[Serious] redditors with depression/anxiety, what have you found to be the best coping mechanism for you when you’re stuck in that “pit of sadness” part of depression?

Exercise for me.

I started cycling for kicks, not to get exercise or anything, but because it seemed like a fun way of getting around. It took me a couple of weeks to normalize that, but I noticed that when I got home from work everyday, sweating and panting, I was upbeat.

That led to cycling for sport, then lifting weights at home, and then swimming. I went through a bad break-up that earlier in my life would have crippled me for months. I ran through it and bounced back faster than I ever have. Fitness has become my addiction - I work out 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week.

  • It forces me to step out of home.
  • Tends to regularize my habits - I wake up early and sleep early. I feel I sleep better as well.
  • I eat healthier as a consequences (again, I don't try to, I just do). I've stopped overdoing the caffeine, and don't have a craving for high-sugar foods anymore.
  • My moods are regulated without me consciously thinking/dwelling on it. I feel stable to the extent that I can't identify with the person I was years ago.

When I miss my workouts for a couple of days or more, I feel anxious, I can almost feel gloom creeping in.

FWIW, I don't think it needs to be intense exercise. I believe even 30 minutes of fast walking could have a very positive effect (a hunch, no data to back that up) if done daily.

/r/AskReddit Thread