Lifestyle Changes For Depression
Lifestyle changes, such as making art, journaling, exercising more, and practicing yoga or mindfulness, can also alleviate depression and the stress that can heighten it. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and light therapy may also help.
Diet changes, too, can uplift your mood by reducing inflammation and helping to ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
One randomized controlled study, published October 9, 2019, in the journal PLoS One, found that self-reported symptoms of depression dropped significantly in just three weeks in young adults who changed from a highly processed, high-carbohydrate diet to a Mediterranean diet focused on vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and the spices turmeric and cinnamon. In contrast, the depression scores didnt budge in a control group of people who didnt change their diet.
Do The Opposite Of What The Depression Voice Suggests
If you believe an event wont be fun or worth your time, say to yourself, You might be right, but itll be better than just sitting here another night. You may soon see the automatic thought isnt always helpful.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
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How Can I Get A Better Nights Sleep
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.
Getting a good nights sleep may seem like an impossible goal when youre wide awake at 3 a.m., but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as the way you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night, so the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.
Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. But by experimenting with the following tips, you can enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health, and improve how you think and feel during the day.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
Severities Of Clinical Depression
Clinical depression can often come on gradually. So it can be difficult to notice when something is wrong. You might try to cope with the symptoms without realising you’re unwell. It can sometimes take a friend or family member to suggest something is wrong.
The severity of clinical depression depends on how much impact it has on your daily life:
- mild clinical depression has some impact
- moderate clinical depression has a significant impact
- severe clinical depression almost impossible to get through daily life
You can have clinical depression and other mental health disorders. For example, anxiety, psychosis or other difficulties.
Tip : Exercise During The Day
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
- The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercisesuch as walking for just 10 minutes a dayimproves sleep quality.
- It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.
How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
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What To Do When Depression And Anxiety Mix
You’ve noticed some changes lately. Maybe you feel sad, hopeless, or donât get any joy out of activities that used to be fun. Sounds like depression, right?
Maybe that’s not all. Sometimes you’re worried, afraid, and just plain uneasy. Isn’t that a sign of anxiety?
Not so fast. Itâs normal to have ups and downs or to have things youâre concerned about. You might be going through a difficult time. Your doctor can help you figure out if itâs actually a condition and what would help.
If you have both conditions, there are lots of ways to get help.
Other Causes Of Depression
There are a number of things that can lead to developing depression.
- Stressful events big changes in your life, like bereavement, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, can be difficult to deal with. When these things happen, it’s important to keep seeing friends and family instead of trying to deal with problems alone this increases your risk of developing depression.
- Giving birth pregnancy and birth can make some people vulnerable to depression. Postnatal depression can happen as the result of physical changes, hormonal changes, and the responsibility of taking care of a new baby.
- Loneliness your risk of depression gets higher if you aren’t in contact or spending time with family and friends.
- Personality some personality traits can put you at a higher risk of developing depression. These include low-self esteem or a habit of criticising yourself too much. These personality traits can come from your genes, which you get from your parents, or they can be as a result of experiences in your early life.
- Family history it’s more likely for someone to develop depression if a family member, like a sibling or parent, has experienced it before.
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Depression And Drugs And Alcohol
“Drowning your sorrows” is actually a bad idea when it comes to depression. Alcohol is categorised as a “strong depressant” which can make depression worse, and drinking or taking drugs to cope can lead to a downward spiral by having a negative affect on other parts of your life.
There’s evidence that cannabis can cause depression, particularly in teenagers, even if it helps you relax.
A Body Scan Exercise To Help You Sleep
- Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.
- Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any tension while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for at least three to five seconds.
- Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. Then move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up your torso, through your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, and your shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that feels tense.
- After completing the body scan, relax, noting how your body feels. You should feel so relaxed you can easily fall asleep.
For a bedtime sleep meditation that uses deep breathing, mindfulness, and body scan techniques to help you wind down and clear your head, .
Whats The Difference Between Grief And Depression
Given that the primary symptom associated with depression is sadness, it can be easy to think of grief or bereavement as depression. But grief is a natural response to specific experiences, such as the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. While you might feel regret or remorse, and you might withdraw from usual activities if you are experiencing grief, youre unlikely to feel the overwhelming sense of worthlessness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and other symptoms of depression. Another important difference is that in grief, painful feelings usually come in waves and are often mixed with positive memories.
In some cases, however, grief and depression do coexist, or grief can trigger depression, according to experts writing in the journal American Family Physician. Having a mental health professional help you distinguish between them can ensure you get the support you need.
Avoid Judgment And Blame
If someone you love is depressed and no longer able to do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you may feel like they are lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed isn’t lazythey’re ill.
Everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming, if not impossible, to someone who is depressed. If your loved one’s responsibilities around the house are piling up, you may not be able to take them on yourself.
In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it’s OK if you need to ask for help.
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How Can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Help With Depression
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is one of the most effective psychological treatments for depression. CBT uses cognitive and behavioural strategies to help target the thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with depression. All of our online programs use CBT strategies.
Click below to see if our online CBT program can help you tackle your depression to improve the way you feel.
Cognitive strategies to help with depression
People who are depressed generally have a negative thinking style. They often think of themselves as worthless and that the world is bad or unfair, and they have little hope that their lives will improve in the future.
When something bad happens, people with depression often blame themselves, but when good things happen, they tell themselves they are just lucky. They are also less likely to recognise and appreciate positive events when they happen, and instead are more tuned into the bad things in their lives and brood over those events.
The cognitive strategies in CBT can help people identify and correct this biased way of thinking. These strategies identify and challenge sometimes hidden assumptions and beliefs, and can reframe the way they think about life.
When people with depression are able to reframe their thoughts, they are able to recover from failures more effectively and recognise and take credit for the good things in their lives. Having these skills has been shown to reduce relapse and a recurrence of depression.
Favorite Apps Products And Gadgets
If youre feeling sad, lonely, or stressed, the 7 Cups app could provide you with online therapy and emotional support. With180 professional therapists and more than 300,000 trained listeners and licensed therapists, youll be able to speak to someone 24/7 in a confidential setting.
This app offers activities and games to overcome negative thoughts. Youll receive a happiness score that you can improve each time you play. Its based on effective, evidence-based psychological strategies. The company says 86 percent of those who use the app report feeling better about their lives after just two months.
If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder , bright light therapy may help improve your symptoms. We like the Verilux HappyLight Lucent 10,000 Lux LED Bright White Light Therapy Lamp. Its compact and portable, so you can use it on the go. And it received an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon reviews. The cost is around $45.
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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.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
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For Better Sleep Time Your Exercise Right
Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. This isnt a problem if youre exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can interfere with sleep.
Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If youre still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.
Small Ways To Feel Better When You’re Depressed
Depression is more complicated than most people think. Its not just about being sad and it certainly isnt about being lazy. But those are common misconceptions that sometimes prevent people from seeking treatment and getting the help they need to feel better.
Even when youre experiencing depression, it can be tough to identify how youre feeling and it can be hard to take steps to improve your mood and outlook in the moment.
Thats why we put together this articleto help you on your journey in coping with your symptoms. A better understanding of how youre feeling and what action you can take can empower you to live your best life even when youre feeling depressed.