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10 Things to Do When You are Feeling Depressed

A list of ten things you can do to make you feel better when you are depressed.

We all get down from time to time, but depression can be an entirely different thing. For some people it is triggered by stress or difficult life situations, for others it is purely chemical. For some it is short-term, for others it is life-long. Either way, there are things you can do to lift your mood. Keep this list handy for when you are feeling down.

Call someone, anyone.
Don’t isolate yourself. Get social no matter how hard it is. Do you have someone you can talk to? If not, can you join up with a group to meet new people? Try a church group or a local club.

Join a support group.
Consider the possibility that you would benefit from talking to a group of people who understand exactly what you are going through. Try Mental Health America, www.nmha.org, to find a local support group.

Get some sun.
Have you been staying inside because you don’t feel like doing anything? Make yourself go out and get some sun. Sunlight increases your serotonin levels, a chemical in your body that contributes to better mood.

Get some exercise.
No matter how you feel, you will feel better if you get moving, somehow, in any way. Even a little walk can raise your endorphin levels, making you feel better naturally. Make a lap around the mall. Call a friend and go for a walk together. A beautiful setting for a nice walk will make you feel better.

Write.
Buy yourself a journal and learn to free-write. Let yourself go and write whatever comes into your mind for ten minutes a sitting. Don’t worry about content or grammar. Just enjoy getting all the thoughts out of your head and on paper.

Read.
When you are feeling good, set aside a couple of books or magazines that you would like to read. When you are depressed, go to this pile of reading material and pick something up. Settle into a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and a cookie and escape into your reading.

Get a massage.
Massage is proven to contribute to overall health and positive mood. Consider the expense as an investment in your own well being.

Play with a pet.
Research shows that playing with a pet can lower blood pressure, calm anxiety, and improve mood. If you don’t have a dog to walk, help out at the local animal shelter. Those animals always need visitors. Or borrow a friends dog and take it for a walk.

Volunteer.
What needs are there in your community? If you reach out and help someone else, you won’t have as much time to pour over your own problems. And it might be a chance to get to know someone new. Try www.volunteermatch.org to find opportunities.

Take time off.
Sometimes we just need a break from the routine. Give yourself the day off. Make a plan for the day so you don’t spend it in front of the tv.  Do anything you can think of that will help you be relaxed and will take your mind off of any stressors in your life.

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