake of chemicals and preservatives which can cause problems in sensitive individuals.

Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet
  • Don’t neglect breakfast. A solid breakfast provides energy for the day.
  • Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
  • Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or french fries. But these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
  • Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas can boost serotonin levels without a crash.
  • Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
  • Consider taking a chromium supplement – Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed. Aim for 600 mcg per day.
  • Practice mindful eating. Slow down and pay attention to the full experience of eating. Enjoy the taste of your food

Another part of nutritional self-care is cutting back on the sweets. Studies have shown that too much sugar can foster anxiety as well as depression. Read more depression self help with balanced diet.


Even when you are just make laughing expressions, your body produces chemicals that make you feel happier. Watch films or TV programs that you enjoy. Listen to jokes you enjoy.

- Make a list of things you must do each day and tick them off as you go - this gives you a sense of achievement. If you think of something pleasant and self indulgent that you would rather do than one of your chores, then do it and enjoy it - and then write about it.

Do things you enjoy
  • Spend some time in nature.
  • List what you like about yourself.
  • Read a good book.
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Take a long, hot bath.
  • Listen to music.
  • Take care of a few small tasks.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Do something spontaneous.


One of the most powerful ways to impact the emotions and the involuntary nervous system is through the breath. If your are stressful, stop, close your eyes and focus your breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose, directing the air deep into your belly. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this 5-10 times and u will see how this technique works.


Writing a diary is one of the best self-help methods you can use. Put down new sights and smells, new experiences of any kind. Note down everything that you have done during the day and about your feelings. Write every day, if possible. It may help to write at the same time every day, maybe after dinner or before bed. Write for yourself only.


If antidepressant medication is part of your treatment plan, it is important to take it as prescribed. Medication is not a miracle cure or a replacement for psychotherapy. For those people who cannot tolerate antidepressants or for whom they simply do not work, there are other "natural medications" you can try. What medication can do is to create an inner stability ("take the edge off," as a friend described it) that will allow you to make use of therapy. Read more depression self help with meditation.


Develop a sleep schedule - a regular time of going to sleep and arising - and stick to it. Sleep irregularities are among the early warning signs of both mania and depression.

Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. A good night sleep can, believe it, help in curing depression. Read more depression self help with proper sleep.


If you believe in prayer, take regular time to pray, both by yourself and with other people. If prayer can alter physical matter, and the brain is made of material substance, then it seems reasonable that prayer can impact the brain chemistry that creates depression. Meditation involves stilling the mind so that we can hear the "still small voice" of God within and be open to spiritual guidance.


Indulge in some right brain activity. Allow yourself to become lost in something creative. Creative activity can be anything such as cooking, dancing, gardening, riding etc. It is the doing that is important - not how well you do it.


Cut yourself off from the media for a while - do not read newspapers or watch the news on TV. Give yourself a break, avoid it. Spend some time in nature. Whether it's watching a moonrise over a mountain peak, a sunset over the ocean, or simply taking a leisurely walk in your city park, spending time in nature can impart its healing touch.

So, enjoy each moment as best you can. Focus your thoughts on the little positive things. Do not let your mind race forward in time to 'what if' and do not dwell on what is past and on 'if only'.

These tips can be followed as part of your treatment, even if you are already taking the professional help in your depression. The tips are simple and following them can help you get speedy recovery and it will further prevent depression from returning back.

Depression support helpThe role played by friends and relations is discussed more fully in the Depression Help by Family and Relations Support section.

There are many effective treatment options for depression. To learn about them, see Depression Treatment and Therapy.

This page, self help, is find most useful. Thank you - Sara

"Focus your thoughts on the little positive things. Do not let your mind race forward in time to 'what if' and do not dwell on what is past and on 'if only'." thats really important, thank you - Ben

I have lost hope in finding help I have tried many different self help plans I have found on the internet and I have gotten no where still having really bad ups and downs and can not control my moods and basically feel like I am going crazy because I can not control what is going on in my head. I have no insurance and really can't afford it what can I do I haven't been happy in so long I almost forget what it feels like. Pleae let me know if you know of anything that could possible help and please keep in mind I have on insurance so I can't afford anything to expensive.. - April

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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