Self Help for Depression

Many self help techniques are accessible to people dealing with depression. Many can be used in tandem with psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. It should be stated, however, that treatment by a mental health professional is essential. Consult with your therapist or doctor before trying any self help techniques.

Mental Health Self Help Options

Here are some things you can do to help with depression:

  • Meditation
  • Self-hypnosis
  • Goal-setting and time management
  • Stress management
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Exercise
  • Support groups

Meditation and Hypnosis

Your mental health practitioner may suggest either meditation or hypnosis to supplement therapy sessions and other treatment. Meditation can calm the mind and reduce stress, making dealing with depression easier. While hypnosis may be included as part of your psychotherapy, many self-hypnosis tapes are also available.

Goal Setting

People dealing with depression are often overwhelmed by life, and all the tasks they need to complete. Accomplishing one’s goals is hard enough without the energy depletion that comes with depression. Goal setting teaches you how to break tasks down into smaller, easier to accomplish, steps. Goal setting fights depression by helping people regain a sense of control over their lives. Regaining control over life also boosts self esteem and helps people with positive thinking.

Relaxation Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques can ease stress, muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive relaxation teaches people how to relax at will. Breathing techniques can help keep people grounded and calm.


Exercise is a great tension-fighter. It can improve body image, confidence and self-awareness. Exercise also increases the level of certain neurotransmitters (endorphins) that are known to elevate mood. The trouble is—as anyone who’s ever been depressed can tell you—summoning the energy to go to aerobics class can be very difficult. Start off slowly—even ten minutes a day is better than nothing. Exercise with a friend if possible, to help keep your motivation up. Even a simple walk around the block is better than nothing and is a great way to start exercising.

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