- Mental Health
The Best Ways To Deal With Depression
They used to call it "Melancholy" before coining the term "Depression". Although depression is still an under-diagnosed condition especially in the less privileged parts of the world, the term depression is overused and is commonly misunderstood. depression isn't a state of mind, neither is it something you can shrug off without taking consistent and decisive action; depression is a disease, which, like any other disease requires careful diagnosis and management. Having said that, there are a lot of ways, which if followed religiously, can bring back the sunshine into the gloom of sadness and misery. Why get depressed about having depression?!
PROFESSIONAL HELP: Better safe than sorry, the first thing you need to do is to contact your doctor if you feel sad and lethargic and fatigued most of the time, you weep repeatedly, are experiencing changes in weight and are having difficulty sleeping, if life starts to seem like a burden and hope becomes scarce. If you get annoyed easily and feel agitated frequently. Although it is unlikely that a little bit of irritability and sadness is diagnosed as depression, since we all experience days like that when anger and tears simmer close to the surface. A combination of these symptoms exhibited frequently for a prolonged period may be the first sign.
COUNSELING: Once you are certain that you are suffering from depression, and have filled your prescription, the best route would be to see a therapist. Counseling actually helps as it gives you a safe place for catharsis and you learn methods to clear the dark fog.
EXERCISE: Quit the couch! Purposeful movement is the best distraction. A morning or evening walk in a pleasant and peaceful park is good for starters. You can start going to the gym regularly to pump some iron and do a bit of running and other cardio exercises. Exercise helps by releasing natural "happy-hormones" in the brain, which elevate the mood considerably.
CUT DOWN ON THE NICOTINE: Try to stop smoking altogether if you are a smoker. Or at least cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke. Nicotine intake adds to the depression. Contrary to what most people think, nicotine is not a stimulator.
HEALTHY EATING: Eating healthy food isn't only for keeping your body fit, it also helps to keep your mind healthy. Invest some time in preparing delicious but healthy meals for yourself and enjoy each bite, each mouthful, thoroughly! keep your focus on the explosion of tastes and aroma and textures. And watch how your mind shifts to healthy thoughts. Watch yourself smiling...
FORGIVE: If the roots of depression are embedded in the fertile soil of anger and resentment, the tree will bear bitter fruit. Begin your anger-management by forgiving yourself. We are all flawed and we all make mistakes. Next make a list of people and situations you resent, and one by one see if its worth the price you,re paying for keeping the acidic emotion in your soul! Think of at least one pleasant experience you had with each person, or one quality that may be their saving grace. Forgive as many people as you can; not for them but for yourself. This might take time and constant effort but its worth it.
HELP OTHERS: Do one good deed everyday for a total stranger. IT doesn't have to be big, it just has to be what they need: an old lady may need help with crossing the street, a child may need a hug, a stranger in your town may need directions. Also you can join a support group to give and receive helpful advice. Being useful to others for no obvious gain is therapeutic.
WEAR CHEERFUL COLORS: I can vouch for the effectiveness of colors. Wear tasteful and pleasing colors that make you feel good. Be creative. surround yourself with as many bright and cheery colors as you want.
AROMATHERAPY: Take long relaxing baths at night with scented bath oils and candles. Pamper yourself, after all you are the most important person in your life. Lavender is known for its relaxing properties, so is Rosemary and even Thyme. But go with whatever smells right to you. Vanilla caramel candles in winter are a surefire mood-lifter. Chamomile is also great in relaxing the muscles and calming the mind.
HERBAL REMEDIES: Many swear by the efficacy of St. John's Wort. It contains a natural antidepressant which has been reported to have helped a considerable number of people. Other options are herbal teas made with chamomile, peppermint, papaya, ginseng, gingko and other herbs and fruit. Try a few to see what works for you. A word of caution: Herbal remedies may interfere with your prescription medication, so clear it with your doctor before you decide to take it.
STOP BROODING: Depression keeps its victim in the clutches of the past. Keep yourself busy in routine activities. Keep a check on your thoughts. Pause every thirty minutes or so to note what you are thinking and write it down. It will help you identify the malfunctioning thought process, and will help you and your therapist gain insight into your problem. Meet friends, hang out with your chums, go window shopping, read good books, just do whatever you like doing but stop brooding; which, by the way, can and does become a favorite pass-time.
HOBBIES: Sit down with yourself and think about what you have always wanted to do, have dreamed of doing, but couldn't do. Now is the time to take up that hobby again. Do you fancy learning to play the violin? cello? have you always wanted to paint? or write? Do you have an interest in gardening? dance? a new language? travel?. Go ahead and do it. Just keep it practical so that you don't have an excuse for not doing it!
CLEANLINESS: neat and clean surroundings have an impact on the mood. Keep yourself and your abode tidy..
THOUGHT-STOPPING: Learn to nip the problem in the bud. as soon as you notice yourself sliding into a sulk, and your mind drifting back to your habitual thought patterns, visualize punching the thought, and punch it HARD. It works.
KEEP A JOURNAL: Write down your thoughts and reflections. Pen your dreams. Give words to your fantasy. You are likely to gain deeper insight into yourself. your mind and your soul, use it to write your own personal travelogue. Also note down all the achievements and victories; big or little; on your way to health. This daily diary is going to keep you motivated.
RELAXATION AND MEDITATION: Meditation has proven to be highly beneficial in mood disturbances. There are many forms and techniques to achieve total relaxation of mind and body, and there are detailed books and articles and guides available to help you with it. But maybe joining a group or class is a better idea. Again it depends on your personal preference. Do try it though!
FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Enlist the help of a close friend, or a reliable family member or relative, someone who is available for you when yo need help. Who will take out the time to listen to you when you have the urge to vent.. This person is very important in your landscape of recovery, since he/she can be your co-therapist. You can ask them to come along with you when you go for your therapy sessions, they can help you take the first baby steps towards health.
Alcohol and Depression
depression lends itself to a strong desire to drown your misery in some sort of oblivion...and alcohol seems to be the favored carrier to nothingness...
This is a vice you absolutely need to avoid, since the nothingness doesn't last anyway and you end up with a vicious hangover, whats more, your troubles come crashing down at you as soon as your head clears a bit. So don't go that route at all!!
Alcohol is a depressant that will only deepen your condition. Its also reported to be associated with increased risk of suicide in depressed individuals.
Drink healthy stuff like clear juices. Bright colored and fresh citrus fruit juices add the element of cheer to your mocktails!
Depression doesn't have a chance against the one thing humans are endowed with, that one thing which makes feats of unimaginable proportions not only possible but real. that one force is will power. Properly nurtured and honed, and correctly used, its the most useful tool in your box.