Depressive symptoms leave a person feeling sad, helpless, hopeless, and unmotivated. Despite the many causes of depression, there are simple ways to feel better. Here are six tips for coping with depression:

1. Eat nutrients

You need food that has real nutrients in it so that your brain and body have access to the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. Skip the fake processed foods (foods that come almost already prepared in boxes or packages), and instead make something from scratch. Skip the bread and pastries, and reach for fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water, which is eight glasses a day, plus one glass for any cup of coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol you drink.

2. Connect

Sometimes you just need people, even when you don't feel like it. Choosing healthy friends, setting good boundaries, and participating in positive interactions will help your mood. Interacting with others activates different areas in the brain that can help with good feelings, too.

3. Play outside

. Sunlight contains healthy vitamins that directly affect your mood. Fresh air has a knack for filling your lungs when you didn't realize you were not breathing good, full breaths. Playing outside helps you get moving (even a little bit helps). Sitting quietly and reflecting on the beauty around you releases stress and teaches new ways of seeing the world. This is good for the brain and heart health.

4. Get a pet

Pets are a great way to find appropriate affection. They also keep you functioning, because you have to feed them, care for them and play with them. They also are good companions, and give you easy unconditional love.

5. Do something

When you feel overwhelmed, breaking things down into small tasks and doing one thing at a time will at least enable you to move forward. When you feel alone, service for someone else helps reconnect you and restore gratitude. When you feel unmotivated, doing one small thing will help you remember how to accomplish something.

6. Do the opposite

If you feel sad, watch a funny movie and laugh. If you feel lonely, hang out with friends. If you feel overwhelmed or drowning, then go outside and play (go for a walk, ride a bicycle, swim, feed the ducks). Get adequate sleep every night, but then get out of bed and start your day.

Depressive symptoms can ease by focusing on self-care: Proper sleep habits, eating healthy foods, watching a funny movie or TV show, reading, spending time outside in the sunshine, gardening, visiting with friends, or volunteering your time to give to others. Despite your efforts, if you still feel as though you cannot rise above your depression, you may want to consider seeking professional help.

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