Finding what works for youEvery person is affected by depression differently, so some strategies will work better than others for each individual person. This page shows how you can find what will work for you.
Which strategies will you try?
Don’t be all-or-nothing about the strategies, though! Plan small steps at first. Because of the mutually-reinforcing effect of the depression habit spiral even very small changes can set off a chain effect that can make a big difference…This website offers a wide range of strategies for tackling depression. The more strategies you try, the more chance you have of finding what works for you in turning the depression spiral around. The easiest first steps are listed in this First Steps section. Understanding your own depression story better (see the ‘Why me? Why now?’ section) may also help you decide which strategies would work best for you.
“What is the smallest change I can make that will make the biggest difference?”
The answer to this will be different for everybody.
Use your imagination
Imagining your depression-free life is another useful strategy:
- Imagine what you would like your life to look like on a day to day basis.
- Write it down in lots of detail (warning: this might be quite painful as the contrast with your present life is likely to be stark).
- Now decide what would be a small first step in the right direction.
- Challenge your all-or-nothing thinking – you only have to see the first step, not the whole route. Every little bit counts!
A depression-resistant way of life
As you try out strategies and start to turn things around, you will have better and worse days. When you’ve started to feel quite a bit better for a while and then depression sneaks up on you and you have another low day the contrast can be particularly painful.
But getting to grips with depression – like most things – is not an all-or-nothing thing. It may not be possible to eradicate some of the factors making you vulnerable to depression (eg. a genetic tendency to low serotonin levels).
Building new constructive habits into your daily life can offer significant resistance to depression.
Take it slow
Changing a habit does take time. You won’t shake off all your depressed habits without time and effort. But, however low depression has brought you, it is absolutely possible to get into more constructive, happier habits and to find the right strategies for you to make sure that depression affects you as little as possible from now on.
You can give yourself an overview of all the many strategies that can help you overcome depression in your life by browsing the Tackle Depression and Get Support sections. Make sure you seek professional and other help if you are moderately or severely affected by depression, especially if you feel you are at risk of harming yourself – all these strategies are easier to use if you have support.
The rest of this Self help First Steps section explains the simplest steps to take that are known to make the quickest difference to low mood and depression. Try these first and then decide what other strategies you would like to try.