If I tell you that I have a friend who is depressed, how would you imagine him? Head down? Shoulders collapsed? Voice low and slow? Eyes slightly closed? Slow movements of the body? A sad face? Slow breathing?

These would be the typical images to conjure up. Maybe you have been there, you’re there now or you know someone who has been or is there. All of us go through that phase. As a matter of fact, the happiest people in the world are happy because they know the other side of the spectrum.

We all have suffered depression. It is a normal state of mind. We suffer when we lose someone, when things don’t happen the way we want, if we lose a body part, when we don’t get a promotion, when we are under stress and for other reasons. However, we don’t have to stay in that state.

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I suffered depression in the past.

I know how terrible it is not seeing the light and how sad it can be when the world does not make sense anymore. Thanks to that pain I have become more aware of other people’s pain.

After overcoming depression, I have become very hungry for knowledge about people’s behavior. I think that’s because I love to help, and I can’t help without knowledge. I spend hours reading books about human behavior, mental distortions and the environment, and testimonials, and I also listen to people who have had bad times or mental disorders.

I have had the opportunity to meet people who have been addicted to drugs (prescribed and recreational) and alcohol. Their stories are amazing, how they became addicted without noticing. Many thought it was a game, others thought they were in control and many thought they needed the drug to survive.

I don’t blame these wonderful people. Back in the past I used to be addicted to bad behaviors as well. I never thought I could overcome what I thought was genetic. It’s easier to ignore reality than face it, thinking that’s the easiest way to be happy.

I understand them because I used to be like them

I used to get my feeling of happiness in the wrong way as well. Therefore, when they tell me their stories I empathize and understand them.

I don’t think there is a problem with looking for happiness. No one wants to be depressed or unhappy. The problem starts when we become dependent on bad behaviors and substances that affect our life negatively, making us even more depressed or causing swinging emotions.

How to defeat depression_3Just like all these people that are rehabbing, I know that drugs and bad behaviors just kill us and lead us to destruction. Everything has negative side effects; with shopping we can become broke and in debt, working for the addiction and becoming slaves, leading to an unsatisfying life; cocaine can lead to severe depression, permanent damage to blood vessels of the heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death, and liver, kidney and lung damage. Antidepressants can lead to psychotic episodes, seizures, sexual dysfunction, stroke, suicidal thoughts/behavior, violent behavior and weight gain.

There are many other drugs and behaviors that I could list, but I think you get the point.

The reason many of us opt for the wrong path is because it’s easy and gives us fast gratification. We are easy prey.

However, I have learned that we can find other ways to be happy and overcome depression, without putting our health and life in jeopardy, that are more effective with long-lasting real results.

How to defeat depression_2For example, there was a study in Harvard that proves people who smile and change their posture to a “Super Hero” posture — stand tall with the chest out, head up and shoulders back — undergo biochemistry changes in the body within two minutes. Testosterone increases up to 20%, cortisol (hormone released by stress) decreases by 18%, and people are 33% more likely to make risky decisions.

This means that people using this body position are more confident, less stressed and helping their thought process.

If only adopting a different posture can do this, what can you expect if you adopt the habits of exercise, thinking positively, setting goals, achieving your goals, having a sense of purpose and living your life with true dignity?

Many times we think that the only way to be happy and relax is by taking a substance or practicing negative behaviors.

The reality is that there are other ways to overcome our depression.

Tony Robbins said that the only thing that screws you up is limiting beliefs that you just accept without investigating. Changing your lifestyle positively and improving your habits will help you defeat depression.

Give yourself a chance to try something different.

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