Most people get depressed from time to time--darkness, bad thoughts, frustration, anger, moodiness, whatever you call it. But how do I bring myself out of the dark times? I have a few helpful ideas that you might try. They seem to work for me at different times.

1. Goodbye to Toxic People

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Letting go of friendships or family members that you've known and thought would be there for you forever is one of the toughest things to do. But getting the haters, the tempters, the losers out of your life is key to your own mental health and your success in life. You are worthy. You are strong. You can do it.

2. Carefully Choose Your Close Friends

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Make relationships with happy people who have great goals in life. These types of friends will help build you up rather than tear you down. If you know that drinking alcohol and smoking weed are not helping improve your life, then select friends that don't drink and smoke. If you want to do better in school, then pick friends that actually study or want to do well in class. Pick friends that are sweet, humorous, trustworthy, kind, and care about you. It is key that they are not selfish and self-centered. Select friends who care. Remember friends take time, energy, and caring on your part too. It takes effort to be a good friend.

3. Do Activities You Enjoy

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You need to plan activities that will give you amazing memories. Visit the beach or the pier, ride bicycles, rollerblade, hike, dine, sing, dance, whatever brings you joy. Traveling and feeling like I'm on an adventure bring me joy. What place is on your bucket list? Save money so you can visit that one place. Having a plan to visit a new place will keep your mind on happy future events.

4. Love Yourself

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Love yourself and show it by exercising daily, eating healthier foods, and trying to get enough sleep. Yaaaaas, sitting on the couch, playing video games, and eating fast food can be fun occasionally. But over time, your health will deteriorate. Love yourself enough to be active and fuel your body. Believe me, my friends know I love pizza and Taco Bell, and I have to make myself eat vegetables and fruit. My friends also know I am a night owl who loves games, movies, & YouTube until 2 AM, and I have to make myself unplug and meditate/relax to overcome insomnia. It is vital that we love ourselves enough to take care of our bodies.

5. Fill Your Mind with Good Music, Movies, & Books

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Music can be life, and it can bring you out of a funk. Great movies and books can do the same. Analyze the music, the films, and the books you listen to, watch, and read. Make sure you are spending time with stories that speak to you and entertain, teach, or bring you joy. I do recommend not watching or reading a bunch of tragedies or horrific murder mysteries all in a row. You might find yourself down and wondering why. Alternate sad or horrific with happy or light. Some people do well with dramas and having a good cry; but I know for myself, I feel super down after watching something depressing. Know your triggers and note them. Avoid them.

6. Substitute Bad Habits with Good

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Yup, you've heard it before. Get a hobby, something you can focus on that will not have you bored and falling back into old, bad habits of feeling lonely, down, or angry. Learning new skills, creating amazing art, or experiencing new adventures can make life better. For some people, it's reading fan fiction. Okay, by "some people" I mean me :)

I hope some of these ideas might help you feel happier. If you have other great ideas, please let me know. Xoxo, Shelly