Before anyone asks, yes, I personally suffer from depression. While many think it's a choice (much like sexual orientation for some reason) I believe it's genetic, as I come from a family of artists and, let's face it, the most creative people seem to have the biggest mental issues.
The good news is that you don't have to be an unhappy person if you suffer from depression, but learning to smile again is going to take work and dedication if you want to learn how to conquer depression.
Sure, if everyone had the hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on professional counseling, things would be easier, but not everyone has that option, myself included. I had to figure things out on my own and travel my own road to recovery.
Exercise To Clear Your Mind
Have you ever noticed how in the movies or on TV shows people go running when something is on their mind? Sometimes the main character even has a revelation of some sort.
In order to fight depression, you must be able to get into your own head and the only way to do that is to clear everything from it that's preventing you from focusing on the problem (your depression).
Not only does exercise clear your mind, it gives you more focus, makes you feel happy and I even experienced an overall more positive view of life!
Add that to weight loss, and you've got yourself a nice confidence boosting cherry to put on top of your happiness sundae.
Pinpoint The Real Issue
What's REALLY bothering you? Sometimes there's so much going on in our lives that we don't really know which issue has sent us into the depths of mental Hell in the first place. We've been there so long that we think everything is the cause, but usually the culprit is only one or two things that have effected you for a long period of time.
Find out what grudge you're holding. What (or who) made you feel you weren't good enough. Dig into your mind until you figure it out. What was said? What happened? What made you believe what was said or done was true?
This is where you'll feel your emotions escape you. Cry, punch a pillow, run, climb a mountain, do whatever you need to do to empty the grief from your soul because when you're done you'll feel much lighter; You'll feel free.
Admit It To Yourself and Own It!
One huge mistake I made was denying to myself that I suffer from depression. Denial makes you believe there's nothing wrong. Denial makes you pretend you're someone you're not and at the end of the day, you're even more miserable and all that effort you put into pretending is not only exhausting physically, it drags you deeper into a depression, making it harder to come back.
So many people are ashamed to admit they're suffering because they're afraid they will be shut out. Most of the time, when you express your feelings with someone close to you, they understand and have experienced similar feelings. If you ask me, I think part of the reason depression is at its all time high is because life moves much faster than it did years ago.
Admit you're depressed and be willing to accept it, yet do things that will make you feel better without losing who you are inside.
Indulge In Your Hobbies
I know this is cliché, but it works. Pick up some of your favorite hobbies and make time for them. There's something about doing things you enjoy that makes you feel amazing.
If you love to read? Grab a few books from the shelf you never got around to opening. Cook, go to a club and mingle, whatever your hobbies are, make time for them.
No known hobbies? Find some and get good at it. I love losing myself in a good book or creating my own world by writing. The feeling that I've been productive is my drug.
Whatever feeling you get from the things you enjoy doing is your drug. Savor it and keep getting your fix. You'll become happier and people will notice, but most importantly you'll notice and you'll learn to smile again.