This list comes from John Thompson’s book Urban Impact: Reaching the World through Effective Urban Ministry. 2010. Pgs. 95-97
1. A depressed person should open the shades of his house and let the light in. He should not live in a dark, dingy house. Researchers agree that sunlight can reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder—more commonly known as seasonal depression. A commonly accepted belief is that the lack of natural chemicals in the body such as serotonin promotes depression. Indirect sunlight entering the eye gate stimulates the body’s production and release of this chemical.
2. He should get out of the house, go for a walk, go to church, and force himself to spend time with godly friends. A person suffering from severe depression can stay locked in his house for months and even years at a time. To break the hold that depression has on him, he needs to take steps to change his environment.
3. He should spend time with positive, encouraging people who will lift his spirit.
4. If one is to have consistent victory over depression, it is necessary to read the Bible daily. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
5. He should listen to positive, uplifting music. The previous verse in Colossians 3:16 also exhorts us to use the valuable tool of music. Research has proven that music has a major effect on our moods.
6. He should pray throughout the day with a thankful spirit. One of the characteristics of a person who is depressed is fatalistic or pessimistic thinking. Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Verse six contains an imperative or command, implying that it is disobedient to harbor anxious or worrisome thoughts. These thoughts demonstrate the opposite of faith in a God who provides our needs. We need to practice the “stop-think approach.” Stop the anxious or worrisome thoughts because the previous verse, Philippians 4:5 (NIV), says “[t]he Lord is near” and to present our requests to God. The promised result will be a heart filled with the peace of God.
7. We should encourage the depressed to think about good things. In times of anxiety Paul tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:8–9). To think about woes or the possible problems that could be faced only reinforces a negative mindset. To aid in thinking on the positive, a regular diet of God’s Word along with positive biblically-based Christian literature is extremely helpful.
8. The depressed should meditate on God’s Word. Joshua 1:8–9 says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
9. A counselor should confront distorted and irrational thinking, counseling the depressed person to renew his mind (Rom 12:2). Usually, his thinking is faulty. Failed dreams, desires, and aspirations are often idols of the heart. The desire to be successful is not a sin, but sometimes we raise it to such a high level of importance that it becomes more important than God and becomes an idol. The counselor needs to try to discern the root cause so that he can help the person understand and deal with distorted thinking.
10. We should encourage the depressed person to help others. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” There is something revitalizing about taking our minds off our own woes and putting our efforts into helping another person.
11. He should be reminded that, as a believer, he can find strength and victory in Christ. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
12. In some cases, one may need specialized help. Depression can come from physiological or biological sources. A doctor may be needed to help make that determination.