Battling Depression

Photo of blue sky
Blue sky

Depression can feel like a battle. The combination of low mood, irritability, lack of energy, sleep problems, appetite problems and poor self-esteem make the process of climbling out of depression a true struggle. It is hard to activate the motivation needed to get out of the depression. Often people suffering from depression don't admit they feel depressed for a while. There is still a stigma with depression and general sense that the person can and should just push through it. Therapy (and at times medication) are important for improving mood.


But, there are many things you can try on your own to decrease depression first. One idea is to kickstart some pleasure back into your body and mind. This list is taken directly from the book, The CBT Toolbox on page 243 by Jeff Riggenbach.








  1. Soaking in the bathtub
  2. Burning incense
  3. Kissing
  4. Taking a weekend trip
  5. Thinking about a past vacation
  6. Going on a date/flirting
  7. Nurturing your pet
  8. Going for a walk or jog
  9. Listening to music
  10. Going to a party or get-together
  11. Being outdoors
  12. Looking at photos from past trips
  13. Reading
  14. Brushing your hair
  15. Giving or receiving a hug
  16. Remembering beautiful scenery
  17. Playing tennis, frisbee golf or another sport
  18. Drawing or looking at someone else's art
  19. Catching up with old friends on Facebook
  20. Trying a new support group
  21. Trying a new church
  22. Going to a casino
  23. Renting a movie
  24. Going to a sporting event
  25. Going to the gym
  26. Dancing 
  27. Karate
  28. Enjoying nature
  29. Yoga
  30. Sleeping
  31. Getting a massage
  32. Going for a drive
  33. Calling a supportive person
  34. Flying a kite
  35. Praying
  36. Buying flowers
  37. Having a manicure/pedicure
  38. Going swimming
  39. Watching a sunrise or sunset
  40. Riding a bike
  41. Having responsible sex
  42. Having a quiet evening at home
  43. Drinking a cup of coffee
  44. Going to a lake
  45. Getting together with old friends
  46. Exercising to an aerobics/yoga DVD
  47. Going to a play
  48. Getting on the Internet and researching something you enjoy
  49. Giving a small gift to someone else


There are countless other activities you can do. Think back to a time before you felt depressed and ask yourself what gave you pleasure back then. Or, ask a friend what they enjoy doing. Think small - it doesn't have to be a big event. Simple pleasures count too. The idea here is to just do them even if they don't initially provide any pleasure. The hope is that this will still induce a bit of happiness in you.


Try one!