- Mental Health
Stop Feelings of Depression in Seconds
Where to start
Are you feeling lonely or sad? Do you have a wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach and you feel like it's never going to get any better? Do all the sad song lyrics make sense suddenly; if you can bring yourself to even listen to music? Does your mind race with worry and fear and keep circling your problem or situation? Sometimes when the mind is working on a problem, it doesn't differentiate between personal problems or a project at work, both situations have a physical impact on the body. That's why you can sit all day at a desk job and leave feeling exhausted. Your thoughts affect you in a physical way. If you suspect that you are suffering from real depression (a.k.a. "clinical depression") please talk to a physician who can help you get the treatment you need. But if you're feeling sad, moody, anxious or a little depressed, here are some practical, immediate steps to calm yourself and begin to relieve your stress.
Ways to feel better right now
· Find a quiet space, room or corner and sit down or lean against a wall. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think only about your breathing and block any other thoughts that pop up. (They'll still be there when you finish this process). Release your breath while counting to 10, letting your shoulders relax, and your head droop forward. Roll your shoulders forward, up and back. Push your shoulder blades toward your spine, forcing your chest out and your chin up. Relax. Take 5 more deep breaths, repeating the process. This relaxes the body enough to open the mind as well.
· If you are an athletic person (lucky you!), a few minutes participating in your favorite sport or activity is sometimes enough to work through those anxious feelings and get you back on track. Plus, if you're feeling sad or lonely, physical activity affects emotional feelings in 2 ways: (1) it stimulates the body to produce natural substances in the brain that boost moods and (2) depending on the presence of others, activity may require you to give up isolation for brief periods of time. If you're reading this during daylight hours, get up right now, go outside and walk for 5 minutes in the fresh air. If it's nightime, stand up and dance for 5 minutes--anything to get your pulse rate up! Don't think about it, just move. (But come back for more reading when you're done!)
· If you are NOT athletic, you still need the activity but it may be harder to get yourself motivated. Maybe you've been sedentary for a while. The hardest part is just getting started. You don't have to jump right into an hour of cardio! Set a timer for 5 minutes of activity. When you start small and notice you have begun to feel better, it encourages you to be active for longer and longer periods. Schedule it on your calendar: 5 minutes on Tuesday morning at 7:00 am. (That's right--don't tell yourself, "I'll start next Monday"--five minutes isn't going to make that much of a dent in your morning.) Then, 5 minutes on Wednesday, Thursday, and on Friday you feel so good just moving, that 10 minutes flew by before you noticed!
· Keeping a journal with your goals or bucket list will provide a touchstone you can refer to when you get overwhelmed and wonder: "what's the use?". Right now, on a piece of paper, write down whatever pops into your mind. Just writing helps you connect with your true self, but specific writing helps you focus on your personal motivation for getting up every morning.