What do you do when you get depressed as an INFJ?

Do you ever get the INFJ blues? I do routinely. One day, I’ll be feeling encouraged and motivated and the next I’ll be down in the dumps. I’m learning that it’s part of being an INFJ.

Just tonight, the dark side of my personality confronted me again. A family member gave me some constructive criticism that I wasn’t expecting, and as he did, the sun disappeared from my proverbial sky.

I hate when I get depressed. I feel trapped and start to question whether or not any of my hopes and dreams will ever come true. Sometimes I just don’t know how to shake the heavy feelings or change my mood.

Have you been there?

While I’m not a counselor and I don’t have it all figured out, I have found several strategies that help me.

Do you ever get the INFJ blues? How do you shake them when you're feeling depressed and you don't know what to do? Here are 9 suggestions that can help.

1. Exercise.

I once heard a keynote speaker say that if you change your biology, you’ll change your psychology. One way to get out of a funk is to exercise. When I’m down, I like to shoot hoops, go for a run or walk, or lift weights. Increased blood and oxygen flow, as well as the endorphins, can help you recalibrate.

2. Read encouraging words.

Do you save inspiring and encouraging quotes and notes? I have a file in Evernote full of texts, emails, quotes, stories, and handwritten notes that encourage me. When I feel discouraged, uplifting words help me think positively again. If you don’t have an encouragement file, why not start one?

3. Seek objective feedback.

When I’m depressed, I read into what other people say and blow not-so-bad situations out of proportion. That’s why I need other people to give me perspective. Friends and family help keep my feet on the ground. They’ll help you too.

4. Journal.

INFJs have a lot going on in their heads. Sometimes, the sea of thoughts and emotions in our heads is overwhelming. One way you can get some relief is to put your thoughts down on paper. Doing this helps me organize my thoughts, figure out what’s bothering me, and brainstorm solutions.

5. Listen to music.

You may not always want to feel better right away. There are times when I just want to experience the weight of my emotions. Music can help you do this in an appropriate way. Listening to Cold Play’s The Scientist or Andy Othling’s Ambient Song #22 redeems the moment for me to some extent.

6. List what you’re grateful for.

Counting your blessings helps too. I naturally stack up all that’s bothering me and review it again and again when I’m caught in a tailspin. Listing what I have to be grateful for feeds my mind profitable fodder for contemplation. Choosing to have an attitude of gratitude can change your mental trajectory rather quickly.

7. Help someone else.

When I’m thinking about myself, I’m not thinking of anyone else. While we all need time to grapple with our moods, we INFJs are usually happiest when helping someone else. It’s for this reason you may want to try thinking of ways to serve and encourage others. It’ll benefit both the people you’re helping and you.

8. Make something.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you are a creative person. To be an INFJ is to love creating things. Making songs, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and lesson plans makes me happy. When you’re depressed, try engaging the imaginative part of my brain and see if you don’t just end up in a better mood.

9. Pray.

Do you pray when you’re depressed? When I pray, my mood doesn’t change immediately, but I know it helps me in the long run. How about you?

What helps you beat INFJ depression?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love dark chocolate and coffee too! I definitely resonate with spending time outdoors and in God’s presence as well. The former leads to the latter and reminds me that I’m small and not in control.

    Good point about the intuitive/feeler combination. You put your finger on the reason we INFJs are so neurotic – for good and for bad – I think.

    Thanks, Sierra!

  • K. L.

    Thanks, Bo, for posting this! It’s spot on and I find each of these helpful for me also as a INFJ myself.

    • Bo Miller

      You’re welcome, K.L.! Glad you can back of there effectiveness. 🙂

  • Gina Jarasitis

    Excellent suggestions! I have an INTJ teen, and I have used most of these strategies to keep a positive outlook while also being able to listen to his criticism with an open mind.

    • Bo Miller

      Awesome, Gina! INTJs and INFJs definitely have a totally different approach to criticism. That’s super that you’ve been able to keep a positive outlook AND listen to his criticism with a positive mind.

  • Patty

    Those suggestions to deal with “the blues” are excellent and I can vouch for the fact that they all work as well!

    • Bo Miller

      Awesome, Patty! Thanks for backing them up with your personal experience. 🙂

  • Nicola

    Hi Bo

    Firstly, I just wanted to say thanks for your insights and inputs. Every word that I read just makes me smile, purely because I just feel so profoundly understood. Apart from feeling understood, I also appreciate your honesty and openness on how you perceive the world. Over and above all of this, I appreciate your engagement with every entry on your blog and also your engagement via email. So, thank you!

    I have also recently taken up writing as a way of expression, and I’ve found it very helpful in terms of dealing with deep-seated emotions and just letting it go out into the world – it almost feels like you let the world deal with some of your stuff, the way you deal with the world’s stuff on a daily basis.

    As a creative (a graphic designer by profession), I have often struggled with what I’d like to call the “empty well syndrome”. Since discovering my INFJ status, I have started to re-evaluate this and realised that the “empty well syndrome” is perhaps more closely linked to my personality type than my profession (although the two are closely linked for me personally, because it is part of my daily routine and who I am as an individual). What I mean by this; as an INFJ I really love helping people, seeing them grow, mentoring them, etc., but I often get to a point where I feel incredibly empty and almost unable to give any more of myself. This happens when I have pushed myself too far, taken on too many responsibilities and reached a point of complete burn-out. The frustration here is that I can’t serve people (which I fundamentally love doing), because I feel so empty at the time; ie I cannot serve and help others from that “empty well”.

    Apart from writing, I also love painting; in a way the one expresses my emotions verbally (as they are, with little room for interpretation), whilst the other expresses my emotions visually (more secretive, with more room for interpretation). But, both of these I do ONLY for myself and for my own gratification (and as you mentioned in another post; when, where and how I want to). And, if other people happen to see or read it, I don’t really mind. I wanted to suggest a book (The artist’s way by Julia Cameron) to fellow INFJs who have also experienced the “empty well syndrome” from time to time, but also those who perhaps want to pursue some kind of creative endeavour that would help them express their feelings in another way. This book takes you on a 12-week journey and helps you to “fill the well”, but also helps to unblock your creativity in the event that you might feel blocked. It is targeted at ANYONE who craves creativity in their lives, and you really don’t need ANY formal training as an artist. I’ve found it incredibly helpful; (A) because there is a daily morning writing part that helps you process your emotions and thoughts even before you leave the house, (B) it helps you identify which creative method/output you want to pursue, (C) it gives you confidence to pursue this endeavour, (D) it pushes you out of your comfort zone from time to time and helps you to see other perspectives and (E) it helps fill the “empty well” with creativity and purpose. I have read this book a few times (and I am going to start reading it again), and it really is incredible how you improve as an “artist”, but also as a human-being in bite-size chunks and on a daily basis. I really hope some of my fellow INFJs will also find it helpful, and I’d love to hear any thoughts on this.

    Bo, thanks again for your insights, and for putting so much thought and care into all of this. I really look forward to reading more on your blog and engaging more with you and other INFJs.

    • Bo Miller

      Nicola, thanks so much for your kind words! You are very welcome.

      I think a lot of INFJs can relate to the “empty well syndrome” you’ve described. I’ll have to check out Julia Cameron’s book: it sounds great! Hopefully, others will find it helpful as well.

      You’ve got a good routine going on there. Thanks for sharing about it, Nicola!