If you’re experiencing depression, you’re not alone. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues. There are various therapies and treatments that can be used to help relieve symptoms. And, those treatments are often successful in managing depression. What you might not know is there are also things you can do to feel empowered, support your treatment, and improve your sense of emotional well-being.

Here are some tips from an Atlanta depression counselor for overcoming your depression:

Lifestyle Matters

There is good evidence that lifestyle, particularly, the big three, diet, exercise and sleep, can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being. Exercise stimulates the brain to release those “feel good” endorphins and seems to help the brain “re-wire” itself in healthy ways. Good sleep hygiene is important too. Poor sleep can make depression worse.

Find Your Plan B

Depression is notorious for giving people a kind of negative tunnel-vision. You can’t see the positive for all the negative thoughts swirling about. Left unchecked, it can leave you in a state of emotional paralysis thinking things will never get better. What can you do? Look up and look around. Remind yourself that things are not hopeless and that you do have healthy options. Find your plan B.

Challenge That Negative Thinking

When it comes to dealing with depression, a lot of what you’ll do is mental work – changing the thinking patterns that keep you stuck. The negative thinking that comes with depression makes you a master of self-criticism and leads to assuming the worst about yourself. Negative thoughts are illogical so applying logic makes sense. It’s a powerful tool you can use to confront those thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “No one likes me,” ask yourself, “what evidence do I have for that?” or “I’ll never succeed at that,”, challenge it with “Is that likely to happen?” Look for the facts not the feelings. It takes practice but over time you can learn to confront those negative thoughts before they take hold.

Do Something New

If your depression has you in a rut and wanting to stay in bed with the covers pulled over your head, it’s time for a change. Depression has a way of keeping you in an emotional rut where everything feels overwhelming. Make a plan to so something new or different. Take a walk in the park. Read a new book while sitting on the park bench. Take a class you’ve been wanting to try. The point is to do something different. When you challenge yourself to do something different, it creates positive changes in the brain that are associated with pleasure.  

Ask for Help

If you find yourself struggling with depression, it’s ok to ask for help from friends, or loved ones, or even an Atlanta depression counselor. You don’t have to struggle alone. Help is available in-person and even online so that you can see a counselor in the ways that feel right for you.