Enjoy The Emotional Benefits Of Exercise
Exercise offers physiological benefits that can help people going through depression. Physical activity relieves stress and can make you feel great. Plus, the satisfaction you get from finishing an engaging and challenging workout can boost your self-esteem as you get stronger and more physically fit. When you fight depression with a regular exercise routine, youll feel better emotionally and physically.
Follow Your Medication And Treatment Plan
When you have major depressive disorder, along with initially receiving treatment, its essential to follow your treatment plan and take medications as instructed. If you dont, you run the risk of developing severe complications.
If you were to stop taking a prescribed medication abruptly or without medical supervision, you could experience withdrawal or worsening depression symptoms.
In addition to following your medication and treatment plan, empower yourself and be an active participant in your treatment. Learn more about major depressive disorder so you can ask relevant questions and share input with your healthcare providers.
Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
5. Exercise: And, eat right too.
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Create A Support Network
When you feel depressed, you may have a tendency to hide away and bottle up your feelings. However, the best approach is to build a support network of friends, relatives or even dedicated support groups, who can help you address how you are feeling.
We recognise that talking to someone about your depression can be difficult for you. Whoever it is, its better if it is someone who is able to listen and empathise with you about how youre feeling. Dedicated support groups for depression can be a great way to find like-minded people to share your experiences with, either in person or remotely. Look online to find what depression support groups are out there for you.
Meet Yourself Where You Are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
The key to navigating depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what youre going through.
Every day with this disorder is different. Its important to take your mental health seriously and accept that where you are right now isnt where youll always be.
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Find A Way To Help Others In Need
Receiving support is one of the most valuable ways to deal with depression, and getting your own mental health right should obviously be a priority. However, evidence shows that supporting others might be another great way to boost your mood. The Journal of Happiness Studies found that those who volunteer receive a boost to their mental health and greater satisfaction in their lives.
Think about ways you can give back to your local community, either through charity work or helping someone else out who you know is in need. It might bring you as many benefits as those you are helping out.
What Are The Different Antidepressants And How Do They Work
- SSRI This category of drug includes fluoxetine , citalopram , and sertraline and targets serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control mood, appetite, and sleep.
- SNRI SNRIs include drugs like duloxetine , desvenlafaxine , and venlafaxine , which block the reabsorption of both serotonin and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.
- NDRI This class of medications includes bupropion.
- TCA TCAs include such drugs as imipramine and nortriptyline . These drugs were among the earliest antidepressants to come on the market. These days, doctors generally only turn to them when treatment with SSRIs, SNRIs, and NDRIs has failed.
- MAOI MAOIs, including phenelzine and isocarboxazid , were the first antidepressants developed. Theyre rarely used today, in part because people who take them require careful monitoring to prevent negative interactions with certain foods and other medications.
All antidepressants can have side effects, but some may be more problematic than others. You may need to try several different medications, or a combination, guided by your doctor, before you find what works best for you.
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Sleeping Patterns And Depression
Depression can disrupt sleep patterns. Its essential to try to restore a regular sleep pattern to make a full recovery. Some tips for restoring a regular sleep pattern include:
- Try to go to sleep and get up at about the same time each day.
- If youre worrying about things during the night, set aside some time for problem solving during the day.
- Avoid drinking caffeine after 4 pm and try not to drink more than two cups of caffeine-type drinks each day.
- Avoid using alcohol to help you sleep. As the alcohol is broken down in your body, it causes you to sleep less deeply and to wake more frequently.
- Allow yourself time to wind down before going to bed. If you are working or studying, stop at least 30 minutes before bedtime and do something relaxing.
- Give your mind a break from online activity such as social media for an hour before bedtime, and consider putting your phone in a separate room from your bedroom at night time.
How Can I Help A Loved One Who Is Depressed
If someone you know has depression, help them see a health care provider or mental health professional. You also can:
- Offer support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Invite them out for walks, outings, and other activities.
- Help them stick to their treatment plan, such as setting reminders to take prescribed medications.
- Make sure they have transportation to therapy appointments.
- Remind them that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift.
Take comments about suicide seriously, and report them to your loved ones health care provider or therapist. If they are in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
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Getting Out Of A Funk: How To Help Yourself Through Depression
Everyone has off days where they feel tired, irritable, and sad. Its normal to feel sadness as a response to challenging life events, loss, or changes, but sometimes these feelings can stick around for a while if left unaddressed and make it difficult for you to get through each day.
Heres how you can tell when youre in a funk or maybe even experiencing a mild depression as well as what you can do to help yourself feel better.
Create A Wellness Toolbox
A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.
The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it’s important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.
Think of things you like to do when you’re happy. Then, when you’re feeling down, try one of those activities.
Cuddling your pet, listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, or reading a good book are just a few tools you might find helpful.
Create a list of the activities you might try when you’re feeling bad. Then, choose an activity to try when you’re having a particularly rough time.
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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.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
When you have even, well-managed major depressive disorder, you may find yourself being overcome with dark or negative thoughts. You can work to combat this by finding positivity in your life.
For example, surround yourself with people who support and empower you. Learn to find ways to remind yourself of the positives when its difficult. You might write affirmations that you can refer to if you find yourself slipping into a negative place.
Keeping a gratitude journal can be an excellent way to remind yourself of the positive things in your life.
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Its Easier Than You Think
Many folks confuse sadness with depression. Sadness is a natural state, a necessary part of living. Friendships end. Death steals loved ones. Life provides us with plenty of reasons to feel sad. Feeling sad is appropriate at such times and indispensable. The need to mourn, to feel sadness, is an essential part of what it means to be human. When we honor sadness, it provides us with essential space for self-reflection, and greater empathy and compassion. It also may compel us to recognize difficult truths or inspire us to make better choices.
Depression, however, offers no solace. It brutally assaults us and promotes hopelessness. This is because depression is not a pure feeling but an effort to ward off a complex mix of unwanted ones. Anger, frustration, irritation, and grief are feelings we tend to find intolerable we dont want to feel them. When were depressed, were engaging in a psychic battle to blot out these unwanted feelings. Common psychic defenses against painful feelings include denial , projection , rationalization or binge eating .
Unfortunately, as long as the true causes of our depression remain unaddressed, it will return again and again.
Hunt Down the Cause of Your Depression
Heres a list of the most common situations that often trigger depression:
Dealing With The Winter Blues
For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
Learn How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination tempting.
Putting things off fuels depression. It can lead to increased guilt, worry, and stress.
It’s important to set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination.
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Ways To Cope With Depression
Recovering from and coping with depression take time. Here are some practical tips to help you fight back against depression.
Posted November 28, 2018. Updated March 8, 2022.
Recovering from depression takes time. The new habits and skills you learn now will you help throughout your life.
Battling depression is tough. Thankfully, there are many ways you can fight depression.
What works one day may not work as well the next, so you want as many tools in the toolbox to adapt and handle whatever depression throws your way. Similar to how symptoms of depression overlap and affect each other, some of the tips below overlap and can help address multiple symptoms.
Here are some tips for coping with depression:
Socialize With Friends And Family
Even if you are experiencing mild depression or a funk, you might find yourself drawing away from others, avoiding social situations, or not wanting to burden people with your feelings. One of the hardest but most helpful things you can do to see yourself through depression is to find that strong support circle and spend time with the people you love.
Schedule times to visit with family and friends or plan to grab lunch with a coworker so you have a specific time and place where you can lean on others when youre feeling blue. You might also find that some of these people have experienced depression themselves and they might be able to relate with you on the subject and share ideas of what has helped them in the past or just lend an open ear.
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Make The Food And Mood Connection
“Diet and nutrition are very important,” says Nelson, and cites omega-3 fatty acids as an example. Some studies have shown that a higher daily intake of omega-3s, which you can get in fish like salmon or through fish oil supplements, can improve mood. There are many connections between elements of diet and good nutrition and depression, adds Nelson. Eating a healthy diet can make you feel healthy, fit, and attractive, which improves self-esteem, while feeling unhealthy can worsen depression and play into negative self-perception, he says.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
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Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.