How to Stay Positive When Depressed?


regret, avoiding regrets, regrets in 20 and 30s, self improvement,I think there are a lot of websites out there which talk about depression as if it is a disease which needs to be immediately eradicated, as if a shadow of darkness has been cast upon it. For a change, we shall try and see it in the other light and see how we can make the best of being depressed.

We all know that it is never a nice feeling to be depressed, everything seems so dull and dark. There seems to be a lot of black and white out there. The environment is morose, there is no motivation to fit in with a set of people who seem to be having a good time, there is a general tendency to avoid everyone and withdraw into a shell. And there are also other behaviours which make most people classify the depressed state as a disease.

Let us set the expectations clear – we are not going to give you a set of 5 tips which makes depression vanish. We do appreciate that it is a deeper feeling than that and we shall try not to make light of it. However, our approach has always been to understand what the emotion means and how we can best utilise it to align with the goals we have. So, we are going to try the same approach here as well.

1. What does it mean?

The first question whenever we have any emotion is – what does it mean. We realise that each emotion is a call for action, it is a signal trying to tell us something.

We are not interested in the stupid answer which says ‘I am stupid’ or ‘I am unlucky’ or what not. We are interested in the answers as to what it actually means such as – ‘The approach was not right’, ‘I relied too much on someone else’.

Try to make the responsibility yours as much as possible – not that we want to make you feel worse about yourself, but to ensure that you can find a way out.

2. What else can it mean?

This is something most of us rarely do. But do it any way. Try and put a positive story on it and say – what else can it actually mean?

Does it mean that you have to be more careful, does it mean that you have to be more sensitive to the details, does it mean that it was a wrong goal in the first place?

Try and find alternatives – you don’t want to get sucked into the feeling of self pity.

3. What opportunities does it bring?

Rarely do people think of this but it can be a very powerful tool to get you out of the depression faster than usual. If one door is closed – what are the other opportunities that can open up?

It can be very easy to get sucked into depression and feel free from responsibility. That might even give you some sympathetic ears. But the question is what you want – solution or sympathy?

4. Quick Fix

The more you look at quick fix, the less you will see a direct answer. You got to convince yourself about the longevity of every success and effort. Things will always pay out in the end and you will have to believe me on that. Not because it is the universal truth but because it is a better lie which makes you stop feeling sorry for yourself and actually do something.

5. Notice the right things

It is a natural behaviour to observe everything wrong when we are down. But try and do the opposite thing. Try and observe what all in life is good.

I am sure that the initial feeling is to say ‘Nothing is good’. But restrain from it, take a moment and actually be thankful for all the things including the challenge that has put you here in the first place.

Like Steve Jobs said – you cannot connect the dots looking forward, things have a way of working out when you look back. Be a believer and you will realise being depressed is just a small detour.

6. End Game

This is what you have to define for yourself. You cannot set yourself to lose and say that you lost. You got to set a goal which you are going to achieve and build yourself from successes. Failures are lousy and they feel awful. But the beautiful thing is that they are not the end of it. They are a good starting point to make something happen.

So… Why not?

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10 Responses to "How to Stay Positive When Depressed?"

  1. Your observations are good but this time I would not agree with you completely, Vinay. Depression is actually a diseases which needs treatment just like any other disease like flu or malaria. And sometimes that treatment is not as easy at it looks here but may also need help from external sources. Due to the stigma attached to depression (our society is yet to accept psychological diseases), people do not openly accept that they are suffering. In fact, most of the patients of depression do not even realize that they are suffering with a disease which needs treatment. Depression can lead to very grave consequences if not handle in time and with consideration.

    1. It is even more lovelier when there is a difference in opinion and view of thought Deepali and I appreciate that :). Thanks so much for the alternate view point, which I had certainly missed. I think an intelligent argument sometimes is all it takes to get to the base of matters.

      Interesting to know about the medical aspects of depression. I think my analysis stems from the liberal usage of the word “Depression” around. Sometimes it has even gone to the extent of being cliched where depression just simply means that people are sad. I respect the medical aspects of it and the manifestations are terrible.

      However, at one point of my brain it says – although it is a physiological situation, it does stem from the emotional balance which means that somewhere we can start controlling it. I do agree that the severe cases are pretty hard to fathom and I might be running a risk of simplifying things here, but the thought says – it should be in our control. The society has been very judgemental in pointing fingers, like it always does – but somewhere for me, it is about taking up that responsibility to question that depression as well. Not that any of my logic beats emotion – the emotions are always much stronger, if we are just able to gain another level of control over them, it would be a pretty awesome thing.


  2. I think depression lies between vinay’s article and deepali’s comment. I am not denying about the science aspect of depression. From my experience, depression is a event with a time period where one needs to understand, accept the emotions and then try to address how one seems fight. He/She shouldn’t panic on how to eliminate/treat/cure/eradicate this disease via society or medically approved channels.
    One can cure depression trough medication, yoga, counselling, change in environment, etc….. but after that it is a battle one needs to fight on a daily basis. It about reminding everyday that they can be happy and not fall into the pit. Any small random act or a piece of literature (this can be any emotion) is helpful to build a bridge over that pit.

    1. Thanks mate. I agree to both yours and Deepali’s view. Being an ardent fan of literature and subjectivity, I like the word balance. I like that you talk about the ‘Time’ aspect of depression here, an element which most of us tend to miss and assign a general judgement to the person/situation. If we look at the time causality here, it simplifies the things even further and gives us an option to treat the current situation in an isolated manner and maybe even preventing ourselves from taking things too personally.

      This way, we can even look at these occurrences as individual scenarios and try to find a way around them which is indeed a splendid way to get back on the track of life when disappointments bring us down. Meditation, yoga, counselling are proven modes of treating depression – for me I guess it is always a matter of mind over matter. If we own up to it and make it a point to find a way around it, I would like to believe that we are more than strong and well equipped to make that happen!

  3. I have lots to disagree vinay ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to, being a psychiatrist.. want to talk about it sometime.. We ll have a good chat over this in one to one sometime soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh I would love that Lakshmi. It would be a great conversation for sure to know more things. I think these are the ones which actually bring out a fresh perspective and I am sure our readers would gain a lot from it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Absolutely true Vinay…you can control it if you realize that you are depressed and not just sad. Meditation, yoga, counselling and all other measures will help only if the person acknowledges that he needs to conquer these bouts of depression. But the problem is, by the time the person realizes that he is way beyond sad, depression would have taken a toll. And though depression is psychological, it has very serious physical repercussions also. It was a good discussion by the way. I guess, all of us have had some value addition here.

    1. True Deepali, I think realisation and acceptance play a huge role here. I guess the first common thing most of us do is “Denial” – the moment we step out of that into reality, it brings out a learning aspect and if we notice it well, we would be able to gain a lot from it, especially if we ask the right questions.

      You are right, time is a huge concern here. The beauty of the emotions is still how we can make that magic happen in a small shift. I think we all would have done that at some part of our lives. Maybe the lesson is to bring that state of mind. Not at all easy from any perspective, but if we are able to do that, imagine how beautiful the solution would be and how fascinating it would be to get rid of the negative phase in a snap?!


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