Depression can be a debilitating psychological and physiological disorder.  In fact, some days you may find it impossible to keep up with daily tasks, smile at a friendly neighbor, or even get out of bed in the morning.  Overcoming mild to major depression is not easy, but it can be possible through small lifestyle changes.  Five suggestions for beating depression are outlined below.

Good Self Hygiene:

Good self hygiene is often taken for granted in overcoming depression.  You would be surprised how many individuals neglect to take care of themselves.

Are you getting 8 hours of sleep (but no more than 10 hours) per night?  Sleep is one of the many factors that can exacerbate one’s stress levels.  It is important that you are not only getting the right quantity, but you are also getting good quality sleep (No TV on while sleeping, No children sleeping in the bed, No caffeine before bedtime, etc.). 

Are you exercising? Thirty minutes of intense exercise (i.e., exercise that makes you sweat) as little as three times a week can help decrease your depressive symptoms.  Thus, with a little walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, tennis, golf, hiking, dancing, etc., you will be helping yourself beat depression.

Are you bathing and exfoliating daily?  Taking a bath can have rejuvenative effects.  Additionally, exfoliating - shaving or using an exfoliation mix - leaves the pores clean, and you feeling refreshed.

When was the last time you dressed up and “went all out?”  You heard me…go all out.  Give yourself a manicure and pedicure.  Wear that new shirt or dress. Pay extra attention to the styling of your hair. Dab on some perfume or cologne. When you feel good about yourself, you feel confident in yourself. 


Sunlight can help alleviate depressive symptoms.  Expose yourself to sunlight at least 30 minutes a day or more.  Sunlight has so many natural advantages.   For example, sunlight enhances your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D can have profound effects on the neurotransmitters in the brain potentially causing seasonal affective disorder (i.e., SAD).  SAD is a mild form of depression that occurs in the fall and winter months when individuals are not exposed to enough sunlight.  If 30 minutes of direct sunlight is impossible for you to obtain, go to your local tanning bed parlor and lay underneath mild bulbs for 10 minutes.


Journaling can be one of the most helpful therapeutic tools in overcoming depression.  Journaling can help free your mind from racing and self-defeating thoughts.  The process allows for one to empty their “baggage” onto a piece of paper, computer keyboard, or recording device.  For me personally, I like to journal the old fashioned pen-and-paper way.  Not only does journaling serve as an outlet for one’s deepest and intimate thoughts, it can also serve as a way of documenting where you have been and where you are going. 

Self Talk:

Mastering positive self talk is paramount in overcoming depression.  If you can transform your thoughts from “I can’t,” “I’m worthless,” “I’m lonely,” and “I’m unlovable” to “I can,” “I have so much to offer,” “I’m searching,” and “I’m lovable, funny, and intelligent,” you will become a more adaptive and balanced human being.  If you want others to see the positive attributes in you, then you have to believe and exude these positive attributes.  One way to help catch yourself in a cycle of self-defeating thoughts is gain more awareness of your thoughts.  When you recognize a negative thought, write it down and evaluate its validity.  Much of the time you will find self-defeating thoughts are not only negative but inaccurate.         

Find Your Purpose:

So, you really want to beat depression?  Do you really want to overcome depression and live the life you know you were meant to have?  You need a purpose – a passion.  What lights you up?  What thrills you?  What puts a smile on your face?  For some it may be their children or their pets.  For others, it may be their job or career.  For others, it may be their hobby, sport, or past time.  Whether your purpose is playing tennis or volunteering at the homeless shelter, find your purpose and live it. 

 “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

It may take time to overcome your depression, and you may have to try many things in order to find what works for you.  However, if you are able to find a purpose in life that drives and challenges you, serenity and contentment lie ahead.