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How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

Photo by Sandra Lara

Since the start of this year, and for 8 months following that, I have been battling with feeling depressed. And even though I thought I had overcome it during the first few months, its devastating effects lingered and haunted me in subtle ways.

It wasn’t until a series of personal struggles and more episodes of emotional breakdowns that followed, did it eventually “crack” me and had bring me back to a place of serenity.

This is a slice from that story.

I have been writing and rewriting this article on and off for several months, each time exposing different details and insights. With every version, I would allow self-doubt or excuses to over take me, I would then scrap the piece and start over.

Truth be told, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I was ashamed at who I had become. I felt lost. I was struggling with everything and I had to “stand up” again.

Then it occurred to me that, sharing my struggles with you is a good thing. It exposes my own battles, the techniques which help me overcome them, and what I have learned through the experience.

It also shows you that all of us are in this together, in that we all dip into the pit falls of life’s turbulence, but we always recover, and often as a better person.

Depression doesn’t heal overnight, and even though we experience heightened states of happiness during the healing process, complete healing takes time and a lot of loving patience for your self.

I am a believer that things in our lives happen for a reason, a purpose greater than our selves, often greater than what we can fully comprehend.

When “bad” things happen, we have two choices, we can blame and prolong our victim identity, sinking deeper into our victim story, OR, we can choose to see the experience as a gift, an opportunity for personal growth, to expand our self-understanding, to expand our capacity to love ourselves, and to expand our capacity of compassion for others.

I choose to see what happened to me as a gift. The Universe loves me so much that she gave me a series of challenges that knocked me down. She knows that I have within me, all that I need to stand up again.

Like a loving mother, watching her baby learning to walk, she’ll have to allow the child to fall, sometimes hurting herself on the hard floor. The child may cry in pain and protest, but the mother must not interfere, allowing the child to learn on her own. Soon the child learns how to stand, then walk, then run. The Universe is the same way.

I choose to see what happened to me as stepping-stones to learning incredible life lessons that I wouldn’t gain any other way.

I choose to see what I experienced as a pathway of awakening, to discover the sacred within me, which also lies in every one of you.

I choose to view the events that lead to what I experienced as an act of compassion from the Universe, so that I can share my understanding to others experiencing similar pain.

Life is really very good, but we forget sometimes that we have choices at every step of the way. We have the choice to act or react. We have the choice of perspective. We have the choice of stepping back, taking a deep breath, and then moving forward deliberately.

We have the choice of creating, with the power of our mind, how we want the story of our lives to go.

Every moment of everyday, we have a clean slate, in which we can decide what our future will be. If we don’t do so consciously and deliberately, we simply bring what was once in the past into the future, and repeatedly live in the pain of the past.

Every time we tell someone our story of pain, where we play the victim, we are creating the same pain in our future. So, if you want a future free from pain, a future free from the past, tell a different story. Stop complaining, stop looking for sympathy from others, stop dwelling on all the unfairness that life has put you through.

Life is very short, and it is very beautiful – but only if we choose to see it as such. Do you really want to waste the limited time we have on this planet by dwelling on something that happened in the past, which is no longer real? Or choosing with deliberate intention to live life fully, to appreciate the everyday miracles we once took for granted, to focus on things that makes us happy and fulfilled.

3 Steps to Live Consciously & Stop Feeling Depressed

Like many of us, you may be experiencing some sort of problem on your side of the world. The fastest way to free yourself from your problems is the following steps:

Step 1: Stop Creating Problems

Recognize that you don’t want to recreate the problem in your future.

Try asking yourself,

  1. “Do I really want to spend my precious time on this planet worried/concerned about this?”
  2. “Do I want this worry/concern in my future?”

Recognize that your life will be better if you stop focusing on the problem.

Try asking yourself,

  1. “Will my life end if I stop worrying about this?”
  2. “What will happen if I stop worrying about this?”

When you choose to stop focusing on problems and pain, it doesn’t mean that the problem will magically go away. It means that even though the problem still exists on some level, you are choosing to no longer allow it to affect you emotionally. You are choosing to no longer waste energy on it.

Step 2: Focus on What Makes You Happy

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
~ Buddha

Shift your focus towards things that make you feel good. What memories or thoughts make you smile, or feel good when you think about them? Use this memory as an anchor to shift your focus towards something more positive when you need it.

As you go about your day, regularly ask yourself, “What would I be happy doing?”, “What would make me happy right now?”, and then do those things.

Consciously doing things that make you feel good, not only shifts your thought pattern to a more positive one, thus attracting better feeling thoughts and experiences, it also makes you less susceptible to the emotional dips that come the with challenges that life presents us with.

Step 3: Refill Your Consciousness Tank

Conscious awareness is like a muscle, and to keep it healthy and functioning optimally, we need to regularly give it sufficient exercise. What exercise it needs is an individual choice, and one that your inner wisdom knows best. Here are some suggestions:

  • Meditation – no need to formalize this or over think it. Just sit some where quietly for 10-20 minutes, and consciously focus on your breath. When a thought comes, just gently allow it to pass and put your focus back on your breath. The results from this will bring miracles to your life in leaps and bounds (trust me, I’m speaking from personal experience).
  • Yoga – consciously moving your body, and stretching your body with awareness. Yoga is meditation with movement. Not only is it incredible for your consciousness, it does wonders for your physical body. After doing yoga (consciously), it feels as it you’ve had a massage. It is so relaxing and wonderfully healing.
  • Creative Engagement – Take up a hobby that draws on your creativity. Things such as: writing, dancing, drawing, wood working, scrap booking, etc. You fill in the blank with what makes your heart sing. For me, activities that make me feel creative are: writing, graphic design, and photography. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it, do it if it makes you feel creative. That’s the point: that you feel good. If you feel stuck not knowing what to do, I highly recommend getting the book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”.
  • Mindful Practice – being conscious in all that you do, by placing your full awareness in the doing of things. When you’re walking, put your full awareness on your feet, and the feeling of walking. When you’re washing dishes, put your full awareness on your hands and the act of cleaning your dishes. When you’re drinking a glass of water or sipping your cup of coffee in the morning, put your full awareness into the enjoyment of that drink. You can be mindful about anything (even in the bedroom *wink*).
  • Journaling – no need to formalize this. Just grab a pen, a notebook or some loose paper, a glass of water or a mug of tea, and find a quiet place to start dumping what’s on your mind. It’s an incredible practice that allows you to sort out the random thoughts running in your head, and teaches you introspection that leads to a better understanding of yourself. Turning this into a ritual is very rewarding and feeds the soul. I like to do this when everyone’s asleep, then I climb onto my favorite reading chair, turn on the reading light and some candles, curl up in a ball and start writing.
  • Inspirational Reading – reading something that makes you feel empowered, inspired and motivated is not only a positive boost to your psyche, but also reminds you of the magnificence of your Being, and how powerful you are in the creative design of your life. Don’t treat inspirational reading like a fictional book, where you read from front to back and then move on to the next one. If you find something that inspires you, come back and revisit it regularly. I find myself going back to re-read the same book, over and over.
  • Questioning Life – questioning and analyzing your decisions and actions through out your daily life is a good practice to bring more conscious awareness into your day-to-day living. Even when you’ve taken unconscious action, analyzing what happened can be an enriching experience. Find a friend who you can talk about it with, or write it in a journal, or blog about it (like what I’ve done here).

Parting Words on Feeling Depressed

“You cannot control what happens to you,
but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you,
and in that, you will be mastering change
rather than allowing it to master you.”

~ Sri Ram

If you’re currently battling with feeling depressed, or even irritability from life’s problems, I suggest the following personal advice from me to you:

Be gentle with yourself.

It’s okay to feel bad. Healing takes time. Don’t be ashamed.

Take time to love yourself. Take time to get to know yourself.

Meditate for 20 minutes a day. You’ll be glad you did.

Take your self to Starbucks, get your favorite drink (I like white chocolate mocha or hot chai latte), find a comfortable seat, relax and do some people watching.

Expose yourself to people that makes you feel good and leave you feeling energized, instead of deleted.

First thing in the morning, drink a fresh glass of water, do some deep breathing, and then stretch your body out (yoga poses if possible, but optional).

Last thing before sleep, give gratitude for everything you are thankful for, starting with your body and your breath.

Whenever you are feeling cranky or sad, remind yourself to take a long deep breath.

Get a copy of “You Can Heal Your Life” and “Loving What Is” and (if you haven’t already) “The Power of Now”, and read them. Expose yourself to encouraging words of wisdom everyday, I repeat, every single day!

Are you interested in hearing more on the topic of Depression? Let me know your interest in the comments. Got a story you want to share? Speak your mind and share your thoughts with us in the comment section. We’ll see you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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104 thoughts on How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

  1. gill

    Easy to write this sort of thing after the event. I hoped to find something new to help me. Same old, same old.

  2. thank you so much for sharing this. im always battling negative thoughts especially about my achievements in life and my appearance. Constantly putting myself down is getting really tiring and frustrating and Im trying to look for ways to stop it. Ive tried meditating but a lot of the time i just get bombarded with thoughts and can’t relax. Ill keep trying so hopefully i get better at it. Thank you again, im so glad i read this, it has really inspired me to get better

  3. Miriam Portilla

    Thanks for this article… it was inspirational. I often wish I could do things but I can not drive and my ex left me with 3 small children… I am a happy person and put on a smile at work for the world to see but inside I feel alone, stuck and unhappy. I have no family willing to watch my kids as they either live too far or have multiple kids themselves. I want to go do things but with three kids on a bus it is difficult. What can you suggest if anything.

  4. Steven

    Well I must say I fell across this artical, due to feeling a little down and lonley. But the fact of the matter is that it is through choice. I dont want to go out but I dont want to stay in either. It is alittle like i hate being alone but hate people. We interprept what we think as feelings in the most part, its how we work, and if you fall into the negative cycle then down you go, and while not depressed myself I could get worse and worse until it became life threatening, been there.

    Lets be fair, there is no cure. Just different states of joy and one persons happy could be either total sadness or complte bliss to someone else.

    Great post and good advice for a great many people if not everyone, but what do I know, I’m only human.

  5. Jon

    I find that in switching off to what happened and managing to stop worrying about it I seem to have lost that ability to get started with things.
    Its almost like I’ve got really bad (or is it good) at delaying things till the last second. Food needs doing so it gets done when its required but I can live without sorting the garden or completing the decorating for example, I am aware such things need doing but it just seems to get left. In switching off to the past I almost seem to have lost my conscience for what I ought to be doing or even the ability to take pleasure or enjoy. I can see how what your article recommends is good, its just how do I manage to kick-start myself for each activity?
    Can you recommend anything?

  6. expect the best.. and give thanks to the lorn when you experience something grand..

    I promise good things will come to you…

  7. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the
    web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider
    worries that they just do not know about. You
    managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the
    whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a
    signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  8. bellarina

    I suffer from depression and it’s an onward struggle for me. Some moments I feel incredible and other moments I feel really down. The suffering from my depression can be really horrible and having more information about depression would be great!

    • Greetings @Bellarina !
      I gather from that, me and you are perhaps at the same stage…
      If i was to put it down to anything i would say that depression never actually completely leaves us, in a way its one of our emotions which has been magnified to extreme force due to certain triggers, Therefore its always there to remind us of how far we have come, how we are still here, still standing & moving forward.

      I totally agree with this blog… I find that ‘Meditation’ & breathing techniques work amazing wonders.

      And to mention the quote above in the blog from Budda ‘The Mind is Everything, What you think, You become.’ …. Live by that!

      Always look on the bright side people!
      Im here for anyone vice-versa :)

  9. Roopa

    Too good article….
    needed such words from so many days….thanks a lot
    now i have started loving myself than just thinking abt other who really never care for us…
    we just end up our beautiful day thinking abt such ppl
    i kn…it will still continue but at least i will try to cope up with it…
    Thanks once again!!!

  10. What an inspiring piece! I got a LOT out of this. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  11. Bela

    I have come to realise that I am depressed and have alot of anxiety, and its affecting my relationship with my boyfriend, so there is times I just crack, and he just switches off from me. There is times I dont trust him, also he has lied to me a few times, and he isnt a very easy person to talk to, can not seem to let him know that i am feeling depressed, im not sure how he will react. I would appreciate your advise.

  12. Tiffany R. Gomez

    No one is safe when it comes to depression. Even the most joyful person could also experience such situation when the time comes. What matters most is that we have to deal with it the positive way and peers and loved ones should be there during such crucial times.

  13. Pat

    I am old, 75; I cannot do things I used to enjoy; now what. I dont want to get out of bed anymore.

    • Megan

      I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, Pat. Do you have anyone to talk to? Perhaps talking to a doctor might be helpful. Hang in there. I hope you are able to feel better soon.

    • JT

      Sorry to hear that @Pat. I am not 75 but i do understand the struggle that leaves you not wanting to get out of bed. Normally, this painful depression is treated through meds and consultation, but i feel that you might as well try something new and exciting such as smoking marajuana. I hope that that helps. sorry i can’t write a longer post

  14. holly

    I am very depressed because I cannot find a decent sexual relationship. I am 50 and it appears the men my age are no longer interested or suffer from ED. Right now I am sleeping with a married man but I cannot see him often. His wife is my age and he says she is no longer interested in such things. I believe him because he tells he he desperately wants his wife back.

  15. Bee

    This is a nice article for people who are feeling down. One thing to bear in mind, though, with clinical depression is that you cannot simply choose to “not feel depressed” any more than a diabetic can choose not to feel diabetic. Clinical depression and episodes can actually happen with or without “depressing” situations. Sometimes, you feel horrible for absolutely no reason, not because of lack of having what you want in life. It’s not always about what happens to you, it can also be your actual chemical makeup.

  16. Matt

    I have been really struggling for months now . I have recently hit a very low point and am on the verge of tears at any time. I have decided that I really need to talk with other people that understand how I feel as I don’t want to feel this way any longer. Just wanted to get a few words out . Thanks

  17. Lynne

    I found your article very good, and am going to try a lot of your suggestions. I have been feeling quite down for several months now. When I go to bed and try to sleep all the feelings of hurt, anger, regrets overpower me and I don’t sleep well. Have weird bad dreams, some recurring. My husband has not been well for most of this year, lung infection, and allergic to the meds they gave him. Waiting to try something else. My family has nothing to do with me, they’ve been really mean to me for no reason. My dad has always treated me like the lowest of his 3 daughters, and has said a lot of hurtful things to me over many years. I have no family nearby, 2-1/2 hours away my kids are and I seldom hear from them. It’s not easy to just “go out” as money always seems to be a problem and is one of the biggest issues when my husband and I get into an argument. Both of us are trying, semi retired but working p/t. I like to paint on canvas and do beadwork but don’t have the ambition, for that or much of anything. Don’t want to sound or be a victim, just tired of feeling this way……… will try the meditation, yoga, and any suggestions are most welcome, thanks

  18. Matt

    What you are talking about is Dysthmia or mild depression. You obviously have no idea what depression actually is. It’s something that can’t be “willed” away by fairies, Starbucks and an apparently gender defined benevolent universe. Depression takes away your Will, Motivation and Hope. Good luck with mindfulness exercises once you’ve had these ripped from you…. although that would never happen to you because it’s a “choice” that you’ve made.

    Your article is damaging and the type of opinion that contributes to the high rates of suicide due to the stigma that is attached to mental illness.

  19. Hi Tina, very helpful article. I have a counter-intuitive way to get out of depression though. It is to feel angry. I’m a person that don’t get angry easily. But not feeling angry block me from feeling all my emotions fully. So last month when I was feeling depressed, I felt kinda trapped and not energy to do things like yoga. Later in the month, I became angry and released all my emotions. That allows me to get more energy and get my engine started to do things you mentioned above.

  20. Kezza

    Interesting article and very simple things to do, but its not that easy when in the grips of depression. Dysthymia is a life long melancholy depression with double episodes. I have suffered all my life from awful childhood experiences. Then in my mid forties the death of my most loved precious daughter all I lived for. How do you pull out of this with yoga, mindfulness etc I have tried it all and still trying but the depression is just too great. Now going thru a marriage breakdown and horrible property argument. Where does it end!!! The day I am with my daughter…..

  21. rissa

    I agree that it’s so important to change the program. Begin to speak positively instead of negatively and the good energy you put forth in the world will come back to you. Thank you for this post….I needed to hear it.

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