5 Tools to Add to Your Toolbox When Battling Depression

Life can be pretty difficult sometimes, and it doesn’t help when you’re dealing with depression on top of everything else. The bad days can feel overwhelming, and you might not know how to help yourself. Luckily, there are a variety of tools to implement when battling depression. From professional assistance to lifestyle adjustments, keep reading for five ways to ease depression’s hold on you.

1. Medication

First of all, it’s important to not shy away from medicinal help. Antidepressants can be extremely beneficial to those dealing with depression. They’re not a crutch, but rather an extra oomph to get you back on your feet. These medications usually work by helping your body better absorb certain mood-boosting hormones.

Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are two of the most common types of antidepressants. These each target different hormones to uplift your mental well-being — dopamine and serotonin, respectively. Wellbutrin is a popular NDRI used to treat clinical depression, and Zoloft and Lexapro are often-prescribed SSRIs.

Some experimenting might be necessary to discover what kind of antidepressant works best for you. It’s not uncommon to have to test more than one to find what fits well and has less side effects, if any. Speaking to a healthcare provider can help you narrow down what medication is most likely to be beneficial.

2. Therapy

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Speaking of medical professionals, don’t overlook the power of therapy. Licensed counselors, or therapists, are out there to help people. They go through years of school and training to understand the human mind and conditions like depression. Use this resource to your advantage and consider what a therapist can do for you.

One-on-one therapy is a very personalized experience. You’ll meet with a therapist on a regular basis to talk about your goals and what’s holding you back. These meetings serve as a time to be open and honest for the sake of improving yourself. So, make sure you don’t sugarcoat your feelings, and let it all out for your own benefit.

Once you’ve shared your struggles and your aspirations, your therapist will help you create a personalized plan to accomplish your goals. You’ll work together to make mini goals that lead up to your long-term goals. This makes the process of tackling your fears less intimidating and more encouraging.

Think of a therapist as a life coach of sorts, helping you devise a game plan for thriving in this crazy world. They’ll cheer you on and offer the support and ‘exercises’ you need along the way. And if you’re open to group therapy, you’ll have an even bigger support system to check in with.

3. A Support System

Having a strong support system is a crucial element of staying uplifted despite depression. Overcoming this condition can be difficult on your own, and knowing there are people who have your back can be encouraging.

A support system is generally a person or group of people who you can trust with personal information. It’s not usually the best idea to share your struggles with acquaintances, but rather professionals, family members, or long-term friends. Think of someone who you know respects you and wants to help you succeed — they could be considered part of this system.

Having people who cheer you on during life’s toughest battles is a way to support progress. That’s why group therapy and self-help groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, are so widely recommended. Being surrounded by others who understand what you’re going through can help you feel seen. Additionally, group members can encourage each other, offer tried-and-true advice, and celebrate milestones together.

4. Literature on the Subject

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Self-help books are often widely underrated. Unfortunately, many people hold onto the stigma about this kind of reading material as being cheesy. The reality is that these books are designed to be positive and uplifting, all the while giving you tips to overcome depression.

Another great aspect of self-help literature is that there are so many kinds of books out there. These can cover different coping mechanisms, understanding how trauma develops, or other helpful tidbits.You can find books that delve into mindfulness techniques, which help readers manage stress and anxiety effectively. There are also many titles focused on building resilience, which provide strategies to overcome challenges and develop a stronger mental well-being. You’ll be sure to find something that fits your personal situation, which can be especially helpful.

5. Change

Sometimes making changes in your life can be a valuable tool. Learning how to tweak small parts of your lifestyle can make a big impact in the long run. To do this, you’ll need to do a self-assessment and note what you struggle with the most. A self-assessment might involve reflecting on your daily routines, identifying triggers for stress or negative emotions, and pinpointing areas where personal growth is needed.

Then you just need to make changes that will ease the stress of a particular symptom or struggle related to your depression. For example, if you tend to oversleep due to your depression, work on being more of a morning person. Establish a morning routine, set an alarm, pick your outfit the night before, and go to bed earlier. Little steps like this can affect how your days begin, which can affect your mood for the rest of the day.

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Combine These Tools as Needed

Baby steps are always a good start when making changes in your life. When it comes to battling depression, change is necessary to overcome the condition. Surveying your resources to get started on your mental health journey is a good place to begin. Know your options, and choose the best plan of action based on your personal needs and long-term goals. When combined, these resources can make a large impact, allowing you to become the best version of yourself.