Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 13, 2023
Celebrate Yourself
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Celebrate Yourself

Make a "to do" list to celebrate things you achieve every day. Instead of big things, make a list of practical things. For example: (1) Get out of bed. (2) Wash your face and brush your teeth. (3) Laugh. Make celebrating yourself easy, even when the world may feel like a dark place. You deserve it.

Reggie D. Ford, author, Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction: Breaking the Curse of Intergenerational Trauma as a Black Man in America.

Find a Better Place to Sit
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Find a Better Place to Sit

Activity is your friend. If you feel all you can do is sit, then do it at a mall or a park. Go somewhere where there’s noise, light, and people. If you can do more than sit, that’s even better. Take a walk with a friend. The furthest, darkest corner may look and feel like the best place to be, but no one gets better there.

Tony L. Byler, MD, medical director, AmeriHealth Caritas Behavioral Health

Try Breath Work
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Try Breath Work

Close your eyes and observe your breath. Then start a three-part active breath through your mouth. With your first breath, breathe into your stomach. With the second, breathe into your chest. On the third, breathe out through your mouth. Repeat. You can do this every day for 5 minutes or when you feel sadness, frustration, anger, depression, or low energy.

Melanie Palmietto, associate psychotherapist, Clarity Therapy, New York

Treat Exercise Like Medication
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Treat Exercise Like Medication

Put as much importance on working out as on taking medication. Don't miss a day. If you struggle with motivation, try 10 minutes. You may want to keep going once you’ve started. If you don’t, give yourself a high five and move on with your day. Try different types of exercise until you find one you like. Having a buddy may keep you on track.

Sam Eaton, author, speaker, and founder of the suicide prevention organization Recklessly Alive

Give Depression a Shape and Name
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Give Depression a Shape and Name

Try thinking of depression as a separate part of you, rather than your whole self. Give it a name and shape to help with this: a “dark cloud,” for example, or whatever fits. Practice self-compassion toward this part. Recognize that it has good intentions. Look at it as something that you can coach into healthier ways of coping. A therapist can help with this.

Kassondra Glenn, psychotherapist, Diamond Rehab Thailand

Remember, It’s Not Your Fault
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Remember, It’s Not Your Fault

Think of major depressive disorder as a condition like heart disease or diabetes. Depression doesn’t indicate weakness or moral failure. You can’t say to someone, “Don’t be depressed.” It would be like telling a cardiac patient, “Don’t have chest pain.” It’s not a choice to have depression. It’s a choice to get treatment, and good treatment is available.

Michael V. Genovese, MD, chief medical officer, Acadia Healthcare

Identify and Adjust Your Thinking Traps
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Identify and Adjust Your Thinking Traps

An example of a thinking trap is black-and-white thinking. For example, when you get into an argument with a friend you may think, "Should I still be friends with them or cut off all communication?" Try to see the gray area. It’s possible to adjust your relationship. Changing your thinking can make your life and decisions feel less rigid and challenging.

Camille Tenerife, therapist, Diversified Therapy, Los Angeles

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Tony L. Byler, MD, medical director, AmeriHealth Caritas Behavioral Health, Harrisburg, PA.

Sam Eaton, founder, Recklessly Alive, Minneapolis.

Reggie D. Ford, author, Nashville.

Michael V. Genovese, MD, chief medical officer, Acadia Healthcare, New York.

Kassondra Glenn, LMSW, psychotherapist, Diamond Rehabilitation, Phuket, Thailand.

Melanie Palmietto, LMHC, associate psychotherapist, Clarity Therapy NYC, New York.

Camille Tenerife, LMFT, psychotherapist, Diversified Therapy, Los Angeles.