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What kind of "lifestyle changes" should I make for my depression?

My doctor told me that medication alone isn't often enough to treat depression and then gave me a list of a LOT of things I should do to change my life but I don't know which ones to!

Asked 13 years ago by InTheRain
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Posted 13 years ago

When people talk about 'lifestyle changes' they often mean diet, exercise and maybe even social outlets or outlooks on life.

I'd say that it is good to change up your routine if you've been depressed because your old routine is probably contributing to your depression in some way. And which one is the best to start with? Well, that's up to whatever speaks to you; there's no 'right' way to begin!

If you are in need of some new (more positive maybe) people in your life, I might start by suggesting that you get involved in some new circles of people. Maybe get out, go to some new places and make some new connections. Do some volunteer work that will allow you to interact with others; join a gym and take some classes; get involved in neighborhood book group; take a class at a local community college etc.

If your diet is out of whack, this is another great place to start as what you eat (or don't eat) can have a profound effect on how you feel (and your brain chemistry as well!) Try to cut out too much alcohol, caffeine, refined carbohydrates and sugars. Make sure you're getting a lot of varied fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread products and non-processed/frozen but fresh meats.

If you don't get out of the house a lot, exercising can be great for feeling better in your body and producing the endorphins needed to help you feel good! It is suggested that everyone get their heart rate up and going 30+ minutes 5 times a week. You can start this by walking swiftly, jogging, biking, swimming, lifting weights, dancing or myriad other activities. Pick one that feels good for you!

Finally, adjusting your outlook can help as well! Find a new project for which there is an incentive to complete by a certain date. Take up meditation or some other form of breathing exercises that can help keep you cool, calm and collected throughout your day!

Any and all of these are 'lifestyle changes' but the most important thing to change is whatever YOU think will be the best in helping you treat your depression!

Hope that helps!

Read more on Depression and Exercise

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