Depression can be all encompassing—taking over your life, making you feel broken all the time. Activities that you enjoyed earlier now seem empty. You simply lose all interest in enjoying life. Spending time with family and friends seems like a burden at times.
What Is Depression?
World over, depression is considered a serious medical condition. If left untreated, it can lead to extreme, and in some cases tragic, results.
There are various reasons that can trigger depression. The constant struggle in adapting to certain unpleasant circumstances in life can lead to symptoms of depression. In the longer run, depression can adversely affect our mental as well as physical health.
Depression can be defined as a persistent feeling of sadness. People who feel depressed experience a loss of interest in day-to-day activities. This affects your thoughts, behavior and sense of well-being. Clinical depression is a serious mental condition. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical complications. In most cases, people suffering from clinical depression feel their life to be unworthy and contemplate suicide.
Causes And Symptoms Of Depression
Depression affects a large number of people from teenagers to the elderly. There are numerous causes of depression which vary from person to person. The most common among these are life events and major changes such as childbirth, menopause, financial problems, loss of a loved one, natural disaster, medical conditions and troubled relationships and separation. Depression can also be caused as a side effect of certain medications.
Depression is not uniform, and neither are its signs and symptoms. The symptoms given below may be experienced by some sufferers and not by others. The severity of the symptoms and their duration depend on the individual and his/her condition.
- A constant feeling of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and emptiness
- Feelings of irritability, frustration or even angry outbursts over small matters
- Pessimistic attitude towards life
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities and hobbies
- Feelings of agitation or restlessness, for instance, pacing, hand wringing or inability to sit still
- Loss of interest in sex
- Low levels of energy, feelings of tiredness and fatigue- even small tasks seem to require a lot of effort
- Difficulty to concentrate, remember details and make decisions
- Reduced thinking, speaking or body movements
- Disturbed sleep patterns – insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
- Changes in eating habits- depression may cause decreased appetite and weight loss in some people while in some it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain.
- Long spells of crying for no apparent reasons
- Suicidal thoughts- in extreme situations, the sufferer may even act upon it
- Unexplained physical problems such as aches and pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems which do not get cured with treatment
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt- constantly pondering over past failures and blaming yourself for things gone wrong
- A common feeling that nothing is worthwhile in life and things are not working out
How To Overcome Depression?
Depression is a long-term chronic ailment similar to diabetes or high blood pressure. Hence, its diagnosis and treatment are necessary. Symptoms of depression require proper medical attention and can worsen if not properly dealt with. Untreated depression can lead to mental and physical health problems, thus affecting the normal activities of your life. Feelings of depression can even drive you towards suicide. Given below are some ways that will greatly help you with how to fight depression.
1. Seek Help From Friends And Family Members
Sometimes we feel depressed but are unable to share our feelings with others. This further adds to the depression. The fact is we do need the help and support of our near and dear ones to overcome depression. It is advisable to share your feelings with your friends and family members. It is good to seek their advice. Making friends is also a great answer to how to deal with depression.
2. Get Proper Sleep And Rest
Depression involves disturbed sleep patterns, causing you to sleep either too little or too much. Getting the right amount of sleep is vital for a healthy body and mind. Try to incorporate a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis by trying to go to sleep at the same time every day.This is a very important step when it comes to how to handle depression.
3. Exposure To Sunlight
Certain people suffer from a disorder called seasonal sadness which is caused due to lack of sunlight. It happens particularly during the winter season when the days are shorter. Whatever may be the reason, lack of sunlight can worsen your depression symptoms. Thus, it is advisable to expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Consider taking a short walk outside, having your coffee outside, meeting your friend or sitting on a park bench. Embracing sunlight for even 15 minutes can boost your mood. If you live in a place with less sunshine, try using a light therapy box. This is definitely an effective step in how to get over depression.
4. Do Not Skip Meals
Staying without meals for long hours can make you feel irritable and tired, so ensure that you eat something every three to four hours.
5. Boost Your Intake Of Nutritional Supplements
Nutritional supplements always matter when it comes to improving your lifestyle. When you change your lifestyle, you will eventually reduce and overcome depression. There are a couple of things you must make a note of and keep in mind while trying to deal with this major condition.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is important for producing energy hormones and improving your cardiac health. Deficiency of magnesium is a common occurrence. Symptoms of this could be headaches, cramps, tension in various body parts, period pain and very low energy. Sources of magnesium include nuts and vegetables, preferably green.
- Vitamin B: Vitamin B is required for boosting hormones, producing energy and healthy functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B can be easily removed from the diet since they are majorly water soluble. If you drink too much of coffee, tea, and cola, you will promote the removal of this from your body. Examples of rich sources of Vitamin B will be oats, yeast, and even whole grains.
- Vitamin C: This vitamin is also important since it produces collagen and allows the immune system to function properly.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil and the evening primrose oil also allow the brain to function well. Some rich sources would be salmon, trout, and snapper. Deep sea cod and wild barramundi could also be added to this list. However, it’s best to take primrose oil as a supplement. Make sure your fish supplements have been tested.
6. Restrict The Intake Of Sugar And Refined Carbs
Most people love feasting on sugary snacks, baked goods or comfort foods like pasta or French fries. However, consumption of these “feel good” foods should be restricted as they often lead to a crash in mood and energy. Instead, increase your intake of complex carbohydrates like baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal and whole bread. These will help boost your serotonin levels without a crash.
7. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Proper hydration is vital for a healthy body and mind. But unfortunately, most of us do not drink enough water during the day. Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water in a day. This will detoxify your body, thus boosting your mood.
8. Regular Exercise
Exercise can play an important role in uplifting your depressed mood. Of course, you don’t have to spend hours working out in a gym. But you can definitely try these simple exercises to look and feel good.
- Try having a walk for 10 minutes, preferably early in the morning. This can improve your mood for about two hours.
- You can also try continuous and rhythmic exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, stationary biking and yoga.
- Adding a meditative element to your exercise greatly helps in keeping you calm and composed. Relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress and inculcate feelings of joy and well-being.
- Avoid over exercising as it might make conditions worse.
Staying isolated, even if you feel like it, will not help at all, especially if you are suffering from depression. Apart from your family and friends, try to interact with positive people. You can draw inspiration from them and learn how they deal with the challenges in their lives. Make friends, visit people, go out with them and stay connected. This will definitely make you feel better.
10. Develop The Habit Of Reading
“Books are our best friends” and indeed, they can be of great help in curbing depression. If you are feeling depressed, take a temporary leave from reality and bury yourself in the world of books.
11. Allow Yourself To Be Imperfect
Imperfection is a part life and the sooner we accept it the better. It has been observed that depressed people are often perfectionists who set impossibly high standards for themselves. This leads to unnecessary stress. If they fall short of their expectations or are unable to achieve their goals, they end up feeling depressed. This self-imposed stress can be overcome by changing the negative way of thinking. Learn to let loose sometimes.
12. Try To Forgive And Forget
As stated earlier, depression has a lot to do with our mental condition. Some people make themselves unnecessarily sad by holding grudges for lifetimes, which eventually results in depression. Learn to forgive and forget. By doing so, you are letting go of unwanted burden from your mind and making yourself happier.
13. Be Grateful
Ingratitude is one of the common causes of unhappiness which often triggers depression. We keep complaining about petty things in our lives without taking into account the good things. The best way to deal with this is to look at the brighter side of life and be grateful for it. You can start by making a list of 100 things you are grateful for right now and you will definitely experience a feeling of happiness.
14. Try Having A Pet
Loneliness is another cause of depression. Many people feel depressed when they are away from their loved ones. In such a situation, pets can bring joy and companionship in your life, thus making you feel less isolated. When you care for a pet, you are able to think beyond yourself. This inculcates a feeling of being needed which greatly helps in battling depression.
15. Reflect On Good Memories
When you lose all hope, you end up feeling depressed. Think of the small successes experienced in the past and relive the memory of better times. Good memories can help curb depression.
16. See The Positive Side Of Life
Problems will always exist, but the more you focus on the reasons you have in life to smile, the better it is for your mindset and well-being. According to most doctors and experts, people who tend to be optimistic by nature, tend to be happier than those who are not. Regardless of whether you believe it or not, the statement bears the complete truth. If you want to find happiness in life, you must learn to be contended with the smallest things you have been gifted with!
17. Watch Where Your Mind Is Going
Get rid of all the negative thoughts from your mind. The moment you start having a bad idea, get rid of it. Go and listen to some good and peppy music instead. Relax yourself as you enjoy the music. Most women have suggested that taking a cool shower with some fun music in the background really makes you feel great. You should try that the next time you feel like you’re going to cry in pain or have a nervous breakdown.
18. Step Outside
Don’t you think that you need to enjoy life a bit? Nature offers you some of the most beautiful and gorgeous sceneries you have ever seen. Go ahead and enjoy the beauty of it. Visit the best parks in your city. As you stroll along the flower beds and breathe in some fresh air, you will automatically feel good and relaxed.
19. Express Yourself
Keeping all the pain and sadness inside can really wreck havoc with your health—both physical and mental. If you are depressed, speak out. Talk to your supportive friends, or a family member. Or if nothing works, see a counselor! There is no one else who will understand you better than a professional. The point is to be expressive and state what is in your mind. You could even write! Writing can be cathartic—start writing a journal, or start a blog—pen down your emotions, just get it all out of your system and you’ll see how light you feel!
20. Develop A Hobby
Have passion for something. Develop a hobby. This will definitely help you overcome depression given some time. You could also volunteer for organizations. It is always important to remember that the kind of activity you indulge in should give you a feeling of happiness. If it doesn’t make you happy, it is definitely not a hobby!
Meditation is a great way to beat depression. Here are a few steps that will help you meditate better:
- Look for a quiet and peaceful location. Take a chair along with you. It is best to use a spot that is free from any kind of chaos or tension. The point is to make you feel good.
- Relaxing is very important while you meditate. This is the first step you need to take in order to overcome depression. Let your feelings go. Allow the tension to leave the neck and shoulders. Keep your focus on the arms, legs and other sections of the body. Try and relax each and every section as much as possible.
- Once you have started to relax yourself, begin to focus. The point of mindfulness is to get rid of all the thoughts of the past as well as the future and lay emphasis on the present. This will help you to keep all the problems behind.
- An important step now will be to experience every motion as fully as possible. If any kind of thought appears in your mind, try to refrain from any kind of judgments. Observe carefully and then allow them to simply pass. After that, you can continue to focus on the present.
- Keep your focus on the breathing. Breathe in gently, and breathe out. As you do this, let your abdomen region contract and expand.
- Now you can allow your emotions to play. Make sure you are breathing through the nose and not your mouth. Enjoy the moment and allow it to flow through you. You should be feeling relaxed now.
- Practice this twice on a regular basis. At the end of it all, you will definitely feel a difference.
- Some of you have wondered how long it takes to complete this. Well, to be honest, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. But with time, you are definitely going to improve yourself. Go on for another 20 minutes.
- However, you can practice this at any time of the day. You don’t really need a chair or sit on the grass. You could do this meditating routine any time of the day you feel too depressed or tensed. This will help you overcome the negative emotions and will make you feel better.
22. Healthy Support And Counseling
Try to find at least one person who doesn’t judge you and is always there for you. Having people who love you always helps. Healthy and loving relationships with family and friends are crucial. But, if you don’t have them, turn to a counselor. You can also try out Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as this works to change the way you think.
Find someone to talk to who’s not judgmental. It helps just to have someone to talk to. You can even start volunteering by trying to do something for someone else. That always makes one feel better.
23. Identify The Trigger
When you are depressed, stop, ask yourself “Why am I depressed?” and then you can find ways of tackling your depression. Not knowing the trigger can lead you deeper into depression. So, sit down and think about what it is that has brought your spirits down.
24. Create Distance
Now that you know the depression trigger, what should be your next step? The next step is to create distance from the trigger. If the trigger is at work or your place of education, then retreat to your home. If the trigger is at home, then retreat to your room. DO NOT let the trigger remain in your vicinity.
25. Safe Space
Insecurity can cause depression. This is why it is important to encompass yourself in a space that you consider “safe”. The safe space can help you create distance from the trigger and at the same time help you unravel your depression at your own comfort.
26. Address The Trigger
If the depression is triggered by a person or a situation, then there are ways of resolving it. You can get closure and peace of mind by addressing the trigger. But do not address it with aggression. CALM DOWN before taking any steps.
27. Shut It Out
There are many triggers that cannot be addressed. What should you do in such a case? When you feel confronted with a no-way-out situation, you need to find ways of shutting the trigger out of your mind.
28. Happy Faces
It is best to not be alone when you have chronic depression. Being alone, when depressed, can make you feel more dejected. So, invite your closest friends over. Talk to them about the trigger.Share some wine and have a good time. And before you know, the cloud of depression will just drift away!
29. Laughter Is The Way
Laughter is one and only natural medicine for depression. Laugh about something absurd that you did. Laughter helps you deal with stress. It also releases ‘endorphins’, our body’s “feel good” chemicals that can help manage depression naturally. Alternatively, don’t worry about people’s comments and how you should do or feel.
30. Nixing/ Reducing Alcohol
What came first- depression or alcohol? This is a real trick question. People who drink heavily and regularly increase their risk for depression. This may be due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant, increases inflammation, and reduces the levels of “happy” chemicals in the brain that help in fighting depression. And on the other hand, the depressed are twice as likely to become alcoholics to forget their problems.
Basic Tips To Overcome Depression
- Try and maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. Also, try and socialize with those who are friendly and positive.
- Make time for yourself.
- Basic breathing techniques, such as yoga and tai chi can work to make you feel better.
- Always say yes to humor. Never feel shy to laugh.
- Go to the parlor and give yourself a good body massage. Aroma and Swedish massages are always helpful. Good body massages will help you feel much better.
- Sleep! Many of you have very busy lives and hardly find enough time to sleep. Believe me, if you aren’t spending 7 hours on sleep every day, it is not enough for your health and body.
- Pray and meditate. These two things are very important in order to stay stress and anxiety free. Praying always gives you a sense of hope from within. It will help you develop a connection with God and free you from depression.
- Get hold of a diary and jot down all your thoughts. The more you release your thoughts, the better you will feel.
- Look out for something that will help you appreciate life every single day.
Remember, depression does get more manageable when it’s put in its place, so do take these baby steps and get out of the depression stranglehold. Stay strong and have faith. Everyone in this world has problems and would have undergone traumas at-least once in their lives. But that doesn’t mean everyone is getting depressed, right?
One very good thing you can do is to say to yourself how a mentally strong person you are. Positive affirmations make a lot of difference and help you come out of depression much faster.
Have you ever fought depression before? Do you know any other natural ways to fight depression? Share with us in the comments section!
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