Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the US and it impacted an estimated 16 million people last year.

Although depression is a serious illness, I want you to know that you can get better with treatment even though it might feel impossible. (During the winter months you might also experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and you can read more about that here.)

The first step in treating this is to identify which symptoms you’re experiencing. Keep in mind that the signs vary from person to person and that people usually experience several symptoms at a time. You also need to know that the severity, frequency and intensity of depression symptoms can vary by person.

In addition to psychotherapy and medication, here are five things you can start doing today to feel better.

Connect and share how you feel.

Take care of your body.

Get regular exercise.

Challenge your negative thinking.

Try to do things you enjoy (or used to enjoy).

Depression robs you of energy, motivation and hopefulness, and this often makes it feel impossible to do the very things that you need to do to feel better. Overcoming it is hard and it takes time, but it is possible.

The key is to start small, build up your effort day-by-day, and get help. And remember, you don’t have to do this alone!

How To Tell If You’re Stressed or Depressed

Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Seventy-two percent of adults surveyed by the American Psychological Association reported feeling stressed out at least some of the time during the past month.

Regardless of what you’re stressing about, stress can quickly turn into a problem when it builds and starts to cause wear and tear on your body—and your overall mental state.  In fact, if left unmanaged stress can actually lead to depression.

Chronic stress leads to physical changes in your brain and body, changes in the way you’re thinking, and ultimately to changes in the way you’re behaving.

Stressed out people […]

How to Heal Yourself From Traumatic Life Experiences

I’ll never forget my experience on the morning of September 11th fourteen years ago.

I was just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center and watched the towers fall with a mixture of disbelief and sheer panic.

Since then, I have worked with many patients whose lives were devastatingly changed forever on that day.

But all of our lives were changed in some way, and putting traumatic life experiences like 9/11 behind you and beginning the healing process can be challenging.

If you’re struggling with this, check out my Psychology Today blog post on How to Put Painful Experiences Behind […]

Robin Williams and the Stigma of Depression

It’s been one year since Robin Williams died by suicide, and it’s a sad reminder that depression is indiscriminate.

Although it’s the most common mental health disorder in the US, depression is treatable. However, we still need to tackle the negative stigma of depression because 80% of people suffering with depression don’t seek treatment.

This breaks my heart, because depression is at the root of most suicide attempts, and as a psychologist I know that it’s highly treatable—even in its most severe forms.

I think the main reason why people don’t seek treatment is because there are so many myths about […]

5 Signs You Should See A Therapist

One of the most common questions people ask me when they find out I’m a psychologist is, “How do you know when it’s time to see a therapist?”

We all experience periods of feeling sad, stressed out, anxious or depressed, but these are usually short lived. If you’re experiencing any of the signs below, it’s probably time to seek professional help.

Your mood or emotions are extreme and getting in the way of living the life you want to be living.

A tell tale sign that you might need a mental health diagnosis is when your mood is […]

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Have you been hit by the winter blues?

The fun of the holidays are a distant memory, and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. These days it’s just cold, dark, and dreary.

One in five Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression also known as the winter blues.

Even if you don’t meet the criteria for a diagnosis, most of us experience at least some of the symptoms: fatigue, less desire for socializing, and feeling down or blah.

It’s very important to be mindful about taking care of yourself if […]

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

The holiday season is in full swing. Anything that can hold a strand of lights is lit up. Christmas tunes are playing in the elevators. And your inbox is full of emails from retailers reminding you of all the gifts you need to buy.

It’s the time of year that also comes with an underlying message that you should be happy, merry and grateful.

But for many people, the holiday season is actually a difficult time of year and brings on the holiday blues.

There are plenty of things that can make you dread the holiday season. The grief over the […]