Depression is more than just feeling sad and might require professional help. However, it is possible to manage depression on your own. Unfortunately, the things that help the most are sometimes the most difficult to do when in the midst of a depressive spell.

Your best bet is to have a self-care plan in advance. Preparation is a great defense against depression. If you focus on creating a fulfilling life on a daily basis and you have an action plan when you feel depression creeping in, you might find it possible to avoid serious depression completely.

These self-help tips help you prevent depression or work your way out of a depressive episode.

Build a Support System

Supportive people in your life are one of your best defenses against depression. Focus on building strong relationships with a few people in your family or circle of friends. Likewise, drift apart from those who are not supportive.

When you have people in your life you trust, you can turn to them when times get tough. Sometimes, talking to a trusted loved one is enough to ward off a serious depression.

In addition to having a few close confidants in your life, it is also important to engage in less intense social activity. Focusing on fun and time with friends when things are going well can prevent depression from creeping in. If necessary, find a support group for people prone to depression.

Sometimes spending time with people who understand your challenges helps, but avoid situations where the entire focus is depression.

Focus on Your Health

Caring for your physical health is one of the best ways to maintain good mental health and avoid depression. Be sure you are getting regular exercise and eating properly. Physical activity boosts serotonin levels, which is known to be lower in people suffering from depression.

Some studies have shown exercise to be as effective as antidepressant medications. It also stimulates cell growth in the brain, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension.

Your diet also affects depression. All of the usual healthy eating tips not only help you maintain an ideal physique, they also help you prevent depression.

Eliminate processed foods from your diet, eat well-rounded meals everyday with complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, increase vitamin B and niacin intake, and speak with your doctor about other supplements that can help you battle depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids not only lower cholesterol, they are also believed to stabilize moods. It is actually possible to create a diet for combating depression!

Develop a Depression Battle Plan

In the fight against depression, your best defense is preparation. If you suffer from depression, it will be necessary to build a plan for avoiding depressive episodes. Remember once you are in the throes of depression, rational decisions are much tougher to make.

Keep track of negative thinking and do what you can to avoid it. If you find yourself focused on the negative aspects of your life, make a conscious effort to change your thought pattern. Spend time with positive people and use positive self-talk.

No matter how uncomfortable or phony it might sound to say positive things in your mind, do it. You will be surprised how often you speak negatively in your mind and how much changing this can help.

If it feels too difficult to alter how you think and talk to yourself, change your focus. Turn off your mind for awhile by reading a book or watching a movie. Some people who are depressed spend too much time engaging in self-analysis.

This constant self-focus is bound to lead to negativity because nothing is perfect. Focusing on external things can alter your outlook on life.

Have specific ideas for what you can do when you feel depression coming on. Make a promise to yourself that when you begin to feel the feelings associated with depression, you will treat yourself to a movie at the theater, go for a long walk in your favorite park, or purchase a new book by a favorite author.

It is possible to deal with depression, but you must be prepared. Those who wait to deal with depression after an episode strikes are bound to suffer longer and possibly require measures more extensive than just self-help.

If you have a plan in place for battling depression, you can manage your symptoms and take matters into your own hands.