HEALTHY LIVING
07/08/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

12 Ways To Beat Depression

My therapist helped me to build a personalized "toolbox": a list of a dozen depression busters to direct me toward mental health, and an emergency lifeline in case I get lost along the way. I consult these 12 techniques when I panic, when I get pulled into addictive behaviors, and as armor in my ongoing war against negative thoughts. Here they are: twelve strategies to take us all to the promised land of recovery from depression.

1. Get Some Buddies

It works for Girl Scouts, depressives, and addicts of all kinds. I remember having to wake up my buddy to go pee in the middle of the night at Girl Scout camp. That was right before she rolled off her cot, out of the tent and down the hill, almost into the creek.

Our job as buddies is to help each other not roll out of the tent and into the stream, and to keep each other safe during midnight bathroom runs. My buddies are the six numbers programmed into my cell phone, the voices that remind me sometimes as many as five times a day: "It will get better."

2. Read Away The Craving

Books can be buddies too! And when you are afraid of imposing on others like I am, they serve as wonderful reminders to stay on course. When I'm in a weak spot, especially with regard to addictive temptations, I place a book next to my addiction object: the Big Book (the Bible) goes next to the liquor cabinet; some 12-step pamphlet gets clipped to the freezer (home to frozen Kit Kats, Twix, and dark chocolate Hershey bars); and I'll get out Melody Beattie before e-mailing an apology to someone who just screwed me over.

Read the rest.