If you’re working on overcoming depression, there are many self-help techniques that can be used in tandem with psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. Whatever method you choose, understand that treatment by a mental health professional is essential. Consult your therapist or doctor before trying any self-help techniques or following the advice in books on depression.

Overcoming Depression

There are a variety of self-help options. Work with your doctor to determine which techniques, or combination of techniques, will be most beneficial for you.

Self-help for depression may include:

  • Exercise
  • Goal-setting and time management
  • Meditation and self-hypnosis
  • Â Relaxation techniques
  • Self-help groups
  • Stress management.

Self-Help: Exercise

Exercise is a great tension fighter. This self-help technique can improve body image, confidence and self-awareness. Exercise also increases the level of certain neurotransmitters (endorphins) that elevate mood. Even a simple walk around the block is better than nothing, and a great way to start exercising. Certain forms of exercise, like yoga and tai chi, combine healing exercise with mind relaxation.

Overcoming Depression with Goal Setting

People looking for help for depression may be overwhelmed by daily life and tasks they need to complete. Accomplishing goals is hard enough without the energy depletion that comes with depression. Goal setting, an excellent self-help technique, will teach you to break tasks down into smaller steps, helping you to regain a sense of control over your life.

Meditation and Hypnosis: Help for Depression

Your mental health practitioner may suggest either meditation or hypnosis to supplement therapy and other help for depression. While you’re overcoming depression, meditation can calm the mind and reduce stress. Your therapist may perform hypnosis, and many self-hypnosis tapes are also available.

Relaxation Techniques

Typically used along with cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques can ease stress, muscle tension and anxiety. Unlike other methods of dealing with depression, progressive relaxation will teach you to relax at will, helping you to keep grounded and calm.

Self-Help Groups

When depression hits, climbing into bed is often the easiest thing to do, but it won’t help you overcome your depression. Especially during a depressive episode, being in the company of others, whether they are a self-help group’s members or just a group of friends, can help lift the cloud to some degree.

Individuals who join depression self-help groups for support should attend regularly and be ready and willing to open up to the other members of the group.


Buchanan, A. (1995). Self help advice for depressed patients. Retrieved May 30, 2003, from www.mentalhealth.com/book/p40-dp01.html.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2002). Depression. [NIH Publication No. 02-3561]. Retrieved May 30, 2003, from www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm.

 Posted on : June 26, 2014