Spend at least one hour each week with a close friendiStock/fotografixx
In a British study, when 86 depressed women were paired with a volunteer friend, 65 percent of the women felt better. In fact, regular social contact worked as effectively as antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Regular social contact with a close friend may boost self-confidence and encourage you to make other positive changes that will help in overcoming depression, such as starting an exercise program. Check out these other ways having close friends improves your health.
Play with a dog a few minutes every dayiStock/Enrico Fianchini
When non-pet owners played with a dog for just a few minutes a day as part of a University of Missouri study, blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin—both mood elevators—rose. Science has already proven these surprising health benefits of having a pet, but you don’t need to own a dog to experience these feel-good effects for overcoming depression (although dogs are great antidotes to the kind of chronic stress that can result in depression). Pet your neighbor’s dog for a few minutes a day, volunteer at an animal shelter, or stop by your local pet store for some furry one-on-one therapy.