How to Overcome Depression: 6 Vital Tips

How to Overcome Depression when you have depression you do not have the energy to do anything, you have a very negative opinion of yourself and you think the future will be black.

How to overcome depression

However, it can be solved; you can feel more energetic, improve your self-esteem and start enjoying life.

“I am terribly tired, sad, and unwell. I feel pain but I do not know where, it is everything and nothing. Confusion. I know I must go to work but only the idea of ​​facing the shower unleashes a terrible pressure on my chest, my heart is agitated, I cannot breathe, I feel a restlessness that I cannot stop … I have not slept well … everything appears dark. I do not feel like doing anything. Or anyone. I wonder what sense it has to follow, … ” (Anonymous testimony) .

These words capture the chilling testimony of what the world represents for a person suffering from the devastating disease called major depressive disorder.

Depression is, in Sapolsky’s words “the worst illness you could suffer.” Why affirm this? Because it is devastating, it affects a large number of people throughout the world regardless of age (estimates speak for 350 million people affected 11 ), is the fourth leading cause of disability in the world today (according to the World Organization of the Health 11 ) and it is estimated that between 2020 and 2025 will be the second (ahead of obesity or diabetes!).

But not all bad news because, unlike many other diseases, depression can be cured. There are effective treatments for depression.

The World Health Organization argues that, in cases of moderate depression, psychosocial treatments are the most effective option  whereas, if we are talking about severe depression (more than two years suffering from the pathology), this type of treatment should be In addition  accompanied by medication 11.

Also Read: 10 Natural Remedies for Depression Effective

There is now a lot of confusion about what the term depression means. This is not a unitary concept, but it encompasses a wide spectrum of mood alterations with a single common denominator, pathological sadness.

We are talking about a common spectrum with similar causes and symptomatology, although of different gravity. Major depressive disorder may be episodic or  recurrent and may or may not be aggravated by seasonal changes 9 .

It involves sleep disturbances (insomnia, drowsiness or unrepairable sleep), a feeling of continuous fatigue, concentration and memory problems,  obsession, anxiety , guilt and, among other things, disturbs the ability of those who suffer from perceiving and appreciating the pleasures of Life 9 .

Humans have an extraordinary ability to experience pleasure in many domains. What could be worse than a disease that has as a defining symptom the inability to feel pleasure?

It has recently been discovered that in patients with depression the cerebral circuit of pain is overactivated. This corroborates the testimonies  recurring patients suffering claim torment, agony and, in more severe cases, patients begin to see death as a way  feasible output 10 .

What I would like to share with you today are the therapeutic approaches that have been proven effective and empirically endorsed in many  studies and which should be used before deciding to start a medication.

First of all I would like to clarify that the support of a health professional, whether psychologist or psychiatrist, is paramount, since only a professional  can guide you and help you understand what is happening to you; Reminding you at every moment that, it is not your fault.

6 Tips for Overcoming Depression

1-Include omega-3 in your diet

How to overcome depression including simple and small changes or contributions in your diet could be that push you need to arm yourself with strength. Why not try?

Several epidemiological and clinical case studies suggest that simply increasing the consumption of omega-3- rich long-chain unsaturated fatty acids  results in a significant improvement in the depressive symptoms 2,3,4,4,5,6 .

Among them, it is possible to distinguish between foods containing omega-3 subtype EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) versus subtype DHA  (docosahexaenoic acid), since only the former (EPA) have a clinically and scientifically consolidated efficacy 1 .

Let’s translate this into practice. Some foods rich in omega-3 subtype EPA are fatty fish or natural fish oil, enriched beverages  with omega-3 eggs (80mg / 100g), turkey (30mg / 100g) and calf (20mg / 100g) 7 .

What fish are the ideals?

  • Royal salmon> 2000mg / 100g.
  • Mussels 950mg / 100g.
  • Silver School 400mg / 100g.
  • Lorcha 310mg / 100g.
  • Oysters 300mg / 100g.
  • Canned tuna 230mg / 100g.
  • Snapper 220mg / 100g.
  • Lose 100mg / 100g.
  • Tiger prawn 100mg / 100g.

The best thing of all is to know that, in reality, humans only require that 1% of our fat intake is long chain omega-3, so  a slight change will result in a noticeable difference in your mood 8 .

Here you can find more food against depression.

2-Expose to sunlight

Globally known as light therapy or lumino- therapy, it has finally been demonstrated in 2005 with no possible leaf turn, that exposure to ” bright or white light  ” is associated with a significant reduction in the severity of the symptoms of depression 12 .

Sunlight is white light and is so named because it emits similar amounts of light in all the colors of the spectrum. Do not hesitate, why not  go to sunbathing? Of course, with protection.

This reminds me of something I have learned working at the University of Geneva . It is amazing to see how the quality of light in an animal  can make the animals relaxed and happy forming their family or, on the contrary, can lead them to experience anxiety,  stereotyped behaviors (like running in circles for hours) and Even to be aggressive with members of their community.

With light quality, I mean that if the light source is white (a bright and clear light), the animals will be happy. If the light is yellow,  being vulgar, the catastrophe is coming.

The key word in the effectiveness of this therapy is ” melatonin “. What is it? It is this hormone in both humans and mammals whose function  is to regulate circadian rhythmicity 13 .

How is it regulated? Although it sounds like science fiction, the light that reaches our eyes and, therefore, our retinas, is not all intended for the sense of  sight.

Part of it travels to the suprachiasmatic nucleus and then to the hypothalamus , pineal gland and other cerebral structures responsible for the  production and release of hormones into the blood system.

(Clarification: the light is not the one that travels, but the electrical signals produced at synaptic level).

3-Sleep Hygiene

The relationship between sleep and depression is comparable to the whiting that bites its tail.

On the one hand, most people with depression claim to suffer some kind of sleep disturbance (not all people!), with insomnia being the most common.

On the other hand, although vulnerability to mood disorders is not a simple consequence of sleep disturbances, longitudinal studies have documented that insomnia is a risk factor for its development 14, 15.

Having said that, it will not come as a surprise to you that many of the brain areas involved in the pathophysiology of depression and sleep disorders are the same! 16,17 (yes, not all).

The relationship between sleep and mood is very complex. If this topic is of your special interest, I suggest that you take a look at the magnificent work of  Michael E. Thase 18 .

Let us now turn to practice, How to improve sleep hygiene?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be more effective in the long-term than sedative-hypnotic medication 18 which, on the other hand, is addictive (how difficult it is to quit smoking, such as hypnotic medication).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy bases its treatment on stimulus control and arousal control techniques. In case it sounded Chinese, I translate it in a few simple indications:

  • Lie down and get up every day at about the same time (if it’s the same, better).
  • Get up in the sun or use bright lights when you wake up (what does this remind you of?).
  • Try not to drink alcohol near bedtime (alcohol will help you stay asleep, but the quality of your sleep will be terrible: farewell  REM stage and sleep slow waves, why sleep then?). Look here more negative consequences of alcohol.
  • Avoid consumption of stimulant foods, drinks or drugs during the afternoon and evening (when I talk about drugs I also include the word  drugs: nicotine, for example, is a stimulant and, above all, you are your slave … I also).
  • Establish a relaxation routine before bed (a warm bath, relaxing music, interesting reading, you choose!). Also, try to  dine lightly at least two hours before bed (this will also help you much more than you think to get a bikini body).
  • Finally and, very importantly, the bed is for sleeping (except one exception). Do not lie in bed with the computer, or the cell phone, or a book, or watch TV or anything. Why? All these activities are incompatible with sleep and your brain will learn and adapt. We must not forget that we are animals.


” The human being is not designed for a sedentary lifestyle, locked up, socially isolated, loaded with fast food, sleep deprived and  frantic ” 10

Although it seems a lie, depression talks about biology, look at where you look at it. It is at this point that I would like to recommend a book called “Why  zebras do not have ulcer ” of my admired Sapolsky. The title of the book says it all; never forget what we are or where we come from.

The person who suffers from depression with the naked eye seems lethargic, slow, irresponsible, etc. But, as almost always, appearances deceive.

A depressed person has a constant, though cyclic, sustained and intense stress response. His brain produces adrenaline without stopping, his kidneys work madly, his head does not stop thinking and thinking. He is a person prepared for fight or flight. The problem is that there is no need to run away and there is never time to fight.

Let’s think again, zebras, lions, elephants and other animals in nature, far from the human hand, do not have ulcers. The humans do.

5-Physical exercise

This advice is linked to the explanation I provide in the previous point. Since the brain and body of a depressed person is over activated, if he wants to flee and fight, it is best to do so.

I speak in a figurative sense; do not fight against anyone or any situation, because in reality, nothing of your environment is threatening. I’m referring  to you, to find yourself much better if you find yourself depressed, to fool your brain is the way to win the battle.

Do physical exercise. Make your brain believe that you’ve already run away from the cheetah. Do you feel continually as if a cheetah chases you  ?

6-Social support

What is it? According to Cobb social support “is defined in terms of the information that the person owns and makes him believe that he is loved, loved and esteemed and that he is a member of a network with mutual obligations.”

There are several types of social support: emotional, structural and functional 19 :

  • Among them, the emotional one is the most linked to health, causing an instant improvement effect and, according to Grav, buffering effect  or long-term well-being.
  • Structural support refers to the amount, density, and frequency of contact with people in your social network. The more, the better.
  • Functional support talks about your role within your social network. Being and feeling an active part of your social group will make you feel much better about yourself.

On many occasions you will feel that others do not understand you and you will find it frustrating to hear the word “cheer” once more.

In those moments when the body asks you to say goodbye to find a place where you can “be calm”, do yourself a favor and remember that, just as  you are not to blame for being suffering so much, others are not guilty either Not knowing how to react or help you.