It can be debilitating being stuck in negative patterns of though. Take an active defense against depression – get out of your head and act. Here are 9 things you can do to treat depression. 1. Exercise – Sometimes it’s difficult to get out of bed, let alone work out, when you suffer from depression, but it’s well worth the effort. Dopamine the wonder drug, which is linked to positive feelings, is released when you exercise fighting stress, anxiety, and depression. 2. Yoga – I CANNOT AGREE WITH THIS MORE. Seriously. Everyone should do yoga. EVERYONE. Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my system, yoga helps you connect with your body, relax, breathe deeply, and ultimately fight stress and anxiety which are very much tied to depression. Also, several yoga poses release different brain chemicals including serotonin, which is responsible for making you happy. There are even special yoga classes specifically for people with mood disorders. 3. Proper sleep – having too little or too much sleep can seriously mess up your system, and severely worsen depression symptoms. 4. Meditation – focus on your breathing, clear your mind, and find your happy place. You can meditate at home in bed for 5 minutes, or take a meditation class at a gym or studio for over an hour – whatever works for you, both are beneficial kinds of meditation. 5. Have fun – this might seem kind of obvious to anyone without depression, but shutting yourself off from people and events is a pretty common action. Actually getting out into the world and distracting yourself with family and friends can really help keep depression at bay. 6. Take on small responsibilities – pick an enjoyable task, but one that still needs to be done and commit yourself to it. A large responsibility like owning a house can be overwhelming, but a smaller responsibility like putting away the dishes everyday or cat-sitting for your sister can give you a sense of purpose. 7. Set Goals – this is my jam, I’m a total goal groupie. I make 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals and divide them up into career and personal categories, then update them and take notes each year. I also have a huge whiteboard of my monthly goals. OR you can make a to-do list if you’re less nerdy than me. Just make sure to actually write them down and put a time frame on it, that way you’re more likely to complete them. 8. Make a routine – Wake up, eat, and get to bed all around the same time, a scheduled life will make you feel more balanced and stable. Remember, it’s a “routine” not a “rut-ine”, add some fun activities in and leave room to be spontaneous. 9. Communicate – this one I whole-heartedly agree with; there is such a terrible stigma around mental health issues that people often hide their struggles. If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in family and friends just yet, then there are support groups, hotlines, message boards, therapy, and a million other places that you can share your story. Depression can range from minor seasonal depression to major depression. Talk to a doctor before making any drastic changes in your lifestyle.