10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed the Monster!

Depression likes us to focus our thoughts on it. It has a big ego and likes to be fed with our time and attention, in fact it needs them in order to survive and grow.

During mild- moderate phases of depression I think it’s possible to distract ourselves from the constant negative thoughts we feed it with. It just takes a little effort and our will-power to ignore the “why bother” thoughts (this is depression getting scared because it knows it might lose our attention).

I think most of us probably have a mental list of things we can do to cheer ourselves up a bit- these are usually activities that distract us from the constant negativity depression throws at us. Today, I thought I’d share some of my distraction tool kit:

1. Cutting out pictures from magazines that inspire me and sticking them in a scrap book. (This often takes forever as I end up finding interesting articles to read along the way).

2. Making up an “achievement box” putting in old school reports (as long as they’re good!), certificates, medals, photos, projects I’m proud of (eg. drawings or articles I’ve written), programmes from shows/events you’ve been in.

3. Making up a new iTunes playlist.

4. Sorting through old photos or making new albums on Facebook.

5. Watching “easy”, light-hearted films like Harry Potter, Disney or Pixar.

6. Playing a wordy game like Boggle/Words With Friends on iPad/iPhone/computer.

7. Bath with a magazine (in winter anyway!). With really good bubble bath.

8. Doodling like a kid with coloured pencils and felt tip pens.

9. Playing ball with my dog- she can cheer me up in seconds with that waggy tail!

10. Going to the library/ coffee shop to read- works every time for me.

What do you do to distract yourself from depressive thoughts?

Photo Credit: Herlitz-Monster-Deal via Creative Commons Licence.

25 thoughts on “10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed the Monster!

  1. carlarenee45

    I agree with you. I think we can counteract those negative thoughts that start gathering in our minds. My main thing when the negativity trys to take over, is too surround myself with positivity . I don’t watch or read about the news around the world, I make sure I have positive music playing in the background, I pray and thank God for all the good things. Just as long as it is positive and it takes my mind away from those things that bring me down.

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Totally agree with turning off/not reading the news- I do this too. In fact I’ve stopped altogether unless there’s something pretty big happened. It’s too upsetting most of the time.

      Thanks for sharing your ideas 🙂

  2. WeeGee

    …. My list isn’t too dissimilar to yours actually. But to it I would add Phone a friend, take a shower, cook something nice and clean my shoes (very therapeutic I find).

    Thanks for posting. It’s good to get new ideas on distraction techniques. Wee Gee x

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Cleaning your shoes is an interesting one! Showering is also a good one- especially in this boiling weather! I find water very therapeutic. I love swimming in the sea, that always distracts me, or going for a jacuzzi. Lovely!

      Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  3. Jen

    Great post! I love the metaphor of a monster, it works so well. I think I’ll put together my list to share too. I’ve also got a bunch of resources stashed away that might be of interest to you and your readers, I’ll take a look and dig them out.
    It is really kind of you to be so honest and sharing with what works for you. I love your blog xxx

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Thanks Jen! Will be good to see your list. Some people have some really quirky things they do, I love getting new ideas!

      I thought the drawing of the monster was really cute!

  4. Lubna

    This is a nice list. I went through depression when I was taking medicines for treatment of another ailment (am still on that medicine — but a lower dosage). To cut a long story short, I would not even feel like going for a walk – which is my best cure for depression.
    Then, I realised I just had to take care of myself and not let the monster gain the upper hand. I began to force myself to go for walks, spend time online – chatting with friends/calling friends (even if it wasn’t possible to meet – everyone is tied down with work and their own problems); and writing.
    The three W’s, writing, walking and working work for me all the time.

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing your distraction techniques!

      Walking is a good one for me too. We have a dog so I walk everyday. When my depression has been severe I physically can’t walk, and that’s the only time I ever go without. I enjoy the fresh air & a bit of nature.

      Working can be a really good thing in the mild-moderate stages.

      The three www’s is a great suggestion! Thank you.

  5. Ellie Potten (@Bookshop_Girl)

    Just stumbled across this – it’s a great list! Anything that involves combing through things (ie. takes ages) like the iTunes playlist idea or cutting out stuff for a scrapbook usually works for me. I also find funny sitcoms I can watch back to back for an hour or two at a time, and I sometimes do easy adminny things like editing my Pinterest boards, organizing my email inbox or sorting through all the pictures and documents on my hard drive. Getting absorbed in something like playing the piano or drawing something helps too. Just getting out in the sun and basking for an hour in the garden can be good enough – you get all sleepy and warm and the negative thoughts don’t intrude as much as if you did the same thing inside!

    1. rachelmiller1511 Post author

      Hi Elllie,

      Thanks so much for the lovely feedback- great to see you use these methods too. I think it really helps to take action to pick the mood up. Makes you feel more in control of it too. Thanks also for sharing your great suggestions. I love sitting out in the garden too- it’s amazing what a bit of sunshine & nature will do: it’s like a whole different perspective on life!


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  9. Smruthi

    Just reading this post has improved my mood so much. This is probably the most hopeless and lost I have felt in my years of depression, and at this point anyone in my life whom I ask for help is not willing to support me.. but I want to thank you for sharing this. I’m going to try some of these out, and I don’t need anyone else to do it!

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