Dealing With Depression, Part Four

In our last post, we discussed the importance of keeping our minds occupied with good things so that they don’t have time to dwell on the bad.  Today, I would like to address doing the same with our bodies.  Now, I’m not talking about nutrition here because we already discussed that, though I would like to add that moderate exercise 3-5 days a week goes a long way toward improving symptoms of depression.  My favorite is a morning prayer walk, but you should find what works best for you—ideally something that you enjoy doing and that makes you happy.

Beyond that, one of the best ways to rid yourself of your depression is to help someone else.  Depression has a tendency to turn our thoughts and attention inward, meaning we’re only thinking about ourselves and our problems.  But what would happen if we turned our attention off ourselves and onto others?  It doesn’t have to be a major task or an expensive endeavor.  It could be as simple as visiting a shut-in, reading books to kids at the local hospital or adoption center, tutoring a student (if you’re qualified, of course) or any number of things.  Don’t push yourself too far outside of your comfort zone, but make an effort to refocus your time and attention on someone other than yourself.  You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

Imagine the joy of hearing the laughter of hurting children as you perform a simple puppet show for them.  Or the thrill of seeing a man fed for the first time in three days when you serve at the soup kitchen.  Consider how good you would feel if you were able to lead someone to the Lord because you decided to share your testimony to the terrified women at the abuse clinic.  You could make a huge difference in someone’s life today, and by impacting them, you could help yourself at the same time.

Depression is a strange beast in that the more we suffer from it, the more we long to protect it.  It’s not that we want to be depressed, but rather that we’ve been depressed for so long that it has become a part of us, and we’re not sure how to exist without it.  It’s very difficult to explain, but this odd relationship is one of the reasons depression is so difficult to treat.  

It all begins with a desire to rid ourselves of the feelings of despair and hopelessness.  From there, following the steps I’ve outlined in the series will go a long way toward helping with depression.  I pray you have found some help in these posts, and as always, I’m available to you if you would like more information or if you would simply like me to pray with you. 

May God grant you victory over your depression and hope in the midst of your trial.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. - Galatians 6:10