4 simple tips to overcome depression and enjoy more happiness

4 simple tips to overcome depression and enjoy more happiness

by Cassie Shortsleeve for Mens Health

Looking for a med-free way to lift your mood? Talk it out. A new study in The Lancet adds to an existing body of research suggesting that therapy really does help alleviate feelings of depression.

Six months of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is aimed to change negative thinking patterns and beliefs, reduced symptoms in almost half of depressed people who weren’t responding to antidepressants. And the results lasted for a year.

While real therapy is your best bet if you’re depressed, we wondered: How can you apply CBT to your own life sans a therapist? Here are four easy ways to dig yourself out of the dumps, starting today. (And please, see a doc if you have major depression symptoms, including suicidal thoughts.)

Break a Sweat

CBT is a two-pronged approach: “Half [of the therapy] targets the way you think—your faulty cognitions—and half targets your actions,” clinical psychologist Rob Dobrenski, Ph.D., author of Crazy: Notes on and off the Couch ($16.79; amazon.com), tells MensHealth.com. See, there’s a lot of sedentary behavior that goes along with depression. And adding in moderate cardio three to five times a week adds more than just serotonin to your brain. “You’ll get in better shape, have more self esteem, and be more social,” Dobrenski adds. These are all known mood boosters.

“One of the first things depressed people will say is, ‘when I feel better I will work out,’” Dobresnki says. But the opposite works: Change your behavior and your emotions will follow suit. (See why we call exercise The Drug-Free Depression Cure.)

Grab a Pen

You don’t need to keep a teen diary, but the moment you notice your mood change, write your thoughts down in bullet points, Dobrenski suggests. “One of the hallmarks of depression is assuming that all of your thoughts are true,” he says. “And it’s been shown that with depression, people have skewed thoughts.” When you see your thoughts on paper, you’re more likely to recognize that they’re not all true—maybe they’re too global (“everything is falling apart”), or too dark (“this is the worst day of my life”). Realizing that your thoughts don’t match reality can help bring you back to reality. Pro tip: When you’re done writing, throw the paper out—it’s The Easiest Way to Beat a Bad Mood…

…keep reading the full and original article HERE