Before looking at how to beat depression, it’s important to understand why creating a support network around you is so significant. One of the most universal symptoms of depression is social withdrawal. When we are depressed we do not want people to see us in our present condition. When we are depressed the thought of having to go somewhere and make small talk seems exhausting. We derive less pleasure from social interactions or find them an outright burden. For all these reasons depression pushes people toward social isolation. The sad irony is that this very social isolation actually compounds the darkness and unpleasantness of clinical depression.
It’s not surprising creating a team of supportive people around you is one of the most important steps for how to beat depression. It can be both uncomfortable and encouraging. Depending on the severity of the depression, a person can experience benefits to a depressed mood by interacting with people in short, meaningful ways. This also has implications for how to beat depression before it starts, i.e., prevention. Having positive, encouraging friendships helps to stimulate the brain in ways that help protect against depression. This seems to be true even though friendships have their own problems that can create stress.