There are many protective factors against depression and mental illness.

Perhaps the most surprising?  A common trait of those who recover more quickly and more fully from a depressive episode is GRATITUDE.

“Appreciation is the strongest form of love. When in a state of appreciation, messages from the amygdala (our brain’s fear center) don’t register” (source below). 

This is SCIENCE guys.

So, if you need a lift in your mood, I would encourage the simple practice of keeping a gratitude journal. 

Buy a new notebook for this. 

Or use one you already have.

Or scribble on old Target receipts or a McDonald’s bag. 

Use what you have, and turn it into a record of gratitude.

Writing down even just 3 things daily will do wonders for reducing anxiety/depression, NOT because your circumstances have changed, but because your outlook has changed.

It goes back to the rationale for why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is so effective. Change the way you THINK, and you’ll change the way you FEEL.

“The best way to overcome fear is with love.”


Sources (in a readable, less-formal format)

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett (

Integrative Psychiatry by Dr. Daniel Monti

Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression by Gander-Rene, et. al.



Side effects may include Depression

There’s a pill for every ill, right? So, it’s pretty likely that a prescription medication you are on for a medical reason is worsening your mood and perhaps increasing your depression.

Sometimes certain prescription medications are non-negotiable, and going off them will mean rapid decline.

However, there are also times when a doctor might offer you a pill for an illness/issue that can be corrected in other ways (including everyone’s favorite: lifestyle changes. Yay!)

If you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, check your kitchen cabinet or your bathroom vanity for the following:

•Birth control pills

•Blood pressure medication (i.e. beta-blockers)

•Cholesterol meds (i.e. statins)

•Steroids (these are the worst)

•Pain pills (especially opioids or triptans)

•Anxiety or ‘nerve’ pills (especially benzos)

•Antibiotics (especially Isoniazid)


•Immunosuppressants (like methotrexate, or)

•Diuretics or ‘water pills’

•Reflux medications (i.e. Nexium)

•Hormone placements (i.e. Premarin)

•Accutane for acne

•Interferons for viral infections

If you have depression and stumble across any of these medications in your daily regimen DO NOT STOP them without talking to your doctor first. But please do have this conversation: There may be a better alternative to addressing a medical problem that won't take such a toll on yourmental wellness at the same time.