Updated: Jul 7
Depression is a very complex disease because almost everyone gets depressed at some time. Most of these episodic depressions resolve themselves without medication. People with clinical depression want to believe that their depression will also go away on their own. Many don't want to take antidepressants because they fear that they won't recover "naturally" if they start medication. Others believe that they will become addicted to antidepressants, like people become addicted to opioids.
Exposure to Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight increases brain serotonin level, a neurotransmitter, deficiency of which is widely believed to cause depression. 15 to 60 minutes of exposure is good enough to boost brain serotonin levels. Maintaining a light-dark cycle is also essential to regulate your biological clock, which controls your sleep pattern. Depressed people tend to darken their room, whenever possible open the windows and put down the curtains, let the light come.
Exercise: Walking fast just for about 30 minutes a day five times a week cure mild to moderate depression. Exercise increases nor-adrenaline and endorphin levels in the brain; Hitler used amphetamine, a drug similar to nor-adrenaline, to boost concentration power and reduce the need for sleep and food. Amphetamine is also used as an ecstasy drug. Endorphins are chemically identical to opium; the heroine is the semi-synthetic version of endorphin. Both nor-adrenaline and endorphin produce euphoria.
Expressive writing: Write a minimum of fifteen minutes per day for three consecutive days; write whatever is in your mind, write without caring for spelling and grammar, write why you are depressed, write how you are feeling, write how you can overcome it. Study after study, I found that people feel much better within three days of expressive writing. Whenever you share your feelings or secrets, have you noticed your mood lighten up? That is why internet chat rooms are full of depressed people, desperately trying to share their opinions; sharing it in the real world will make you weak; our modern culture created the myth of confident, independent, the alpha personality who don't need others approval and can regulate their emotion with a switch. The truth is we all are weak, vulnerable, dependent, and need others' help.
Gesture mimicry/Facial muscle manipulation: Go in front of a mirror. Smile. Keep that face for 15 seconds. Do it as many times as you like. Making a sad face can make you unhappy even when you are not worried, like that making a happy face makes you happy.
Read humorous books, joke books: Real advice is taking activities that you like; listening to music, watching films, gardening, reading, traveling, etc. I prefer reading joke collections; PG Wodehouse, Christopher Moore, Saki are some witty, humorous writers; you can also read joke collections.
Take serotonin containing foods: Many foods naturally contain serotonin; the problem is serotonin in naturally occurring foods can not pass the blood-brain barrier. However, milk, yogurts, peanuts contain a unique chemical variant of serotonin that can give blood-brain walls and boost brain serotonin levels. There is no comprehensive study on this advice, but above mentioned three foods could easily be part of your balanced diet.
Meditation: Whatever empty your mind is meditation, there is no correct environment, posture, gesture, or sound for meditation. Yogis may prefer sitting on a tiger skin, Dalai-lama may tell you to drink from human skull cum teacup to attain quietness. Don't bother your mind with trivial techniques; sit down in a comfortable place and try to stop the thinking; at first, the easiest way is to repeat a particular sound. Keep practicing; soon, you will be able to empty your mind without thinking any audio or visual image.
Above mentioned, seven pieces of advice are like symptomatic treatment of depression; To get out of depression, you need to identify what is wrong with your thinking process. Are you afraid of the future, have you lost something valuable, do you have a negative view of self or family, are you lonely; if so, why? Once you know what is causing the depression, you can easily take countermeasures by yourself or mental health professionals. After one or two years, you can boastfully claim yes I suffered from depression, but I also solved and overcame it. Most depressive episodes rarely last more than a month; our mind has an automatic ability to counter depression. Adolescent depression comes from perceived poor appearance, lack of friends, low family status, poor academic performance; with age you will understand personality is more important than appearance, low family status is a strong motivating factor, non-conformity is the single most crucial variant of success, academic results only matter if you want to lead a robotic life. Another thing, your depression may be the result of some medical condition.
Not all depressions are bad; many people with melancholic depression claim they enjoy it. To them, "All pleasures are empty, nothing is as sweet as melancholy." If you are experiencing your melancholic depression, don't follow my advice.