11 Ways to Beat Your Depression

Don’t be surprised by the this post. I am not turning my blog into lifehack blog. πŸ™‚

I am just writing about what worked for me when I was sad or depressed. I am not going to ask you to turn to music. Because it does not work for me. my brain completely switches off sensations to ear. Music keeps playing and I lost in my sad thoughts. Not a word goes in my ear. 😦

1. Read: Read as much as you can. It keeps your mind entertained as well as engaged. An engaged mind has no time to think of personal sad thoughts. I did my maximum reading in this period. I went for happy, popular books. I read 1 Harold Robbins (too much sleaze), 1 Bridget Bardot (or whatever her name is, it was a bland book), 4 Roald Dahls, 3 Sophie Kinsellas (I can’t say I liked all of them) and 1 J.A. Konrath (I am sure you do not know him, I will soon write a review of his book.) I read more of magazines. I am picking up books from my unread book pile. I also picked up Adam Bede by George Eliot. I was not reading the book because it seems to be written in 4 point size (Though my friend says it could be size 8 ) and it (book) is also written in archaic, native English. All in all, I read obsessively because it relaxes me and makes me feel productive. Ah, what pleasure in counting the number of books you finish in few days!

2. Take a Walk: This certainly works. Before you take a decision in anger or frustration, take a walk. Fresh air cools and clears your head, frustration kind of ebbs aways. It gives you time to think over things in peace, prevents hasty decision.

3. Watch a Movie or Nice Show on TV: For a movie buff like me, it works. If it is good movie, you are completely engrossed for 2-3 hours. No time to think about your own “sorrows”. I can curl up in bed and watch movies in go. I watched Day After Tommorrow Part 1 and 2 (had nice special effects about global warming), Cast Away and Desparado. All old movies I know, but they served my purpose.

Nothing perks me better than watching a nice, classy dance show. I avoid music shows, there is overdose of besura singers. Though is it easy to find a nice dance show on TV, a nice soap on Indian telly is a rarity. But there are a couple on NDTV Imagine (Radha ki Betiyaan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi and Ek Packet Umeed) that are good. Or you always have old episodes of Friends, My Wonder Years, Sex and the City and so on. Watch a reality show like MTV Roadies never fails to de-stress me. Who wouldn’t laugh watching guys stripping because of stupid answers by their female teammates(they called it strip SMS by the way) or watching guys (they waxed and learnt feminine dance moves) perform as beautiful “ladyboys” of Thailand. Ha ha!

5. Go Out with Old Friends: Don’t worry if you have not been able to call them in previous months. No good friend worth their salt will dismiss your troubles because you did not keep in touch. They would understand. Meeting people is good way to relieve yourself. Talking always helps, you are lucky of you have a sympathetic ear. I always make meetings with friends when I am upset. Yes, there are times when you would better be alone. You are your own best judge.

6. Talk to a Friend: Talk to a friend or cousin who understands you. Avoid friends who you know will add to your woes by provoking and urging on to make hasty, angered decision. Idea is to cool off by getting unpleasant things off your chest. Look for good listeners and not provocateurs. It always works for me to talk to my sister and first cousins. They do not rush to offer me solutions, just give a patient hearing. They don’t trivialize my woe either. They have all the time in the world to listen to me. And they do follow up. πŸ™‚

7. Write Your Hurt on Paper: Putting it on paper is always relieving. Sometimes, it is not so easy to talk about things. It may be too intimate, personal or embarrassing to discuss with anybody. Write everything down. Sometimes I have ended up writing letters with horrific thoughts, but trust me the whole exercise has been worth it. It relaxes you completely.

8. Spread a Smile: Lend a helping hand to your loved ones. Offer to run a chore. Hug the ones who are stick by you in thick and thin. Drop a note to an old friend who has been nice to you. Do not take them for granted. Feed the children on street, teach at a NGO. You might have wanted to do it for long time. But you thought, let me sort my sister’s issue then I will go. Let me get a job near-by, then I will go. Let me party this weekend, I will go to NGO next weekend. Let me sort out this personal issue, then I will meet the kids and the elderly at the NGO. Don’t wait, just do it. This is also write time to write about Amyth’s NGO Elaan that deals with Child sexual Abuse (CSA).

9. Pamper Yourself: Buy yourself the wardrobe you have been wanting to. Pep up your appearance. Get a haircut or a face/body massage. A back rub and foot massage will lift your spirits anytime. Get manicure and pedicure done. I have not tried this last one, but it works for some young women in my family. Of course, this last one does not work for guys. πŸ˜‰

10. Express Yourself Creatively: If you like to paint, then paint with passion. If you are a designer, put all your nervous energy in creating beautiful designs. You love to write, then write more when you are melancholy. Write a poem or a story. A research says best of poems were written in worst of mental turmoils. I had read about a woman who invested all her energies in cooking for herself when she was upset. Dance to heart’s content. Choreograph. Idea is to indulge in your creativity. And all that working with creativity takes your mind off negative thoughts.

11. Take off to Travel: A change of scene always works for me. There are few days when we don’t want to go to work or do anything. We just want to laze around in idyllic weather. Staying out too late and waking too early on travels is not my idea of rejuvenation. I don’t even want to keep running for sight-seeing. I like to take it easy. I like adventures though. I loved all adrenaline-pumping activities: parasailing, cliff jumping, rappling. I think I am not really cut out for too much of vigorous physical activity like trekking but I want to try it all the same one day.

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34 Responses to “11 Ways to Beat Your Depression”


  1. 1 lipsync April 28, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I have trouble seeing depression as a disease. It doesn’t feel false. I don’t feel I deserve to be punished as I am by the world. I build up strength and then the world damages me again.

    Your article is helpful, thankyou.

  2. 2 Shefaly April 28, 2008 at 10:03 am

    @ Poonam:

    I take it you mean depression as a state of (temporary) sadness, not clinical depression which may have other causes and may need other ‘solutions’ than self-help.

    That said, points 2 and 6 are backed by science.

    Exercise generates serotonin (a feel good hormone) and other endorphins, and relaxes muscles. Together these help a person’s mood.

    Recent research, albeit controversially, suggests that talking with a friend, who listens, may confer benefits similar to going to cognitive therapy (or talk therapy as some call it).

    Distracting yourself is also believed to be effective and socialising, cinema, creative pursuits all would fall under this umbrella.

    Good post.

  3. 3 Ashish April 28, 2008 at 10:20 am

    You forgot Pt.12 : Dance to Vengaboys’ Brazil! πŸ˜›

  4. 4 Nova April 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

    No 7 and 9 work wonders for me… Sometimes i believe talking only disproportionately increases my problems… so i try and avoid talking… have started this off late.. earlier, one hurt and i wud on call for hours… 😦

  5. 5 praneshachar April 28, 2008 at 11:12 am

    nice ideas to come out of your sad moods. your emotions will be down and you need to do something which suits u for coming back to normal. depression which needs clinical analysis may be a next level this may help you don’t need clinical analysis or psycho’s help u can get back to your own on your own.
    how you have jotted all points one by one which helps friends to choose which best suits them. all solutions may not be universally applicable you must select which one suits you most based on ur interests and likings. so it is a very good post keep going

  6. 6 Nita April 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Poonam, usually when I read advice like this its so unoriginal that it puts me off. But in your post you have written from your heart and its refreshing. One thing that always works for me is writing or even getting intensely involved in some activity. I remember the time in my life when I was most depressed, when the boy whom I had a massive crush on and whom I had gone out with a couple of times started going out with another girl. It was near my exams and I threw myself into my exams and I did better than I ever had. When my studying was over, I had got over that silly boy.
    Even now if I am feeling out of sorts I get involved in something that requires my utmost concentration…well, this works for me.

  7. 7 The itinerant April 28, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Poonam, depends on the type of music i guess..try Metal…works for me.
    A swim, jog or a quick game of badminton,soccer also helps.
    I think there are certain friends who can lift you from even the dumps and i am lucky to have one or two like em.
    Depression?Whats that? πŸ™‚

  8. 8 Amit April 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Movies, books and a walk on the beach do wonders to my mood. Believe me, there is nothing more soothing than watching a beach in full moon. πŸ™‚
    But sometimes nothing works as we tend to go in a self destruction mode. It is at such a time that your inner strength and your friends matter a lot.
    And when did The day after tomorrow 2 got released? How did I missed this?? 😦

  9. 9 dinu April 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Good post πŸ™‚ I am missing the reading part now..even though I am trying to go back to those good old days when I used to finish almost 2 or 3 books a week.. ..

    As for pamper yourself.. hmm its tough.. walking is a good option…. I used to go to the beach n sit there for a while when I get tensed.. its just 10 minutes from my place..

    πŸ™‚

  10. 10 Ruhi April 29, 2008 at 12:07 am

    I find reading and writing to be very effective. But the biggest stress buster for me is : SLEEPING! When I can’t handle a crisis, I literally sleep over it. πŸ™‚

  11. 11 Liju Philip April 29, 2008 at 1:57 am

    I prefer 1,2,3 options. Sleeping is another good option to beat the depression. Some good music also does the trick.

    Btw, aapne point number 4 miss kar diya. Intentionally?

  12. 12 Poonam Sharma April 29, 2008 at 4:27 am

    @lipsync: I actually was not referring to clinical depression, but deep sadness. yes, we gather strength and world damages us gain. But we have to keep fighting. Glad, if this article could help you.

    @Shafaly: yes, I didn’t mean clinical depression. BUt yes, talk therapy is used by NGO here to talk to suicidal and depressed callers. It works for several of them too.

    @Ashish: I included dance in creativity point. I meant to include dance, but forgot to include it.

    @Nova: yes, I said sometimes talking to provocateurs and immature people does more hurt. I have experienced it myself.

    @praneshachar: yes, we have to choose what suits us best. Every one is unique, what works for one may not work for another.

    @Nita: well, well, I am very interested to know your crush story. Who knows he perhaps reads your blog regularly today. yes, same for me, when I immerse myself in work after a setback, I come out with wonders. πŸ™‚

    @Itinerant: Not tried metal, but absent-minded that I am , I just lose track of music. I travel for 4 hours a day with FM mostly playing in background. I hardly notice it. I am glads you have such great friends. πŸ™‚

    @Amit: My friend, from whom I got the 3 CD pack for the movie says 2 CDS were for one movie only and not part 2. My mistake. But the new CD started woth new credit and I thought makers are as commercial as makers of Pirates and Golden Compass. Leave unfinished story.

    @dinu: Why is pampering yourself tough? I used to live in a house that was by river. So I know what you mean by walking on the beach when you are sad.

    @Ruhi: I thought of including sleeping, but didnt include it. Because my sleep gets affect when I am depressed. Sleep and my spirit are the first things taht suffer when I am sad.

    @Liju: My preferences are same as well. πŸ™‚

    Nope, not intentional. I actually joined watching movies and tv together and then joined NGO working with spreading smile to your loved ones together. SO the numbering became haywire. I will let it be. 11 looks better number to me than 10. πŸ™‚

  13. 13 Anshul April 29, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Sleep, Sports and Playing Quake/Doom 3.

  14. 14 vimal April 29, 2008 at 8:22 am

    No.2 and 10 are the ones that i do normally apart from listening to music(though No.10 of mine is also related to music).

    Last year when I went through a terrible phase, I did try that Pamapering myself technique and I must admit, I made a fool out of myself at the end of it with my new looks. It indeed was a relief when people started noticing and making fun and the best part was when I was laughing at myself. But I am not going to try that again !!!

    Another stress/depression reliever that has worked for me so far is sitting all by myself at the beach facing the sea. It seriously works.

    Again, its all in the mind. There are days when nothing works too πŸ™‚

  15. 15 pr3rna April 29, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Like Vimal music helps me too.

  16. 16 Poonam Sharma April 30, 2008 at 4:01 am

    @Anshul: Those 3 work for many too.

    @Vimal: I would say that pampering thing worked out for you. You wer laughing at yourself. What could be more good? I hav sat for long on benches on riverside. My house was just a road apart from river. So I had lots of access to riverside benches. I know how calming the experience is.

    And yes, there are days when nothing works. 😦

    @pr3rna: yes, music works for many. I am the rare one.

  17. 17 sulz May 5, 2008 at 8:25 am

    ooh, how did you like the roald dahl books? and which one did you read? he’s my favourite author! πŸ™‚ as for writing letters, heh, that’s what the blog’s for! πŸ˜› it’s probably a more cathartic process to actually write out your thoughts, though, then tear the paper up. i tried doing it once, but my thoughts were so scrambled i just coloured the whole paper with my pencil!

  18. 18 Poonam Sharma May 5, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I loved Roald Dahl books, specially his boyhood tales (written himself), Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I recommend reading the illustrated versions. They were fun. πŸ™‚ I read other Road Dahls as well. Which ones are your favorites?

    In fact, there is a friend on your blogroll, I guess nightwriter who posts letters on her blog. I liked her style. And your our blog posts can also be letter. I sometimes end up writing rotten letters in frustration and anger. 😦 and all thoughts are haphazard, Queer thing is that I think of that letter as my creation just as you would consider your poems and writings. 😦

  19. 19 sulz May 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    yay! πŸ˜€ my favourite books by him are my uncle oswald (this is soooo hilarious, you must read it if you haven’t… it’s a bit x-rated, but it makes up for the funniness, haha) and danny, champion of the world, which is about a father-son relationship that is just so dreamy… i love the books which are your favourite too! πŸ™‚

    yes, nightwriter she is, is mia atm though. 😦 i see my blog more as an open diary, heh. if i were to write letters, it would be much much more personal, trust me! there’d be a lot more sex, for instance. :mrgreen:

    hey, many letters by authors are published as part of books, because it tells a lot about the author; so you’re right, it is like a literary creation too to an extent. πŸ™‚

  20. 20 Poonam Sharma May 6, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Sulz, I have not read both Uncle Ostwald and Danny, Champion of the World. Though I have heard a lot about the latter. I am downloading both the books now. I will surely read soon, if you recommend it. πŸ™‚

    mia atm? What is that? I would love to read your letters then (with loads of sex) :P, but I guess I should be a lady and pass over opportunity to read personal stuff. πŸ˜‰ But you could write a bestseller book out of your letters and pass them as your imagination when your books come out.

  21. 21 sulz May 6, 2008 at 9:16 am

    mia atm = missing in action at the moment! haha πŸ˜€

    oh yes, i definitely recommend them, seeing as they are my favourite dahl books!

    wow, imagine if i could compile my posts into a book… that’s quite fantastical to me!

  22. 22 Poonam Sharma May 7, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Actually many star bloggers have turned their posts into books. Zen habits has sold them as well. πŸ™‚ There are some free softwares that let yo do that. Also, online services are available that would do that for you for money.

    I will read those dahl books and get back. πŸ™‚

  23. 23 Raman May 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I agree with Ruhii…I sleep to clear my mind..If I find it diffcult to sleep (ppl at home etc.) I go out for a jog and run until I tire myself (a couple of times had to catch an auto to come back home). But normally, these depression attacks happen at the workplace – then I go ahead and take up a job with an impossible deadline which ensure I forget abt everything else…

  24. 24 Poonam Sharma May 12, 2008 at 8:14 am

    yes, Raman, sleeping must work for many. Not much for me though. Sometimes I cant sleep well in depression (thank god, its only sometimes). And time when I sleep through in depression, it is back to square one when I wake up. 😦

    yes, working with impossible deadline makes you forget anything, even yourself. I know what you mean.

  25. 25 Harsha May 13, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Nice post! Most of them will help.. Listening to music is the one that i do most while in depression.. 1 hour of listening to my fav playlist makes me completely calm and cheerful πŸ™‚

  26. 26 Poonam Sharma May 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Only music doesn’t work for me. What are your favorite numbers that bring you out of depression?

  27. 27 Harsha May 17, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    I mostly listen to Pink Floyd, RHCP, Metalica, and some instrumentals too. Slow rock songs work for me. πŸ™‚

  28. 28 Prachi June 12, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Hey you know what, you are so right…walks and reading is actually a sure shot cure for fighting a bad bad bout of blues…and did i just sound like a pseudo yankee there? anyway, good post…

  29. 29 Poonam Sharma June 16, 2008 at 9:48 am

    @Harsha: I have heard very few instrumentals. πŸ™‚

    @Prachi: Hey prachi you sound completely all right. I have written this post out of my own experiences. πŸ™‚

  30. 30 autumnsnow July 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    No. 1,2,3,5,9,11, I have been doing them lately….Yes, to keep myself busy and to find someone to talk to and to do something i want. I am surprised to know that write my hurt on paper could help too, i will try it when I feel upset again… mm…i do a lot of No. 9…to eat a lot… sigh, i gained weight lol..

    Most of the ways to beat the depression also work for me too! Thank you poonam to make a sum up here~ I do want to go travelling, i really don’t want to go working or to do something..but not a few days lol. Lately, the frequecy of unwilling to work is almost at the peak! I feel exhausted….

    I am feeling much better than before…in this weekend, i tried to spend my time on reading, going out with friends, and to watch animation at home a lot… Sigh, when i know weekend is END and tomorrow has to work, stress and depress arise again. Always wish one working day end soon, and wish the weekend come soon lol..

    Poonam: Like you, I am facing this no motivation at work syndrome. Howevr, will have to pull up myself. πŸ™‚ I am glad if this post could help you.

  31. 31 ManofRoma September 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    I know I am 5 months late in commenting on this, lol.
    Very interesting post, and very useful, both Poonam’s text and all comments.

    Num 1 and 2 work fine for me. As I’ve said in my posts, I adore reading good stuff, mainly classical authors, and I meditate on them. It gives so much peace to my soul and meaning to the day. Why don’t you try with your outstanding Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan? I am a great (and unheard) advocate of him! Of course anything good can do, also from modern authors.

    Num 3 (TV and movies) doesn’t help me, unless the movie is VERY good and artistic. But this is a personal thing. Nice music concerts on TV work a lot for me. I recently saw Pavarotti performing at Central Park in Polish TV: it was great.
    Dancing, well, we have such disgusting and moronic dancing here in the West, except classical dancing, which is not my forte though.

    7 and 10 work also for me. Playing music was in fact a great consolation, but my right hand doesn’t work well any more, so I had to stop.

    11 (travels) helps me only intermittently.

    Also, as Nita says, getting involved in some activities, works fine for me. But I confess I am getting lazy with age, which is bad, I know.

  32. 32 ManofRoma September 8, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    PS
    Two more things: try to react to sadness with will, or, a totally different thing, I like to wash my body very clean and put on my best clothes. Being well dressed helps me.

  33. 33 falcon September 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    13 ways to beat depression… recommended by the one and only….(fill adjective at ur free will)

    1.. Depress others… nothng workslke sadistic pleasure
    2. Shout… If u can it really helps..any of the hoarse prmitive voices at the top of ur lungs
    3. Punch… if not the person.. then the wall till ur hands start bleeding… ( Preferably a punching bag…)
    4. Go take a bath…with acold water.. a leisurely one…
    5. Since u r tired u will fal lasleep
    6. Have a smoke… booze… “gam ka sathi rum”
    7. Work harder… becomea workaholic
    8. Do calligraphy..and burn all the crap in the morning
    9. go spend some time alone…at a place where there is no one
    10.I hate to say it .. but visit a temple… when it is all quiet…. it soothens your soul
    11. play with ur pet…they are great anti-depressant agent
    12. watch the stars…
    13. talk to me…. U will realize that there can be nothing mor depressing than yours truly

    Grrrrr..your 10 commamdments border to being scary 😦


  1. 1 Guest Post by Poonam! « bloggerdygook Trackback on July 26, 2008 at 9:03 pm

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