20 Thoughts To Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression

“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” ~Gandhi

For a majority of my life, I struggled with depression and anxiety. I’d sometimes go for weeks without leaving my house or communicating with friends and family.

Like most people, my mind would race a mile a minute with depressive and anxious thoughts:

“Why couldn’t my life be better?”

“Everyone else has more fun and a better life than me.”

“I should be like this or that.”

“If only I had a little more money…”

Then, my world collapsed. I lost my job, my girlfriend, and a large chunk of friends, all at once. The questions and doubts crept in and kept swirling around my head for months. I was in a complete tailspin.

I was on the verge of breakthrough though; I just didn’t know it at the time.

One day, I decided I’d had enough. I put on my imaginary lab coat and got scientific.

I dissected what was triggering my depression and concluded that a major contributing factor was my inner voice.

I had to change it somehow. I needed to reorient my thoughts to be more positive.

I tried a bunch of different things: reading books, going to see motivational speakers, talking with friends and family, exercising, taking vitamins, everything except drugs. But nothing worked. In most cases, they made me feel worse. I just couldn’t shake it. I needed something else.

I decided to fight fire with fire. Whenever I felt myself slipping deeper into this funk, I’d write down reasons why I shouldn’t feel that way.

And guess what? To my surprise, it worked. Really well, actually! Now, if I feel myself slipping, I think the following 20 thoughts to help me avoid falling into a funk. I hope they help you as well.

Please note that depression and anxiety isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of. While it helped me, this might not be the case for you. This is definitely not a substitute for professional help. 

1. In order to have good things, there must be bad things.

Without one, the other couldn’t exist. So instead of lamenting the bad and celebrating the good, celebrate both. Celebrate the bad because it will eventually be good. And celebrate the good before it goes bad.

2. You’ll never be perfect—just like everyone else.

3. People are mean or angry or sad because they need to be at that time.

Just like a lightning bolt, it seems very intense and like it’ll last forever, but it’s only temporary.

4. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

You don’t ever want to find out what that’s like. Eventually, it’ll go full circle and turn into something bad.

5. You can’t control everything and everyone.

So why bother trying? Just flow with it. You can’t change the way things happen, but you can change your reaction to them.

6. Money and wealth are not the same.

Money can only buy stuff. Wealth is something money can’t buy. Money is fine jewelry and nice cars. Wealth is a full belly and a house full of loved ones.

7. You’re exactly where you are right now because that’s where you need to be.

You’ll only understand why in hindsight.

8. You don’t want or need to know the future.

Have you ever played a game with an inferior opponent? After a while, it’s obvious that you’re going to win every time. Then you stop playing. The same would be true if you knew the future. The fun is in the not knowing. Embrace it! Let life surprise you!

9. No one will remember the little flub you made in the office or at home earlier. 

If no one else is beating you up about it, why should you?

10. Life doesn’t assault you or throw curve balls at you; you get what you give.

Think you deserve better? Give better.

11. If you don’t like someone or they don’t like you it’s because you each see yourself in them.

12. Right now, at this instant, you have everything you need to be happy: Air in your lungs, blood in your veins, and lips to smile with.

13. When things break and need mending, it gives us something to do.

14. Everyone makes mistakes.

Even people you perceive to be perfect. They’re the furthest from it.

15. Success has no standard definition.

The beautiful thing is you get to define it for yourself.

16. Life is very simple. 

We just insist on complicating it.

17. You don’t need something to be happy. You need someone—and that someone is you.

18. Just like you look up to someone, someone out there looks up to you. Act accordingly.

19. There’s a lesson hidden in everything.

You just have to find it.

20. Other people have had your problems before and managed to overcome them. You can too.

I hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a more positive, whole person. Something as simple as writing down your thoughts can have a major impact on your life. It did for me.

Photo by kk+

Profile photo of Dorian Innes

About Dorian Innes

Dorian Innes is an executive who writes and lectures about life, happiness, and how he overcame some of life’s greatest challenges. Learn more about him at Follow him on twitter or instagram @dki.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
Announcement: Tired of feeling stuck? Learn to let go of the past & create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for this! I feel somewhat in a place like you mentioned at the beginning of your article – completely alone, depressed, financially unstable, only one friend who is also depressed and simultaneously growing tired of me…but articles like this one are inspiring, and these thoughts were comforting. It’s nice to read when someone who has been in a similar place as you has made it through.

  • You’re welcome, Elizabeth! So glad that it might help you during a difficult time in some way. Just know that it gets better. It really does. Time and a little patience with yourself goes a long way. Also, one profound thing that I once heard was that depression is a choice. That was like… wow! I’d never thought about it that way before.

    What exactly is happening right now? I’d love to help out. I’ve been in your situation before, so maybe I can offer a different perspective to your situation.

  • Kat

    Geez, Dorian. This really hit home for me ….and at the perfect time, too. I have been struggling with a good amount of anxiety (negative thinking) lately. A big thanks to you.

  • Kristopher

    thank you for this. I have been struggling with anxiety and these point I’m sure will help me… thank you

  • Lauren

    I loved this article. The only thing that struck me was this line… “Please note that depression and anxiety isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of.” While this may be the case for clinical depression and even some anxiety disorders that have gotten out of hand, I feel as though anxiety is highly treatable with positive self talk. That statement was a slightly discouraging one for those of us dealing with anxiety (both with and without professional help). I think no one should feel ashamed to get professional help for their depression or anxiety, but they also shouldn’t feel as though their mind isn’t powerful enough to tackle the demon, because it is, and I know this first hand.

  • Kat, I’m so glad that I’m able to help in some way during a difficult time. Feel free to reach out via my website if you have any specific questions or thoughts. I’d be happy to lend a hand wherever I can.

    What exactly are your struggling with right now? What thoughts are bouncing around your head? Maybe I can offer some outside perspective.

  • So glad I could help, Kristopher! I remember the holidays were an especially rough time for me. For many years in a row, I’d get really sick during this time of year. Turns out, my body was trying to literally purge itself of all these horrible thoughts!

  • Lauren, thank you so much for the kind words. I agree with you 100%, although I personally know a few people who really needed professional help to overcome their anxiety and/or depression, so I’m always hesitant to tell everyone that this will absolutely work for them. 🙂

  • Staci

    Thank you Dorian. I am a psychologist and im putting this up in my office for me and my patients.

  • You’re very welcome, Staci!

    Wow, that’s so cool! Thank YOU!

    In your experience, have you noticed a change once a patient understands or realizes that their thoughts may adversely affect their general well being?

  • Jennifer Hourani

    I liked this so much I’m sharing it on my Twitter. You really nailed it on the head with your proactive and methodical approach.. definitely needed for such an abstract and overwhelming state of mind. Thank you Dorian!!!

  • staci

    definitely! its amazing how talking about that in therapy brings more self awareness which can be very empowering. What we do unconsciously we might not realize until somebody else actually points that out.

  • Kathy

    Great list Dorian. I try to follow most of these positive tips but it does take practice – as you say positive talk is something you need to keep doing, especially when you feel down. I think its about being positive and also giving yourself permission to not always be positive and certainly not perfect (as in your points 2 & 3). And I really try to subscribe to your first point…cheers..kathy

  • Thank you so much, Jennifer!

    I agree. I remember thinking, “I’ve got to take myself out of this equation, somehow, and put everything down on paper and get methodical out of it.”

    It really helped to get my spinning mind out of the conversation and just look at the data and figure out what was the lynchpin of my problems.

  • Glad you enjoyed it, Kathy!

    It is definitely hard at times. But once you get things down on paper, it always helps. Suddenly, I got to take myself and my mental chatter out of the equation and go right to my notes for inspiration. It certainly helped that I wrote them myself, because just reading someone else’s words always felt distant and allowed me to say, “Ahhh, that’s someone else’s situation, that doesn’t apply to me.” Turns out that it did apply to me (see point #20), but I just didn’t realize it.

    Thanks again for the kind words!

  • Curious, what is eating at you the most? Maybe I can offer some guidance.

  • Nina Banana

    This article is a life saver. I just book marked this to help me on days when I feel as if I can’t go on any longer.

  • Thank you, Nina! I keep this list printed in my notebook and reference it from time to time as well.

  • lv2terp

    This is a wonderful post! GREAT tips/reminders! Thank you very much for sharing your experience and wisdom! 🙂

  • You’re so very welcome! And thank you for the kind words. Which point(s) stuck out to you the most? I’m always curious.

  • lv2terp

    Understandable…Smile. I really like them all Dorian, but the 3 that stood out the most for me were 6, 10, 15, and 18 🙂

  • Number 6 was a big one for me, as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • lv2terp

    Happy Holidays!!! Thank you for sharing too 🙂 HUGS

  • bbiinc

    Thank you Dorian. Really needed to read these as negativity has a way of completely overwhelming the mind. It is good to have reminders that we have the power to keep our lives simple or make it really complicated by dramatizing everything.

  • You’re welcome. 🙂 I once saw a demonstration of someone creating feedback with a microphone and a television and they said that this is what the mind does when it overwhelms itself with anxious and depressing thoughts. After a certain amount of time, you can’t hear anything but a screeching sound and it completely ruins and overwhelms whatever else you’re doing – whether good or bad. That really made me wonder about what I was doing in my mind.

    I agree! Fight fire with fire!

    Which point(s) were your favorite, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Same to you and yours!

  • I enjoed this thank you!

  • vub

    Some times, we know what we should be doing but some how lose a track of it.. This article has been a great reminder. Thank you Dorian.
    Life is simple, we insist on complicating it..
    P.S. I loved point number 5; felt like it was written just for me!

  • rivergirl

    Yes, I’ve just been through a slump (again) and got to a point where I was just tired of feeling negative and critical of life. I tried out the exact sort of thing you talked about above. I added exercise to the mix to give my mind something healthy to focus on. I’ve been surprised at how well everything has worked. The other key thing I did was try to eliminate comparing myself to others. I think avoiding the negative and critical self-talk works well when I keep in mind how it drags me down and saps my energy.

  • These are great suggestions whether you are down or not. Excellent ideas for ways to be happier. Thank you.
    Best regards,


  • Nidia

    This is a very enticing and cool article. Loved the advices!!!

  • You’re welcome, Alicia. Thank you for the very kind words!

  • So happy to hear that we both arrived at the same breakthrough! I don’t believe that we need to eliminate critical self-talk entirely, I think that we need to balance it. For me, and it sounds like you as well, the dominating voice in our heads were extremely negative and critical. Once the balance was struck, I became much better and happier, like yourself!

    Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

    Which point(s) hit home the most for you?

  • Hi David,

    You’re welcome and thank YOU for the kind words.

    Agreed! I still use them fairly often, even if I’m not feeling especially down at that point. It serves as a great reminder from time to time.

    Which point(s) resonated most for you?

  • Nidia,

    Thank you for the sweet words! Which point(s) stuck out to you the most?

  • So many!

    1. good things and bad things — the bad things never bothered me, they always seemed like small stuff. Then they started bothering me more. Realizing they are a normal part of life helped.

    2. no one is perfect.

    3. people need to be mean or angry at a given time — I love that way of looking at it. acceptance and non-judgment, etc.

    5. you can’t control everything and everyone — I have gotten much better limiting frustrations to things I can control, and then learning from those mistakes.
    6. Money and wealth. Wealth is a great abundance of anything, and the most important areas to be wealthy are family, friends, etc.
    7. you are where you need to be. reminds me of #1 and #3. It is what it is. Accept it. Breathe. Smile. Enjoy.
    8. you don’t want to need or know the future. anxiety over uncertainty is normal. i’ve learned that and it helped. letting go will help more.

    I could go on… 🙂

  • Wow, thank you! Agree 100% with all your insights on each point.

    All the things we get flustered over or let eat at us won’t go away (for the most part) so we don’t need to learn how to live with them, we need to learn that they are life as well and just let it go or even better, embrace it and turn it into something good. I’m working on a post about the drudgery and annoyances of life that you’ll find very interesting.

    Happy Holidays!

  • You’re very welcome, Vub!

    It’s so easy to fall back into our old ways that we do it without noticing sometimes, even when we know it’s bad for us.

    Number 5 is/was a doozie for me. I always had a proclivity toward taking charge in every situation and it almost always backfired on me. When I learned to really live by this point, it changed my life drastically. It was a very feeing feeling.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • bbiinc

    I like that analogy. It is also amazing that after hearing the screeching sound for a while, silence is deafening.

    I have a thought about lessons. At one point in my life I was excited about living in the moment and finding lessons in unhappy situations. Then came situations that I really could find any lessons without help. It was very frustrating. My mentor told me that life is yo be experienced one moment at a time. If we keep searching for things be it happiness, love or even lessons how will we e ver stay in the moment and experience the emotions we are meant to feel.

    I loved all your points but the ones I almost want to paint and hang on my walls are 7, 12, 16, 17 and 18. Okay who am I kidding? I’d like them all on my walls to remind me everyday of how to be peaceful.

  • I’ll look for that post. Happy holidays to you! 🙂

  • kellyn

    So happy I stumbled upon this -thank you, Dorian. Reading your words are very inspiring to me and as I can see, to many others as well. I have been avoiding going to see a grief counselor so instead I dig around on the web for help and this was a great find. Thank you again for the wise words and also for being open enough to share which is not always easy -to especially when smothered in sadness. Wishing you the happiest of holidays.


  • vub

    Thank you!



  • You’re welcome, Kellyn. So glad you found my little post helpful. And the same to you and yours!

    Which point(s) stuck out to you the most?

  • Nehjta

    I Googled about anxiety and got this post up. It’s spot on how I feel right now and have been more and more during this past year. The anxiety and negative thoughts seem to take over more and more and it’s really scaring me because I don’t know what to do, have tried all sorts of things just like you did. But I have not tried writing my thoughts down so much. Did you write down all the negative or just write something positive to try and force the neagative away?

    Have printed this post to read over again. Hoping a breakthrough is possible even for me because I’m really tired of living this way. Life’s too good .

  • Hi Nehjta,

    I’m so glad you found this post and am sorry to hear you’re in a situation similar to mine. I know how bad it is but also know that it is something you can absolutely overcome.

    I didn’t write down my negative thoughts, I decided that I’d probably focus more on them, so whenever I’d have a negative thought, I’d write down a reason why it wasn’t true or not as bad as I was thinking.

    Trying to force yourself to not think negative thoughts won’t work, believe me, I tried. You’ve got to let them happen, but nudge yourself, via writing down rebuttals, to realize that you’re looking at the world through a negatively colored window and it’s not as bad as you see it.

    I hope that helps! Be strong and embrace this time. It’s happening for a reason, it’s something you’ve got to go through, like I did, in order to ultimately become better and happy.

  • Nehjta

    Thank you Dorian. I found my way to your homepage and downloaded your free book which I will read asap. Also now following your great blog!

    I find myself every morning walking up going automatically into negative and anxiety mode. Just spiraling away from one horrible thought to another, and of course many of the things that run through my head are sooooo small actually. Ridiculous. If my brain can do that it sure can do the opposite, just have to find a way…

    I fully understand how you wrote down thoughts now (I’m from Sweden did not understand at first) and i’m going to start doing that.

    Thank you for uplifting words!

  • You’re welcome, Nehjta!

    You are 100% right. It just takes a little nudge to get the momentum going in the right direction. One baby step at a time is all it takes.

    Best of luck and Happy Holidays!

  • Cynthia Espinal

    I appreciate your positivity. I agree writing gave my mental dialogue somewhere else to be made permanent (imstead of my neural pathways lol). also, it is good to hear from yourself and take the time to care for yourself and listen to yourself. What do you recommend for staying positive when dealing with marriage to negative person who can be cruel and has drinking issues. I have been meditating to try to regulate my physical responses to him and it is helping. I am afraid to do anything because of my little ones. I am so torn about this and feel powerless with indecision, although writing this makes it seem clear. Hmmmm. Thanks.

  • Thanks so much, Cynthia! You’re in an incredibly tough situation and it seems like you’re doing everything you can to hold it together. I commend you for this! I don’t know if I’d be able to do it, myself, so kudos!

    That said, ultimately, you should do what your gut tells you. I always do the “gun-to-head” test when faced with a major decision like this. You have to take your mental dialogue out of the situation. We, as humans, can reason, excuse and talk ourselves into literally anything – including something that we know is bad for us.

    So instead, I let my gut guide me, and I can tell you it’s never, not once, been wrong. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard or seemed wrong at the time. But at the end of the day, it turned out to be the best decision I could have made.

    The gun-to-head test works like this:

    1) Write down the question you’re trying to answer. In your case I imagine it would be: “Do I stay or go?”

    2)Write down the possible answers: Yes or No.

    3) Without hesitating, close your eyes, ask yourself the question and then open them.

    3) Immediately, choose one of the options. If you hesitated when choosing, you probably picked the wrong answer. Scrap it and start over another day.

    Whatever you chose is your true choice and absolutely go with it! Don’t rationalize or worry. Just go.

    You can always fix mistakes as you’re in motion. It’s when there’s no motion that the real danger lies.

    I know it’s incredibly hard and you love your partner, but no one can save someone from themselves. It took me a long, long time to realize this. But whatever decision you make, I wish you the absolute best and thank you again for your comment. I hope I was able to help in some way.

  • Violaine

    This is very helpful. In fact, this is just what I needed to read!!!

  • Perfect! Glad it helped!

  • Salina Gomez

    Thanks for the list Dorian – a lot of simple yet powerful messages..I particularly liked the last one which reminds us that many are in the same boat as us and they have managed to overcome it. Here is some information on Positive Thinking that you may enjoy.. for sharing..

  • Maria

    Fantastc list! I have been there and these wise words are extremely helpful when in the depths of anxiety and depression. Number 7 is my favorite although it is hard to understand it when we feel so stressed and low. Brilliant!

  • Thank you, Maria! So glad you liked it. Number 7 is one I remember thinking how stupid this was when I was going through a particularly rough time. Then after I’d gotten well, I realized how true it was!

  • What I concluded with your thoughts is positive attitude plays an important role for a healthy and happy life. I like your way of explanation.Signs
    Of Depression

  • molly

    this is the most obnoxious thing i’ve ever read and is pretty much totally useless when it comes to true depression. none of the things on this list are getting to the core of the problem. we all know all of these things already! the problem is “so?”

  • Hi Molly,

    Very sorry you feel this way. I’m actually a little honored that I’ve written, what you consider, to be the most obnoxious thing you’ve ever read. I seek and actively welcome reactions to my work and that definitely qualifies as one. So thank you for the honesty.

    I wrote this piece in the hopes of maybe reminding you about these things that, in your case, you may have forgotten along the way. I certainly wouldn’t consider them some earth-shattering breakthrough either. If that was promised in this piece, I apologize. But every once in a while, it’s nice to see something and think, “Ah, there IS someone out there who thinks like I do.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “true depression”. Depression has many facets, some more severe than others, and is never the same for everybody.

    I firmly believe that the “core of the problem” you speak of, is not some singular thing we can point to and say, “Ah hah! That’s it! THAT’S why I’m depressed.” There’s no concrete, black and white, cause and effect when dealing with problems of an internal personal nature like this. Chemical imbalances may be categorized as this, but I’ve been witness to many people attempting to right their depression or anxiety by “fixing” these imbalances and, at best, it’s a band-aid on a gaping wound.

    We (people) have a way of weaving a very thick and complicated fabric in our minds and we feel that we must have an equally thick and complicated solution to it. But from my personal struggles, dealing with and overcoming depression is actually quite simple. You have to try to unwind the fabric and get right down to the bones of it. It’s during this process where you’ll eventually see the futility of this and give up. And that’s when you’ve solved the riddle. You’ve arrived at the conclusion that there never was any riddle to solve and all these built up things were an illusion and you’ve been chasing a ghost this whole time.

  • molly

    thanks for responding. i guess i can see how these little mantras or whatever could be useful for some people – and maybe these really deal more with anxiety than depression…? i have never obsessed over concepts like “success” or worried about things being out of my “control.”
    but this list you have here feels like a bunch of greeting cards.
    when there is a WRONGNESS in everything, you are already aware of all of these little truths, but they don’t make a difference when everything is clearly and inherently meaningless. and probably you also wanna die. and there’s nothing worse than people telling you that it’s just an “attitude” problem. sure, it’s a mindset, but that doesn’t mean you chose it.
    in some ways, i think depression gives us the most clear and straight-forward filter to view the world – everything really is this simple. it’s just not very pleasant.

  • molly

    perhaps this song explains the feeling better than i can…

  • It’s my pleasure.

    Glad you shared the song. I know that feeling all too well, I’m afraid. (Big fan of Josephine’s as well.)

    Certainly, not everything can be for everyone. I wrote them because I genuinely had those feelings and thoughts and used them to help lift my spirits. If they don’t work for you, that’s perfectly fine. I’m sure there’s something out there that will strike you the same way as these struck me.

    Yes, if you’re looking for the wrongness in everything, rest assured that you’ll find it. Coincidentally, if you’re looking for the rightness in everything, I can also assure you that you’ll find it. There is no such thing as wrongness unless rightness exists and vice versa. There’s no black without white, no inside without an outside, no happiness without sadness, and so on and so on. Opposing things exist all around us in perfect harmony, but sometimes we only see one side.

    I also agree that everything is meaningless. But here’s the secret: Since there’s no meaning, you can apply whatever meaning you want to anything. You can walk around with the magic wand of your mind and say, “This means this because I say it’s so!”

    Just be careful though, because if your magic wand has an inclination toward the darker side of things, like my mind used to, you’ll go, “This means that this is absolute crap, because I say it’s so!” And then you’ll feel like everything is horrible and hopeless, much like I used to.

    We have a fundamental difference of opinion here. Depression and your states of being are always a choice. It’s simply a matter of perspective. Two people can look at the same painting and one will see a depressing image of death, despair and hopelessness, while another person will see it as a beautiful portrait of hope, brilliance and tenacity.

    Believe me, I definitely didn’t feel that my depression and anxiety were something I was actively choosing to have. It was a very large reason why I had anger issues, as well. I felt that this life was thrust upon me and I was just being carried along on this horrible river of anxiety and depression and there was nothing I could do about it but hold on or end my life in protest.

    It wasn’t until I realized that there actually was a choice to be made, that I started to actively choose the opposite of what my tendencies leaned toward and discovered a whole other world that I’d never noticed before. Turns out it was there all along, I just didn’t have the capacity or willingness to see it at the time.

    Hopefully my words help in some way. I’ve been in your exact spot. Frankly, I had your mindset for a majority of my life. So I’m all too familiar with it. But I can tell you, with absolute confidence, that if you’re willing to see things a little differently, a little glimmer of light can appear and eventually, slowly, start lighting up your life in ways you’ve never imagined. You just have to try and seek it out and do your best to combat the notion that you have no choice in the matter and prove yourself wrong.

  • Lucy

    Thank you for number 7 🙂 i think i might enlarge that, print it and stick it in a frame 🙂

  • teresa

    Hi Dorian! I copied your list and post it in my facebook acct with your name as the author. I want to share it to my friends who need them and also for myself because I usually feel depressed. Thank you, I hope this could help us.

  • Teresa,

    Thank you so much, that’s awesome! I hope it helps you and your friends who might be having a tough time, that would honestly just make my day. 🙂

  • Lucy,

    It’s my pleasure :). If you do, please send me a picture. I’d love to see it!

  • Heather

    10. Life doesn’t assault you or throw curve balls at you; you get what you give.

    Think you deserve better? Give better.

    If you give all you have and still get the curve balls then what- this is the only one I found to cause more negativity than something positive.
    Not sure what we are meant to take from this one??

  • Springdale Clinic

    Do what you love this will reduce the anxiety, laugh often and be quite and calm for sometime, meditate for a while, get enough sleep.

  • Hi Heather,

    Curve balls (better known as unmet expectations) are life, so just flow with it and make smart decisions for yourself and have no fear of being selfish about what you want and need out of life.

    Giving better doesn’t necessarily mean giving more. It took me ages to learn that there was distinction between the two.

    In some cases, giving less, or giving differently was/is the better route. If something isn’t working, or you’ve tried everything you can think of and run out of options, then it’s time to switch it up and that could include doing literally nothing at all. I’ve found that, even when trying to help a situation, I’ve only made it worse and the second I stepped away or just let something go on it’s natural course, it worked itself out. As the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    You might enjoy reading my complimentary post called 20 Life Lessons I Learned Overcoming Depression and Anxiety. There’s definitely a couple of points that address what you’re talking about:

  • RandyH

    Just stumbled across this article for the first time. Nice work Dorian. I will reference it regularly!

  • Carrie Cowherd

    I’m curious as to whether you went through a season of depression brought on by difficult circumstance or if you were diagnosed with clinical depression? Do you have a chemical imbalance in you brain, i.e. low serotonin? Have you taken meds for depression/anxiety? I ask because clinical depression is not cured with positive thinking or life affirming mantras!

  • Thanks, Randy!

  • If more than a decade counts as a season…

    I’ve never gone to the doctor for my depression and therefore have never been officially diagnosed, but I would have met all the criteria for clinical depression.

    I’d never take meds because I don’t believe in short-term solutions for long term problems. They don’t cure anything. They may help and manage, but that’s on their best days.

    Totally agree with you that it can’t just be talked away. Which is why the article states: “Please note that depression and anxiety isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of.”

    Also note that the article’s title says “Relieve” which is defined as: “cause (pain, distress, or difficulty) to become less severe or serious.” and not “Cure”.

    Depression can be overcome and/or greatly minimized with lots of work, including writing down positive thoughts, outside of drugs and therapists, which is the path I thankfully chose. Writing my thoughts down worked extremely well and helped me tremendously. But as they say, “Your mileage may vary” and one-size, obviously, doesn’t fit all.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • KYLE

    Everybody deserves happiness.=]

  • worry

    Hi u say if someone doesn’t like u its because u r like them I hope that’s not true. That’s makes me worried cause I analyzie everything. There a person at my job who is so mean so me I pray I can’t be like that. I’m a good person I think

  • Joanne

    I disagree with number 11. While this is true in some cases, I often find that the people I have an aversion to are loud, overbearing, and throwing themselves into other people’s faces and lives. I’m the exact opposite. I don’t speak unless spoken to. I keep everything to myself. I simply dislike that personality type.

  • Hannah

    11. If you don’t like someone or they don’t like you it’s because you each see yourself in them.
    This is not always the case and it is a very important distinction. If someone is a bully, is intentionally cruel, and/or abuses you in some way, this may very well be one of the reasons that a person is anxious or depressed. I know one too many cases of verbal abuse in the workplace. While dealing with this type of behavior is an entirely different subject, it IS an important distinction for someone battling acceptance!

  • Cajetan

    I’m sorry, but the person who put this together doesn’t seem to understand depression as a disease that people battle with for years. I know that he’s quite proud of his list, but many of these quotes actually seem to do more harm than good, especially #s 7 10 16 18 and 20. It’s as if he is saying that we deserve to be where we are because we insist on making things complicated by our own doing. It places blame rather than attempting to help or encourage.

    You don’t tell someone with anxiety, “It’s actually quite simple, so just do it,” which is what #16 suggests. You don’t tell someone with depression, “Well, others got through it” or “someone is looking up to you, so you need to act accordingly.” That’s not encouraging at all; it only places more pressure on the person suffering. And “think you deserve better, give better” is the most vague, worst piece of advice to give to someone with depression and anxiety. Again, it places blame rather than offers any sort of advice or encouragement. That quote sets a person up to either fail or succeed, and when someone fails, then it means that s/he didn’t “give better.”

    Encouragement and understanding are what someone with depression and anxiety need, not quotes that imply judgement. I know that Dorian Innes meant well and I appreciate the effort of putting this list together, but this list needs to be seriously revised if it is meant to help relieve anxiety and depression.

  • Several people around the globe certainly deal with anxiety and depression and others really find it difficult to handle such crises. These thoughts you have provided are very helpful. Readers will surely benefit from this. Thank you for posting.

  • James

    Thank you.. I needed this today. My past few weeks have been rough with no outlet. I tend not to ask for help, and show subtle clues that I wish someone would. I hold it all in, and it builds up. Energy is neither created or destroyed, only transferred!

  • Geek210

    This was a nice read. You are awesome!! I am working towards getting over my anxiety.

  • laura

    This has made my day. Thankyou 🙂

  • rfc
  • rachelfc

    just a poem or two about this

  • SuburbanTurnip

    thankyou, this helped me alot.

  • Matt

    I just want to briefly say that some people agree that depression is a disease to some and to others it’s not. A disease is something you accept because naturally, there’s nothing you can do. That’s why there’s a huge market for drugs that cure diseases. I refuse to accept my depression as a disease because it can be naturally cured, healed, or walked away from.

  • J

    I suffer from depression and anxiety, and think they’re definitely diseases, and I also think this blog entry was spot on!

  • jackson

    Do you need an urgent loan to start up a good business or to pay off your debt ? interested applicant should contact us now on for more information

    RF ROAD, Bare, BELGIUM, UK, T3
    +447035947330 +3266468733

  • anony

    Please tell me more about number 17, I agree that we don’t need “things” to be happy, but we do need others, we need a kind of attention, we need love, without them we can’t be happy. I don’t understand what do you mean that I need myself to be happy, if you mean loving myself. how can I love myself as a way for being happy when I’m depressed? I think it can’t help… when I’m mentally alone I can’t be happy. can I? if yes, how?

  • greeneyedtraveler

    Actually the method of diagnosis for depression is a series of questions, no blood test or scans to measure this chemical imbalance that drug companies and doctors and psychologists speak of is purely theorised,and that is the simple reason why treatment with these psychotropic drugs can do as much damage as good….tread carefully and as for positive thinking and life affirmations they never hurt anyone…and have helped many people…it’s no quick fix to retrain how you think and it is certainly hard work and takes perseverance and self forgiveness…without this mantras or pma have no meaning or substance..xx

  • Guest

    I just found this one to be very, very incorrect. My mom, very healthy from all appearances, ran marathons, was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer and died soon after.

    That was such a curve ball and life DID assault me and my family. I doubt we gave anything out to deserve such a horrible thing to happen to us.

    Sometimes bad things just happen because life is unfair and you could give and give and it still won’t guarantee that nothing bad will happen to you.

    And it certainly doesn’t mean that, if something bad happens to you, that you some how deserve it.

  • Daria

    Oh yaaay! You made me smile and I thought that was impossible today. Great advices, thanks. 🙂

  • I’m very sorry for your loss. My younger sister was diagnosed with cancer at age 19, but thankfully, she’s now in remission. But I can certainly emphasize with the pure shock and confusion of a situation such as your mother’s.

    I’ll readily admit that the point in question doesn’t answer every and all instances. Heck, I can’t think of a single answer to anything that will cover every instance in the history of the universe, so please understand that.

    Bad things do happen, and I certainly don’t mean to imply that there’s some “Karmic Guillotine” waiting to come down on you for all your life’s misgivings. That’s a very western definition of the word Karma and is quite far from the original meaning of karma.

    I’ve spoken about it before in other comments. But bad things will always happen and it’s up to us to determine how we react to them and the impressions we allow them to leave on us. That’s the only control we can ever definitively exert in our lives.

    Again, I’m sorry for your loss. Condolences.

  • Awesome to hear! Have a great day!

  • What I was meaning was that if you’re constantly “needing” something to feel like yourself or better – whether it be an item or a person or circumstance, you’re always going to be chasing that elusive definition of happiness or contentment. I ran that circular race for most of my life. It was horrible.

    This is going to be different for everyone. But if you’re constantly feeling discontent or depressed over your circumstances, you have to realize that you’re the only thing that can change it and ultimately improve it. And the solution will always come from within, not the outside.

    The best way I can describe it is via this well-known epigram:

    “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”

  • Thank you!

  • You’re welcome!

  • And now you’ve also made my day. 🙂

  • Thank you!! Keep working, it’s worth it.

  • Only way to get help is to ask for it. That’s a hard pill to swallow for me, as well.

  • Everyone is different and I appreciate the inverse opinion to my own.

    I can only speak from my personal experiences and these helped me tremendously – as a sufferer of severe anxiety and depression for at least half of my life. When I started making myself accountable for how I was feeling, I realized that I was much more to blame for my circumstance than anyone or anything else.

    That’s a very, very jagged pill to swallow. A lot of people will fight against it, like I did. But I found that only once I admitted this to myself that I truly could start working on improving my way of life.

    While I’d love to wave my magic wand and utter words that will help and apply to everyone, that’s simply not realistic.

    I agree, encouragement and understanding is also part of a very complex equation and that would definitely be for a whole other post. 🙂

  • Arlia

    Beautiful thoughts. It is worth trying natural remedies too, they are rooted in science and they do work.

  • charlene

    Thankyou for the encouragement 🙂 Dont know why people gave you crap, when your only intention was to help others.
    I know I enjoyed and will be bookmarking this page to come back and remind myself that I wont be a victim of anxiety. Thanks again.

  • Dennis Simsek

    No 5: you can’t control everything and everyone, this is my favorite because too many times an anxiety sufferer gets into a cycle of needing to control everything. That includes symptoms of anxiety, panic etc. Truth is we all experience these,and for non sufferers the links have been made up that they are not harmful, just a temporary discomfort.

  • Maven

    i like this list. It’s not perfect but it helps. People have ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) and suggestions have been made to create A.N.T. – eaters. haha. so silly but it may work to basically “talk back” to your negative thoughts to help make them go away.

  • seaseatea

    This is complete bullshit. Life doesn’t assault you? Is this what you say to the Nigernian girls who were recently kidnapped and will likely be used as sex slaves possibly for the rest of their lives? Or to people who were abused as children (or adults), or tortured, or raped,suffering from a horrible disease or have seen their families murdered during conflicts? Only very privileged, wealthy, healthy, people can indulge themselves in this type of psychobabble. There are lot of real suffering in the world that has nothing to do with the person it has been visited upon. I can’t stand how sheltered and absolutely stupid some of these “advice” givers are. This guy needs to pick up a history book or newspaper.

  • Lula

    Number 7 pisses me off so much! Whenever someone says this to me, I think of the day my daughter died. There will never be a moment in which, in hindsight, I realize that that was exactly where I needed to be. The idea of a grand plan or design for our lives is just plain offensive in that sense.

  • Member48

    Think u deserve better…give better <— I like this! Ty!

  • kavin paker

    Have faith in yourself. I think you will be surprised by how much you will do, all in good time!

  • Andy Doolan

    Hi Dorian,
    Came across your article thanks to the wonders of Google search. I very much appreciate the time you’ve taken to write it.

    I am attempting to reduce and then fully come off my Psychiatric medication, the “withdrawal” effects, that I am going through at the moment are truly not pleasant!

    I am Bi-polar, so on quite a collection of pills, although going back to my 20’s what I’m taking now is far less, I rattled my way through my early 20’s. Anyhoo having gone through majority of my life suffering severe bouts of depression, anxiety, etc etc. I have tried a lot of different approaches to help, to this day nothing has helped as much as making a determined effort to change my inner voice, and working with the negative thoughts in as positive manner as I’m able.

    I wouldn’t disagree with any of your points, and I’m certainly glad to have stumbled upon it on a darker day as today is!

    I’m still fighting it a lot of the time, but the more I do the more my life improves, looking back now the improvement within myself is fairly drastic, and whilst medication has it’s place, It is not a long term friend of mine. The withdrawal makes me wonder just what it was doing to me to cause such a reaction upon stopping.

    I’ll stop now, I gibber! I only wanted to say Cheers!

  • khunson

    I think this is nice , it give me reassurance. although depression is a mental illness that can’t be controlled, these help make it easier. Thank you , i needed this today.

  • Edel King

    so true. happened to me recently, a bullying manager who was on a lot of prescription meds herself for various illnesses, purely wanted to take me down as I had my health and was happy going into work. So I left. If you can’t change or accept a situation then leave it, my own mental health came first.

  • Whitney

    You seem incensed that Dorian is challenging your external locus of control.

  • Whitney

    To me the list is purely freeing.


    Hi Dorian.
    This is a great post with some really useful insights that can only be beneficial to the reader. No 10 was relevant to me today. In life you do truly get what you give. Whether in a positive way or a negative way. If you desire quality give quality.

  • guest

    Thank you so much for this list. It is really mind-opening and relieving in some sense.

  • Quils

    This is very good tips to live by.. Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. No. 16 really gets me because i always over-analyse on things. At the end of the day, there is really nothing to it, and im just stressing unnecessarily. Life is indeed simple, we just insist to complicate things.

  • Josh

    I have a feeling you were not dealing with clinical depression or chronic anxiety. You were probably having manic episodes that may have been milder or completely different. This list isn’t for depression and anxiety, it’s for drama and self loathing. If I, or anyone I know who actually had depression, tried half these things while slipping into a low we would probably end up there that much faster.

  • A123

    You know I was going through a pretty harsh week until I saw this post. Thank you very much.

  • Danny

    This is a great read. Thank you. I’m battling alcoholism and with that comes a lot of anxiety and depression and this is amazing advice.

  • Danny

    The author is simply offering advice to help relive, not cure. Please share with me your 20 points of wisdom.

  • may

    this really helped me thank you

  • Jessie

    I’ve been through a lot in the past few yrs. I am 60 and have been suffering from anxiety and depression for many many yrs. first my mom pasted away. Two months later I separated from my husband of 27 yrs. due to emotional abuse and divorced 4 months later. No job and mostly alone. My life situation is better. My ex and I have reconciled and I moved back into the house he got in the divorce. It has been 4 months now and our relationship is better than ever. But I feel like a bad person because I have to deal with anxiety and depression almost everyday. I just wake up sad. I have no self-esteem and cry at some point everyday. Iv’e tried every drug for depression that there is. Counseling….reached out to friends. I have so much. Why can’t I just be happy. I just can’t feel joy. Everything is Blauh….I can’t stand it anymore. I have no energy !

  • C Kenney

    I just want to go to sleep so the day will end. Then I am stuck wide awake all night and I worry about everything.

  • robert hingston


  • Heather

    The fact that I see nothing but negative comments on this article should probably say a lot more about the commentators than the author. The author is not trying to fix you, but allow you points to fix yourself. If something doesn’t work for YOU, stop complaining and learn to find something that does work. These points are not meant for everyone and it’s amazing to me that people feel the need to try and compare their depression on here, as if it’s so much coolor to have worse depression. Every human experiences depression differently, you are no better or worse than someone because of how bad your case is. Just because you may disagree with a point on here gives you no right to question someone else’s personal experiences. And just because you have a mental disease, such as depression, does not excuse you from being a nice person. Stop arguing over petty articles and go fix yourselves. To the author, I actually enjoyed the article and found some points helpful for my own journey with both anxiety and depression. Thank you.

  • Safina Rose

    This has helped me immensely, thank you so much 🙂

  • You’re welcome! Glad it was able to help.

  • Heather, very well put. Appreciate it and thank YOU!

  • Blah

    You don’t understand depression. All these things won’t motivate a depressed person who has lost complete hope. Its a sinking feeling. Each day you fall in further. All this is nice to read, but not helpful.

  • vinod patel

    Plz help me from unnecessary and fearful thought.when I go for study thought comes to act like’ competition he or she better than me.etc.I can not concentrate on my study and I have an exam in 3 day plz give me solution of my psychic nature

  • Nathy

    I appreciate you writing this, I do. I can understand why some may disagree, but I do not agree with a majority of those people. I’m suffering with anxiety and depression, though I will admit it’s getting better as I’m opening up to people about it, and I think this list is rather simple yet brilliant. I have taken no offense from this, but you have reminded me that simplicity is sometimes the best key to solving our problems. I hope all is well with you 🙂

  • Bells

    I’m so depressed and so tired of everything. I didn’t even read the whole article because those are the same things everyone tries to say whenever you feel just sad. And not, depression is not sadness. I would give everything so depression could be just sadness. It’s a good effort, but really… it just made me feel worse the fact that those phrases just made me feel worse because they are not enough. I feel so frustrated right now because I’m so helpless that I ended up here because I can’t really talk to anyone so I look for help wherever I can.
    This might help someone about to enter depression, and thank you for trying, because this may not help me but someone else out there.
    I just want to write my feelings our because I feel so trapped.

  • Patrick

    Love the advice. Yes some of it doesn’t seem right TO ME personally, but it’s not for everyone. I’ve suffered from depression since I was 11. Bullied constantly in middle school for my sexuality and shyness and then in high school I was the weird kid and the gay kid and my dad got sick with his diabetic foot wound on and off for years

    my mom had to quit her job to take care of him because he wouldn’t do it himself… then one day they have a huge argument i find out he didnt take his meds one day…BAM…a week later he is dead.

    Now I’m 20 in college don’t know what to do with my live living with my mom who literally is nobody she has no job spends half her time laying in bed other half making costumes for cosplay…I’m extremely depressed. I want to understand why my life has been so difficult. I’m a child who was adopted and my birthmom gave birth early to me. I have FAS (more like effects, I live a normal life look normal etc but cognitively it’s hard to keep friends etc because I’m so angry and impulsive) life is hard. I don’t know what to do anymore…

  • Aimee

    #1 and #4 really helped me a lot. thank you:)

  • Jesse

    Reading through these comments from readers isn’t surprising at all. You are doing the things the list is saying not to do. My wife, and lifelong friend, suffers from severe depression and anxiety, but I don’t suffer from it myself. The list says to look at things in a positive light as much as possible, your depressed and anxious brain automatically makes you combative and scream he doesn’t understand. Maybe he does, you just don’t like it. PERSPECTIVE!!!!!! It changes everything.

  • Guest

    I agree with you in the since that you can’t just do it, but it does help to stay positive as much as possible. I’m a genuinely nice and understanding person. I have the best karma you could ever have, but I struggle with depression and anxiety. Whenever I have an anxiety attack I shake uncontrollably. I feel like a lot of this was a positivity pep talk, which doesn’t hurt at all, but it wasn’t said in the best way.
    Perfect example:
    I recently found out I have serious disease. I looked up every symptom and treatment. I researched every possible thing I could find. There are somethings that you cannot cure, and I have more than one, but I always make sure to find the good in the bad. Most anti depressants make me nauseous, so I decide not to take them. Instead I always take time to think about the good within the bad, and I treat everyone with kindness. I’ve never felt the need to treat someone else cruelly, because if it won’t cure your situation, why treat someone that way. Think positive and be the friend people need. Depression, wether long or short term, can effect almost every person you meet. Show them how you relieve your pain. For me, this post helps

  • robert hingston

    : you mention a house full of loved ones is wealth I think everyone knows that is good but saying that to depressed people is only going to make them feel worse, Especially if they lived alone all their life’s, millions of lovely people and you mention that .. And that supposed to make people feel better

  • Zee

    I know I’m way late on this post but thank you so much. You have no idea how better this has made me feel.

  • Emilie

    Thank you soo much for these positive sayings. I’ve been looking for stuff like this to help with my anxiety/depression “side effects of my ADD meds” and this helped so much!! I read this every time I need that extra boost when my anti anxiety/depression meds just aren’t enough.
    Forever grateful~

  • Mommy

    This list is so wrong….none of these comments will help a person suffering from depression… it’s not like someone can wake up and think themselves better….that’s why they have depression in the first place…because they think they can fix it on their own…I was looking for something positive and this is all BS…I think you still have depression and are just in denial…