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July 2018

Try These Activities to Help Manage Depression

If you have depression, the most important thing you can do is seek support from a healthcare provider. Many treatment options are available and can improve your symptoms. These options include therapy and medicines.

Woman listening to headphones

But you may be wondering what else you can do to boost your mood and help keep the blues at bay. Here are 4 research-backed activities that can make a difference.

Care for a pet

Having a furry sidekick offers constant companionship and a sense of calm. These are key factors that can boost your emotional wellbeing, research shows. There’s also a feeling of pride that comes from successfully caring for an animal day after day. 

Tune into music

Music therapy involves listening to, playing, or composing music that’s specifically chosen by a board certified music therapist to have a certain emotional effect. According to research, many different types of music therapy can lead to significant improvements in symptoms of depression. The types include those that involve listening to or playing classical, jazz, or percussion. To find a music therapist near you, visit the American Music Therapy Association’s website.

Spend time outside

Being in green space, such as forests and parks can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, studies show. The great outdoors can encourage physical activity. Exercise also helps manage depression and temporarily takes your mind off things that are worrying you. Whether you walk, bike, hike, or garden, seek out ways to spend a little more time outside. 

Give yoga a chance

People with depression who practiced yoga weekly for several months showed a greater decrease in symptoms than those who didn’t step onto a mat, a recent study found. Whether you choose to take classes in a studio or practice at home, yoga can have a Zen-like effect on your mind.


Could you be depressed?

Use this screening tool from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and share the information with your healthcare provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Gonnella, Joseph, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/30/2018
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