When I talk about depression, I’m not talking about the 7% of the U.S. population that is currently diagnosed with depression. I’m talking about “the blues”, the low points found in the common human experience. You know, the valley experiences, the opposite of the mountaintop experiences in which you feel elated, excited, and stoked to be alive!
In depression, you want to pull the cover over your head and stay in bed. All day. Don’t you want to get back to living on the tops of mountains? The trouble is: a lot of us have gotten used to walking through these shadowed valleys while singing the blues. The darkness has become our friend. When did that happen? When did sorrow become valued over joy? When did you decide to park in the valley and just exist, instead of fully embracing life? I always say,
“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”
Yes, be thankful for the insight and maturity that you’ve gained during your blues in the valley. But if this period of blues has gone on long enough, and you’re ready to kick darkness in the teeth and say, “I’m here to clim! Valley of darkness, get out of here!” If that’s where you’re at today, here are…
6 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of Depression:
- Serve Someone Who Needs You: Don’t climb so far inside of yourself that you can’t get out. Get out of your own head. Get out of your own emotions. There’s nothing like finding someone who has a need and meeting that need to help you get perspective on life.
- Be Nice to Yourself: I know this one isn’t easy. We’re so hard on ourselves. Start paying attention to the words, phrases, thoughts bouncing around in your head: Are they kind or unkind? Most of us have hardly anything good to think or say about ourselves. Stop it. Start being nice to yourself. Start identifying those lies and counter them with the truth. What does God say about you? What does God think about you? His thoughts are nothing but loving-kindness toward you. Practice thinking those thoughts. Be nice to yourself.
- Drink a Beer, but Not 7: Moderation. Relax. Grab a Dogfish Head or a glass of pinot noir. Let your hair down. Get a massage. Invest in something that relaxes you, makes you stop, take a deep breath and enjoy the one and only life that was given to you.
- Stop Working So Freaking Hard: See number three. Also remember: “All work and no play makes Jack (and Jill) a dull boy (or girl).”
- Change Your Scenery, Literally: I don’t mean go on some big buck vacation, although that would be nice. What I mean is this: start looking around your life and recognizing ruts. You know, those well-worn pathways that you just, keep plodding along. Where do you always go? What do you do every day? Are you sick enough to be sick of them at this point? Won’t change do you some good? Change your scenery today. Go someplace new. Even though it feels scary, do it.
- Repeat After Me: “I’ve not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind” (1 Timothy 2:7). Then act like it.
What has helped you beat depression? Let me know in the comments below.