2 Tips For Beating Depression Today

Man smiling

The limbic system is an area known to be vastly involved with some of the most fundamental processes of being human.  Through Amen Clinics SPECT imaging work, we have found that when the deep limbic system is overactive, it results in mood-related problems, especially depression. Also, we have observed that depressive symptoms can arise when the brain has low activity. Injury can cause low activity from events such as concussions, infection, loss of oxygen, and exposure to toxins.

By looking at our patient’s brain function through SPECT, we can identify the underlying brain biology of a person’s depressive systems, allowing us to target proper treatment efficiently.

Here are two simple yet powerful lifestyle strategies that can be helpful in reducing depression:

#1. Your Brain is Happy When You Exercise

Exercise is the most important thing to do when feeling depressed. When we exercise our brain releases “feel good” chemicals that help with our sense of well-being. In fact, a study that compared antidepressant medication with exercise found that both therapies were equally effective after sixteen weeks, and after ten months, exercise was more effective.

#2. Identify and Kill Your “ANTs”

ANTs are the Automatic Negative Thoughts that pop into your head, causing you to get upset, depressed, and anxious. There are nine species of ANTs:

  • All or nothing thinking: Also known as black and white thinking.
  • “Always” thinking: Using words like, always, never, no one, everyone, every time, and everything.
  • Focusing on the negative: Selectively seeing only the bad in a situation and disregarding the good things that occur.
  • Fortune telling: Predicting the worst possible outcome to situations.
  • Mind reading: Believing that you know what another person is thinking even though he or she hasn’t told you.
  • Thinking about your feelings: This happens when you believe your feelings and don’t question them, even when there is no evidence to support how you feel.
  • Guilt beatings: Thinking with words like should, must, ought and have to.
  • Labeling: Calling yourself or someone else a derogatory name diminishes your ability to see situations clearly.
  • Blaming: When you don’t take responsibility for your actions, you lose your power to make changes.

To overcome automatic negative thoughts, you must first become aware of the dialogue in your head. Once you identify an ANT, write it down, identify it and then kill it by writing down a more realistic version of the same thought. For example:

  • ANT: No one will ever want to date me.
  • ANT species: “Always” thinking.
  • Kill the ANT: That isn’t true. I can meet people by putting myself in new social situations.

Practice these two strategies whenever you need to overcome feelings of depression. Make exercise and identifying your feelings part of your life. Apply them and you will feel a difference in your day.

Depression is not the results of a character flaw or personal weakness. If you or a loved one is struggling, contact Amen Clinics today or call (888) 288-9834.


  1. I lost my girlfriend 5 months ago and it hurts so much I’m lost with out her will these feelings get better thanks

    Comment by Raymond cann — October 26, 2018 @ 4:40 AM

  2. Raymond, I am just searching for some ideas to beat my depression. I know about loss, too intimately, and I have to tell you that I have stretched it out entirely too long. This I know for sure. It’s difficult to get out there and try to live life ” inspite of”…….. Fight! Do it!

    Comment by Donna Rose — December 5, 2018 @ 10:23 AM

  3. Is there more ideas on line about this?

    Comment by Veda — December 26, 2018 @ 5:26 AM

  4. Raymond

    First I am so so sorry for the loss of your girlfriend. Grief is so personal and you will go through so many stages of grief. Be kind to yourself, and never listen to the you should by now people. Loss of any kind is traumatic and devastating to your heart and soul. Find a safe person family or friend that you can talk to, cry with, reminisce with about your girlfriend. My only real consultation in my grief experience was time and that is different for everyone, but time does lessen and heal the hurt and pain. You will never forget but I promise it will get better.

    Comment by Elaine Bongiorno — December 26, 2018 @ 6:09 AM

  5. Wish my one adult daughter would read this. Afraid to sent it on to her as I don’t know how she will take it. She takes so much that one says or does, or doesn’t do as slights. I wish she would exercise. She doesn’t eat healthy and is overweight. Those “ANTS” describe her way of thinking and doing. At my birthday party a few weeks ago, I asked her to help me finish clearing the tables. She said “Let them do it”. Them being the next generation; two of which were washing/drying dishes at the time, others folding up folding tables and chair, taking out garbage etc. Later she told me that she shouldn’t have to do dishes because she is over 60. Didn’t say it, but wondered if that also applied to me.
    She left my house yesterday before dinner without saying “good bye”. We called and texted her but would not answer. Later she texted my youngest and said she didn’t feel as she fit in, that others were helping me get things together for dinner, (she can later than most and doesn’t come often, therefore the routine. Neither does she cook so I usually ask her to help a granddaughter set the tables and ). She also said that I didn’t acknowledge her when she came in. I don’t know when she came in. I was at the kitchen island reading pans of lasagna, trying to figure out when to get them in the top oven, more food in the bottom one, when to take the roast out of the top oven……………Adding to that, there were great grandkids, five of them under 6 plus older ones. Why do little boys like screaming. In other words, a house full of my kids, their spouses, grandkids, great grandkids and me with slipped discs (with nerve impingement) plus arthritis and bursitis in both hips, trying to concentrate.

    We lost my youngest son three years ago. It was horrible. Told he had 3-6 months to live; brought him to my house the following Friday (with caregiver and hospice). Sunday he stopped talking and eating. I sat next t him all night just touching him and talking to him. Early am his brothers, sisters and sons were here. One few on my out of state. My son died that morning. We all hurt, just typing this makes me cry. My son was a loving, joyous (brought the sun in the room with him). I know how hard this on all of us. My daughter, the one I am writing about) didn’t come here for most holidays after my son died. She said it was too hard remembering him on holidays in my house. My youngest said
    but I’m here. OK, enough; guess I needed to get this out. I wish I had a magic wand to heal my daughter.

    Comment by Maureen — December 26, 2018 @ 6:30 AM

  6. Many thanks Dr. Danial for this a great information
    Libyan psychiatrist

    Comment by Ali ABDUSAMAD FROM Libya — December 28, 2018 @ 8:18 AM

  7. One thing that I never see addressed about “blame” is when the opposite is true, and a person is gaslighted into taking responsibility for the bad behavior of others. What results is a person whose ANTs are all about taking responsibility for things far beyond their own control that also does not fit into the category of guilt beating. Yes, there are a lot of people who don’t take ANY responsibility for things that they are accountable for, but I’ve also seen people be accountable for things that were in no way their own fault, or that couldn’t be helped. One prime example is a person I know who feels guilty for breathing too loud as the result of an ex-spouse that constantly ribbed him for it. He doesn’t breathe any differently from anyone else but with enough reinforcement that breathing was a bad thing, he developed a major anxiety about it. There is plenty of blame to go around for everyone, it’s not just about not accepting self-accountability!

    Comment by Jenny — January 6, 2019 @ 12:35 PM

  8. Thanks for this article, great information.

    Comment by Rebecca — March 18, 2019 @ 4:38 AM

  9. All excellent comments.

    Comment by David MAnn — March 23, 2019 @ 6:49 AM

  10. I went to your clinic in Orange County to ask for help.
    I was told, after I had my two spect Examens ,
    To just walk with more urgency 4 Miles in one hour
    And to take Brain and Body Power Max.
    I have eaten healthy all my life, so this was not an issue.
    I continue to loose balance , have pressure in my head, and feel tired all day long.
    I am disappointed in the care I got.
    Lore Mayo

    Comment by Lore Mayo — March 24, 2019 @ 8:05 AM

  11. I am struggling over the loss of my business. I am 66 and just am depressed amd want to stay in bed.
    It has been a year and no improvement.
    I am desperate for help.

    Comment by Dan Gallagher — October 6, 2019 @ 9:06 AM

  12. Hello Dan, thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. We’ll be happy to contact you and see where we can provide services or assistance. We look forward to speaking with you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 8, 2019 @ 6:39 AM

  13. Recently I have gone into a depression and I have no idea what it’s about. I’ve also been experiencing mild anxiety. It is beginning to affect my relationships with family, friends, and my significant other. I don’t want to lose anyone because of what I am going through but I don’t know what to do to make these feelings go away. Advice?

    Comment by Makenna — May 13, 2020 @ 7:16 PM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Contact Us