Managing Depression With Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes including getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting plugged back into life also make a difference, especially when paired with medication and therapy.
Making these changes may be easier said than done if you are depressed, but itâs possible, says John L. Beyer, MD. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center and director of the Duke Mood and Anxiety Disorder Clinic in Durham, N.C. âAct as if you are not depressed in anticipation of feeling much better,â he says.
âMake a schedule for when you should shower, eat, exercise, go to sleep, and wake up, and stick to it.â The rest will follow. âAfter a while, it becomes much less difficult and things will begin to become enjoyable,â he says.
These healthful habits can also help prevent recurrences of depression. For people who are prone to depression, life stressors can propel them back to that dark place.
âWe canât change genetics, but we can change our environment to protect against relapses,â he says. The best way to do this is to bolster your personal resilience factor. âDifficult things can occur, but part of being well and being human is to develop social ties and networks,â he says.
Donât let yourself become isolated. âThis will build resilience that prevents depression from getting a grip on you in the future.â
Oversleeping Helps Me Escape Depression
For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. Bouts of depression exacerbate this trait. During my major depressive episodes, I could sleep upwards of 18 hours a day. When I woke up, I wanted more. The more I got, the more I wanted… the more I needed. It was like an addictive drug. It was also like a veil over the pain I was feeling.
Like no other symptom of depression, sleep helped me escape from all the others. It was so easy, too. Just close my eyes and drift away. No pain. Total avoidance. Which is why this was the hardest symptom for me to combat.
When To Seek Professional Help
Any level of depression should be taken seriously and the faster you address the symptoms, the less likely you are to develop a more severe type of depression. Seeking professional help is a sign of bravery and self-respect because it shows that you are dedicated to caring for your mind and body. A therapist can offer more clinical advice and guide you through treatment with approaches that are more tailored to your specific situation and needs. However, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, tell someone you trust and seek assistance immediately.
Everyone experiences low points in their life and their mental health, but depression is a treatable mental illness and you can recover. Whether you or a loved one is feeling depressed, every persons experience with mental illness is different but help is available. Visit our Key Services page to learn more about the treatment methods we offer and to explore our list of additional health and wellness classes to support your overall mental health.
If you are in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
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How To Overcome Depression
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 18 testimonials and 81% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 638,717 times.
Suffering from depression means more than just dealing with a bad week or even a bad month. Depression is a weakening condition that can make it impossible for you to enjoy your daily existence. If you are plagued with feelings of overwhelming sadness, loneliness, worthlessness, and cannot imagine that things will get any better, then you may be suffering from depression. If you want to know how to overcome your depression and enjoy your life again, follow these steps.
Distinguishing Mdd And Anxiety Through Human Neurobiology Of Escape/avoidance And Complementary Assessments
Studies investigating the neural substrates of MDD suggest that those with depression have striatal dysfunction, with specific emphasis on deficient striatal dopamine signaling. The striatumespecially in regards to dopaminergic signaling in the nucleus accumbensis associated with reward, motivation, and reinforcement, so it follows that decreased functionality in this area would contribute to the behavioral symptomology seen in MDD. Certain hallmarks of MDDsuch as anhedonia, impaired
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Are You Peopled Out
Sometimes when we spend too much time around too many people, it can feel overwhelming. Our heads get too full, we cant think clearly, we need to escape and be alone.
Taking time to recharge is massively beneficial. We should do this in whatever way works best for us. We might like to go on a walk, alone, somewhere quiet. Or we might want to shut ourselves in our room and craft, or read, or watch TV.
Sometimes, we need that time to step back, take a deep breath, and have a bit of time to ourselves.
Journal At Least 3 Times Per Week
Try to practice this discipline for a month. The healthiest people are reflective, not reactive. They take time to process the days highs and lows and to understand their own emotional responses to stressors throughout the day. Mine consisted of three questions. What was your high today? What was your low today? What are you excited about for tomorrow?
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Causes Of An I Give Up Mentality
If youre feeling overwhelmed and helpless these days, it may help you to realize that your I give up thinking can be attributed to your biology, and not something youve done wrong.
Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, believes that these I-give-up thoughts oftentimes stem from depression.
Depression is one of the principal causes, she says. It typically creates a lack of motivation and deep sadness that prevents the person from seeing beyond that.
Another leading source of this way of thinking is anxiety, something that can make you feel powerless.
Anxiety can be a common cause as well, Catchings notes. The fear of doing something, and what can happen if we do it, makes some people want to give up before even trying.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can also make one want to give up.
Catchings shares that PTSD can also fall under this category. Many symptoms affect the person when this diagnosis is present, causing him or her to feel like giving up. Some of these symptoms are fear, panic attacks, sadness, low self-esteem, and negative cognitions.
Its no wonder that difficult mental health disorders tend to make people feel less-than-inspired to take on the day. Apart from depression and anxiety, life circumstances can bring about this ruminating.
Learned helplessness, as a result of depression or anxiety, or even due to life circumstances, can be another cause, Catchings observes. However, this is not as common.
What Are You Running From
When we get the urge to run away, theres usually something were trying to run from. If we can work out what that thing is, we can do something about it.
For example, if our job is making us miserable could we begin to look at moving jobs? If were arguing with our partner could we investigate couples counselling? If our were feeling bored or trapped could we make our day-to-day more exciting?
Most dissatisfactions in our lives are somewhat fixable, or can at least be improved. And once we address our issues, the call to run away should reduce.
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Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression
Whether youve lost a loved one, moved to a new place, or missed out on a job opportunity, there are plenty of stressful and upsetting events that can get you down. However, the difference between sadness and depression is that sadness usually passes with a little time, while depression is a mood disorder that can appear without any specific cause and last for two weeks or more.
Depression impacts almost every part of your life, interfering with how you think, feel, and go about your daily activities like sleeping, working, and socializing. Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling empty
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Irritability or restlessness
- Aches and pains without clear physical causes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must be present nearly all day, every day for at least two weeks.
Try To Eat A Healthy Diet
Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. Others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight.
Antidepressants can also affect your appetite.
If you’re concerned about weight loss, weight gain or how antidepressants are affecting your appetite, talk to your GP.
See tips on how to eat more healthily.
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Why Do Men Not Get Help
There are likely many factors that inhibit men from seeking help for depression, few of which are fully understood. The way that men think about themselves as men can be quite unhelpful. Compared with women, they tend to be far more concerned with being competitive, powerful, and successful. Most men do not like to admit that they feel vulnerable or uncertain, and so are less likely to talk about their feelings with their friends, loved ones, or doctors. Data also reveal that men are far more likely to present to the emergency department than to general practice, and this relates to mens denial of illness, longer self-surveillance, and reliance on self-management strategies.
Men tend to feel that they should rely only on themselves and that it is somehow weak to need help or depend on someone else, even for a short time. There is also evidence to suggest that men have difficulty articulating their problems when talking with health care providers. The onus is often on the clinician to interpret not only what is said, but also the body language and affect of the man to accurately identify depression.
How To Escape An I Give Up Mindset
- 5 minute read
Your eyes open as you wake up, seeing the morning sun filtering through a window shade. And you immediately feel it. The heaviness. The fog. The black cloud. That feeling of intense sadness that makes you want to stay in the comfort of your bed instead of getting up to face the day.
Maybe your depression is weighing you down. Or, perhaps your anxiety is just too much and you dont want to encounter situations throughout your day that will challenge your already fragile nerves.
And thats when you think: I give up.
Everyone is prone to this I give up way of thinking at certain points in life. According to The University of Scranton, 30% of those who set New Years resolutions give them up within two weeks. Its tough on a normal day to stick to your goals. When you pile on depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it can be easy to see why anyone would want to throw in the towel.
If youre grappling with these mental health hurdles, you should know that its not your fault that youre thinking these thoughts. In fact, its to be expected, and thats okay.
Instead of allowing your lack of motivation to define you, you can learn why certain disorders can lead to this I give up way of thinking and what to do about it.
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Enter Into Healthy Distractions
Sweat it all out and hit the gym. It is said that when you exercise, your mind produces endorphins which is our bodys opiate that enables us to endure pain and other unpleasant emotions. Engage yourself in activities which would take your mind off those problems. Sulking in one corner and thinking too much about you burdens will just make things worse.
Major Or Clinical Depression
Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate and is characterized by severe, relentless symptoms.
- Left untreated, major depressive disorder typically lasts for about six months.
- Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.
Get A Handle On Stress
Stress can drive up levels of a brain chemical called cortisol, which has been found to be higher in folks with depression. There are lots of strategies for coping with stress, such as time management, meditation, and biofeedback training.
Some stress-relieving activities that you might want to incorporate into your daily life include:
- Deep breathing: A few minutes to slow your breathing and focus your attention on your body in the moment can help you get a better handle on your worries.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is a great way to blow off steam.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: This process involves intentionally tightening muscles throughout the body, holding that tension for several counts, and then releasing that tension until the muscles are completely relaxed. With regular practice, you may be able to learn how to intentionally relax your body fairly quickly whenever you are feeling tense.
Learning to manage your stress takes time and practice. Talk to your doctor or therapist about other strategies you might try to minimize the stress and your response to it.
Build A Support Network
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself with depressionother than medication and therapyis to develop strong social support.
For some, this may mean forging stronger ties with friends or family. Knowing you can count on supportive loved ones to help can go a long way toward improving your depression.
For others, a depression support group can be key. It may involve a community group that meets in your area or you might find an online support group who meets your needs.
How Do You Know If You Are In A Slump
You cant stop thinking about yesterday.
If you keep reminiscing, replaying and telling yourself off about the past, then theres a good chance that youre in a slump. The reason? Instead of focusing on the present, youre busy recalling how great yesterday was. Again, that can be useful.
Create Your Own Hand Scrub
If your hands have a lot of dead skin, lotion alone wont be able to soothe it. Consider creating hand scrub at home that has the same beneficial effects as the expensive stuff sold in stores. The Beauty Departments blend of lemon, sugar, coconut oil, and Argan oil is instantly enriching while exfoliating skin.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
Most primary care doctors are able to screen for depression. They can also help recommend the next steps when needed. It takes an honest discussion with your doctor, because the doc can only evaluate you on what you tell them.
Let them know how long this has been happening.
Let them know about any life changing events.
Tell them about any symptoms you have, even if they dont seem related.
Because depression is an illness, you should really see your doctor. Its possible they will refer you to a mental health provider for help.
If you are suffering from symptoms, seek out help!
Improve Your Eating Habits
Research continues to find clear links between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry is becoming mainstream.
There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency is associated with symptoms of depression.
Improving your diet could be key to reducing your symptoms.
But before you make any major changes to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician.
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Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost .
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.