Overcoming depression: Self-care

October 3rd, 2023

Biological, psychological, social, and spiritual stress may push us down into depression.

To reverse the downward spiral of depression and instead create an upward spiral, we often need to do the opposite of what depression makes us feel like doing.


Our bodies are made to move. Exercise releases endorphins that relieve physical and emotional pain and make us feel better. Exercise also boosts the neurotransmitter networks of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. It may actually be as potent as antidepressant medication. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation, promotes growth and healthy functioning of the nerve cells, and reduces stress.

Eat well

A plant-based, whole foods diet is good not only for your body but also for your brain. Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, grains, and olive oil. Eat less refined and processed sugary, salty, and fatty foods. 

Sleep well

Quality sleep supports healthy brain functioning. But in depression, sleep is often compromised. Therefore, optimize sleep quantity and quality. Exercise and sunlight during the day help you sleep better at night. Don't use caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or drugs that disrupt sleep. Stay away from screens 1-2 hours before bedtime. End the day with a relaxing routine. 

Seek what's positive

The depressed brain focuses on the negative and overlooks the positive. Redirect its focus. Look for positive things every day and hold on to them. Think, talk, and write about them. Keep a gratitude journal in which you, every evening, write down three specific things that went well that day.  Remind yourself of positive things in your past, and plan positive things in the future. Say positive things to yourself.

Connect with others

Talking, physical touch, and the presence of other people, even strangers or a pet, can improve mood and relieve stress, pain, and anxiety. Reach out to others and let others reach out to you, especially when you don't feel like it.

Connect with something bigger 

…than yourself. Something that may give life meaning, purpose, significance, and hope. One of the best ways to help oneself may be to help others. Focusing on others may help you look beyond your own suffering.

In summary: Look for positive things to fill your life with. It will make your depression more bearable and may even make it go away.

In the next video, we’ll explore effective treatment options for depression.

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