Best Practices for Depression
October 27, 2015 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm on the upswing(fingers crossed) after a year-long bout with depression. Finally found the right combination of medication + therapy to help me get to a slightly better place. However, now that I finally have the energy to start improving myself, I'm at a loss of what to do. I'm looking for concrete life changes that I can make now that I have the motivation to better. Anything with scientific data attached is ideal, although anecdata is appreciated as well.

Things I'm already working on: gym, meditation, eating "well"(still working on what this means).
posted by aleatorictelevision to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Not scientific in the slightest, and it might sound way too obvious, but I've found that the #1 most important thing to do when I'm on an upswing is to immediately start setting my future, probably-back-to-being-depressed-again self up for success in as many ways as possible. Try to make it so that the most stressful aspects of your life will seem less stressful when you're not feeling quite as capable of dealing with stress.

If something pops into your head that you were seriously neglecting while you were bummed -- old receipts need organizing, old clothes and housewares need sorting and donating, old friends need contacting, whatever's just been piling up -- don't say "huh! gonna get on that sometime!" and add it to a to-do list, get up and do it right that minute. It will take less time to accomplish than you think, et voilĂ : Not only did you take care of something concrete and get rid of a thorn in your side, but you'll never be able to use that specific thing as a cudgel against yourself if/when you're sad again, either.
posted by divined by radio at 10:29 AM on October 27, 2015 [10 favorites]

The Depression Cure by Stephen Ilardi goes through six very concrete and manageable changes you can make, with scientific evidence. I found it incredibly helpful, even if some of the effect was just by way of feeling like I could DO something. (Don't be put off by the title - he's not claiming that this is one magic cure-all or that medication & therapy aren't also useful.)
posted by cogitron at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Whoops--to avoid being coy about the Six Concrete Things in the book, they are:
1) omega-3 and vitamin D supplementation
2) strategies to stop rumination
3) exercise
4) light therapy
5) social interaction
6) healthy sleep

It sounds like you're already doing some of these, but the specific evidence for each is helpful in maintaining motivation to keep working on them (and so you know how much is "enough"). Omega-3, vitamin D, and light therapy might be least likely to be part of your approach already, and they're worth considering!
posted by cogitron at 10:41 AM on October 27, 2015 [12 favorites]

I know exercise is good but studies show that walks in nature are important. Link
Chart of depression treatments
posted by ReluctantViking at 10:44 AM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]

Are there any specific sticking points that you hope to change? I personally felt a lot better after moving, because I was able to leave behind a lot of clutter. The clutter was one of my barriers to getting and keeping my head above water and getting rid of that barrier was important--to me. Anything like that that you'd like to change?
posted by Wilbefort at 12:23 PM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Exercise. Doesn't much matter what. Find something you like and stick with it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2015

Cognitivie Behavorial Therapy. Neuroplasticity.
Cultivating Happiness.
posted by falsedmitri at 5:39 PM on October 27, 2015

My therapist really helped me with mindfulness. My mind just runs away from me and I burst into tears. She told me, I should notice five things about my current environment. Because, what I was imagining, was not my realistic experience.

So, that is what I am recommending. You should look into resources about mindfulness.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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