How to Feel Better When You’re Depressed

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln

There are times in life when things don’t go as expected. Perhaps an important project of yours ended up in failure. Or you got laid off from your job. Whatever it is, it might make you depressed. But you need to get things back under control. You need to keep moving forward. For that, you need to make yourself feel better so that you can face the situation with a positive attitude.

Here are some tips to make yourself feel better when you’re depressed:

1. Calm down

Before anything else, calm yourself down. Don’t panic. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. You can only apply the tips below if you are calm.

2. Feed your mind with positive thoughts

When you’re depressed, it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. The negative cycle makes things look worse than they actually are. It’s important that you break this cycle so that you don’t become a victim of your own thoughts.

To do that, feed your mind with positive thoughts. You may read spiritual texts, motivational books, or inspiring quotes. You may also listen to positive tapes. Listening works well when you’re overwhelmed with negative thoughts because it doesn’t require your active participation.

3. Remember good things

Our minds tend to focus on the negative and not the positive. But you should direct your mind to the positive. Remember the good things in your life. Remember the good people around you. I’m sure there are many more things that go right in your life than those that go wrong. Looking at the good things balances your perspective so that you don’t dwell in negativity.

4. Look at the big picture

An event that seems bad might not seem that bad if you look at the big picture. Put the event in context. Think of it as one mosaic piece that’s necessary to make your life wonderful.

5. Believe that everything will be all right

What you believe has a big effect on you. If you believe that things will go wrong, that would usually be the case. On the other hand, if you believe that everything will be all right, you will have a winning attitude. And, as said in this article, a winning attitude is everything.

6. Exercise

When you’re depressed, take time to exercise. Study shows that “exercise is related to positive mental health as indicated by relief in symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

7. Forgive

Sometimes one reason you feel bad is because you don’t forgive. Perhaps you had made mistakes in the past and you blamed yourself for it. You need to forgive yourself. Or perhaps someone mistreated you. You need to forgive them. I know it’s easier said than done, but as Mahatma Gandhi said:

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

So let us all be strong.

8. Take action

The only cure for grief is action.
George Henry Lewes

Things won’t get better if you just sit and do nothing. Instead of thinking about how bad things are, think of what you can do to solve the problem and take action.

9. Say something positive

Negative words have devastating effect on your confidence and motivation. So whenever you’re about to say something negative, stop yourself and take a deep breath. Reframe what you’re going to say and make it positive. For example, instead of saying “I will never make it”, say “It won’t be easy, but I know I will make it.”

10. Think about other people

One of the best ways to make yourself feel better is simply by taking the focus away from yourself. The more you think about your problems, the more difficult it would feel. So start thinking about other people and how you can help them. When you do that, your problems will no longer seem so hard.

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography


  1. I think a shift in thinking is one of the most important things to do for feeling good. From the negative to the positive, and more importantly, from the unrealistic to the realistic.


  2. When I feel depressed, I find that any distraction helps. Exercise is a great one, but watching sports, reading a book, or even listening to music can also help distract me from whatever is causing my low mood.

  3. Bambang Karo Karo
    Bambang Karo Karo

    If I’m allowed to add a thing, I’ll suggest to:
    share the problem with ur trusted person (husband, wife, best friend)
    Not only the solution may come from a communication, also by doing that, we’re fulfilling the part that says human is a social being.


    Bambang Karo Karo

  4. What a great list of things to break free from not only depression, but from a anything-less-than-happy mood altogether!

    I especially like the “feed your mind with positive thoughts” tip because while it’s probably the most overlooked, that’s a good indicator that it’s probably the most effective.

    I don’t know why, but people seem to disregard things like “positive thoughts” and don’t think that negative thoughts really affect them, when sometimes that’s the entire root of their problem. I notice it’s common with people that are purely stuck in the physical realm, completely forgetting that their mind has anything to do with things.

    Once again, great post, I’ll definitely retweet to my followers. Keep up the great work Donald!

  5. Thanks for the great thoughts and tools for dealing with the hard times

    I would definitely add listen to music that makes you happy as part of idea number 2. Music has a way of touching the sol, hart and mind and bringing to places words alone fail to reach.

    Forgiveness is something I have been thinking about a lot lately and the impact it can have on our lives and the lives of others.

  6. Good list. For me personally, execise is the number one thing to do, to get me out of a bad mood/mindset.

    And your Nr 7 (forgive) is surely a powerful one. How come fogiving oneself is so much more difficult than forgiving others?

  7. Eduard,
    I agree. The state of the mind is a big factor here.

    David, Bambang, and Quinn,
    Thanks for the ideas! It’s nice to learn even more ways to feel better from you.

    Yes, many people let their mind run on autopilot (which often means letting the negative thoughts rule). Doing that does more harm than good. By the way, thanks for the kind words!


    How come fogiving oneself is so much more difficult than forgiving others?

    Ironic, isn’t it? But this is something we should all learn to do.

  8. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ~ Albert Schweitzer

    I posted recently that happiness and feeling better boiled down to: pleasure + flow + meaning = happiness

    Feeling better really comes from having a clear understanding of the meaning of your life, which has to come from within you, rather then it be imposed on you by others. This is what’s called living an authentic life. While we adapt quickly to more money and material possessions, it seems we adapt less quickly, if at all, to meaningful things. This is also a vital component of contentment, because essentially you are not connected to your innermost self.

    You can read the full post here:

  9. Great choice of quotes!
    Did you know that Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression?!
    And, he was able to accomplish GREAT things.
    Wow, he changed the world…
    Pretty wild.

    I love all of your suggestions. All are equally powerful.
    One that stands out to me the most is to remember good things. I know that when I’m feeling blue, it’s easy to forget all the good stuff that’s happening.

    Truth is, there are always wonderful… amazing blessings happening in our lives. Such a powerful mood lift when we can take a moment to *really* see this…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Also, try to think with logic; not with emotions. Emotions make everything complex, while logic simplifies everything.

  11. Rob and Amity,
    Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    Did he? I just knew that from you.
    And yes, it’s easy to forget all the good stuff, but remembering it can make a big difference in how you see your life.

  12. Yes, he had depression for most of his life.
    Here is a cool link with the story…

  13. Dear Donald
    Hello from the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan. Many thanks for your inspirational post. You can also feel instantly better by remembering that each of us is part of an amazing web of life that supports and sustains us. You do this each time you reconnect with nature – the nature within yourself and the natural world around you. Please take a look at my blog about this at

  14. […] some, Christmas can be a sad time. Here are ten ways to feel better courtesy of Life […]

  15. […] Latumahina presents How to Feel Better When You’re Depressed posted at Life […]

  16. Great suggestions that you have here. It is true that the mind can easily gravitate toward the negative and before you know it, you have made a mountain out of a mole hill and sunk even farther into the “negative” abyss. We really do have to make a concerted effort to stop what can be a downward spiral. Once we truly realize that we can control the mind and where it goes, it is easy to see the importance of applying the tools you described above. Thanks for the great post.

  17. Exercise is a key one. I forget how the saying goes, but it’s something like “emotion follows motion.”

    Another interesting point is that “motivation follows action” whereas many people wait to be inspired first, but it doesn’t work like that.

  18. […] Latumahina presents How to Feel Better When You’re Depressed posted at Life […]

  19. Great advice. Sometimes it’s beneficial to actually feel and accept your discomfort. There could be lots of power hidden in it. We tend to repress “bad” feelings, but sometimes the way out of them is to do the opposite.

    Claus 😀

  20. I totally agree with this one especially on feeding mind with positive thoughts because normally those negative thoughts alone make us feel really bad.

    In my case I often do some walking, geting fresh air and seeing new things.. It makes me see, feel and appreciate the beauty of the world. Somehow it takes away the depression.

    I love this one..


  21. Thanks, everyone! I learn a lot from your comments. It’s insightful to see how each of you overcome depression.

  22. […] Latumahina presents How to Feel Better When You’re Depressed posted at Life […]

  23. I would add to this another suggestion, which comes out of scientific research from the field of positive psychology: it’s as old as the hills, but giving thanks contributes to wellbeing and happiness. Take time every day or every other day to either a) verbally or in written form express thanks and b) to review 3-5 things you have to be grateful for right now.

  24. This list is only doable but someone who is not depressed. I doubt you have been truly depressed.

    Depression narrowing your thinking and mental abilities making most of the above IMPOSSIBLE to do.

    If one could think positive thought then one isn’t depressed. You have a catch 22 here.

    Having good people around that show true love and compassion towards you is the real cure, but even that will be difficult to let in.

    Most of all though keep away from those who trivialize your problem with ‘happy thoughts’. They don’t get it and will only make you feel more of a failure – which you are not.

  25. […] and how you can help them. When you do that, your problems will no longer seem so hard. Sources:Life Optimizer December 16, 2009Related Articles:  12 Compelling Reasons to Ditch Stress from Your Life  Kill Your Stress […]

  26. Alhamdulillah!
    It is nice.

  27. Elizabeth Miller
    Elizabeth Miller

    The problem is that when you’re depressed, remembering happy times makes it worse because you’re reminded of how miserable you are. You remember what you lost and it makes it worst because you start to think you are a bigger failure for messing things up.

  28. I just want you to be aware there is a huge difference between being depressed and being sad about something. There doesn’t have to be a reason to be depressed. Most people who are depressed just are. This is not a list of how to feel better when you’re depressed. This is a list of how to feel better when something went wrong.

  29. Try writing things down that u dont want to lose like sports or someone u dont want to dissapoint

  30. It is normal for human being to be depressed once in a while, but if it is recurring, you might as well be attentive to your health. You can not force yourself to be happy once affected by depression, let time heals that, because human’s brain can get destructed by another events which eventually change your current behaviour. I like tip no. 4, to look at the bigger picture. A very helpful tips.

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