Teenage Depression: Ways to Spot It and How to Lighten the Burden

Teen depression is more common that one would think, but there are ways that we can help to alleviate it.

In the age of social media, kids, teens, and adults alike struggle with a plethora of mental health problems caused by Imposter Syndrome, constantly comparing themselves to others, and feeling as though we just cannot seem to meet expectations. Depression is just one of those mental health disorders that so many people today struggle with, teenagers more than most. Teenage depression can completely change the way a teen is feeling– mentally and physically– and can create additional health problems that stem from it.  

Signs of Teenage Depression

Depression can come in many forms, especially when it comes to teenagers. It is often hard to put depression symptoms into a box. They can appear as something else all together, which is why we end up putting bandaids on problems that have deeper rooted issues. 

Some common symptoms of depression among teenagers is when they stop wanting to do the things that they used to love– playing their sport, playing their instrument, or even going to school. Another symptom could be extreme change in any sort of behavior, more than just becoming sad, such as sleeping more or less, eating more or less, or seeming irritable. 

Things to Do to Lighten the Burden of Depression

There are many recommendations for teenagers to help them lighten the burden of their depression, and in some cases, make it better, or help it  go away. Every person is different, but there are proven ways to make things a bit easier. 


Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, as it helps with physical and mental health. Getting out and moving your body, even if it is just going for a walk a few times a week, can immensely improve mental wellbeing. Studies show that the benefits of physical activity do not set in until you are able to make the activity a routine. So, start the workout routine now, and in a little over a month (with consistency), you will start to see changes to your mental state.

Several people participating in an exercise class.

Exercise is great for teens because it helps to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Music therapy

Clinical evidence has shown time and time again that music therapy is a beneficial form of treatment for various ailments– both mental and physical. Depression is just one of those things. Music affects the brain in ways that nothing else can, and because of this, it makes a really great tool for healing. There are various different types of music therapy, all of which benefit people in different ways, are targeted towards different age groups, and help different parts of the brain. 

Music therapy can do a variety of things to help relieve depression within teenagers, from helping them express their emotions, to managing stress, and even improving communication. 

Therapist's office with piano.

Music therapy could be a great option for a teen struggling with depression because it can help to stimulate the brain. Image courtesy of Unsplash.


Although all swimming can be beneficial for mental health as a physical activity, particularly swimming in cold water has been shown to lessen the symptoms of depression. Swimming also causes the release of endorphins, it is great for your body, and can help to clear your mind. Studies show that swimming can also help your brain fight off oxidative stress, which people with depression tend to have higher levels of. 

Young woman swimming.

Swimming is an activity known to increase endorphins in the body, which makes it a great option for people struggling with depression. Image courtesy of Unsplash.


Dancing reduces stress in general, because most of the time, if you are dancing, you are already feeling happy because you are dancing. But, there is actually some science behind why you feel that way. Dance is another activity that releases endorphins, and it is also a great way to express emotions and communicate without using words to do so. 

Two women dancing in a field of flowers.

Dancing is a helpful way to express emotions and communicate without words. This is a great activity to help teens alleviate depression. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

“Green” Activities

Green activities, or activities that are done outside, are additional ways that are shown to help alleviate depression. This does not have to mean physical activity, but whatever it is that you enjoy doing outside. Whether it be hammocking, walking your dog, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or what have you– there are a plethora of activities that you can do in the great outdoors that can help you to alleviate depression. 

This ties directly with ecotherapy, a particular type of therapy that helps people who are struggling to connect with the Earth to better feel their emotions. This type of therapy is not always the kind of practice that you may find in a therapist's office, rather, something that people prefer to do on their own to feel like they are reconnecting with the universe, although some therapists may recommend this.

Woman sitting in a hammock overlooking a body of water.

 To help alleviate teen depression, getting outside is a great option. There are various outdoor activities to get you active and still be one with nature. Image courtesy of Unsplash.


As you have probably already heard, yoga is a common form of relaxation used to reduce stress and calm the nerves. So, naturally this had to be added to the list of activities known to relieve symptoms of depression. Not only is yoga good for your brain, but it can also help to ease the physical effects of stress and depression, like muscle tension. Many people also choose to do breath work with yoga, which is another great practice to help relieve stress and tension. 

Woman doing yoga near water

Yoga is a great way to get your body moving, calm your mind, and strengthen your core. These are just a few of the reasons it can help to treat depression overtime. Image courtesy of Unsplash.


Journaling is another activity that can help to lighten the burden of teenage depression. Writing down what you are feeling and getting your emotions onto the paper in front of you can help you to further understand what is going on inside of your brain. Sometimes you need to see it spelled out for you, and read it back, to fully understand what is happening. Journaling is a window into your soul, and it is also an effective method used within therapy. They do not always have to be used together, but when they are, it can be helpful to have someone else analyze your thoughts as well. 

Even if you are not someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health problem, journaling is an amazing preventative measure to keep your brain functioning properly and to keep your mind open. 

Woman writing in a journal.

Journaling is a great way to express thoughts and emotions to get what is on your mind onto the page. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Closing thoughts

One big thing that you have to remember is that too much of or too little of anything can be harmful to a person, with or without depression. Too much of all of these things can become obsessive, which is another thing that we do not want teenagers to have to deal with. Finding a balance to help bring them out, even if for just a little while, of their depression is what matters most.

Savannah Dawson
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