- Mental Health
5 Ways to Ward Off Depression and Stay Depression Free
Getting hit with hard times can really get you down. Here are five ways to stay depression-free through life's challenges.
How to Beat Depression
Experiencing hard times, such as unemployment or divorce, can really get you down. When you are facing setbacks and struggles, you may feel like you have lost control of your life.
Dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings can make it hard to bounce back. Fortunately, most challenges in life are temporary, and they do not have to lead to depression.
You are more resilient than you think, and those dismal feelings can be short-lived if you catch them in time. Do you want to know how to beat depression?
Certain techniques can keep your sadness from turning into despair. Here are five ways to ward off depression and stay depression-free through life’s challenges.
1. Regain Control of Your Life
Brian Tracy, a popular motivational speaker and author, said it well: “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”
Taking charge of your life, even in the challenging circumstances, is one way to stay depression-free. If you have lost your job, for example, brush up your resume, place some phone calls, and take steps toward finding new employment.
By the way, if you equate your identity with your career or professional title, consider the blessing of unemployment. It can help you discover your true identity.
2. Review Your Successes
Think back to a time when you overcame adversity or enjoyed success. How did you handle a difficult problem, finish a hard project, or help a friend through a rough patch?
Knowing what worked then can be a powerful help today, especially when you are wondering how to beat depression.
Your accomplishments are good reminders that you are competent, capable, and resourceful. Let your past success encourage you in your present struggles.
3. Focus on Your Health
Focusing on your health is another way to ward off depression. While junk food may seem comforting in the moment, it usually makes you feel worse afterward.
Your body and brain benefit from healthy eating. According to nutrition experts, a Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Not only does it improve heart health, supply antioxidants, and fight disease, but it may also reduce your risk of depression.
Exercise is another depression fighter. Physical activity releases “feel good” brain chemicals that improve your mood, appetite, and sleep. It is also a good way to boost your confidence and self-image. Do you need more reasons to exercise? Here are ten good ones.
As you consider your health, do not overlook sleep. Depression may cause a lack of sleep, but the opposite is also true. A good sleep increases the metabolic activity in your brain. This enables you to better control your behavior and emotions. Follow these steps for better sleep.
4. Connect With Others
When you feel sad and depressed, social contact is probably the last thing on your mind. However, connecting with others may be just the thing to lift your mood. It is often the best way to stay depression-free.
Spending time with your friends or family keeps you from isolation, which tends to increase those sad and lonely feelings.
Take an exercise class, join a club, or volunteer for a good cause. Focusing on the needs of other people takes your mind off your own worries. Here are good ways to give to others, even in the hard times.
Local or online support groups can help, too. It may seem hard to talk to strangers about your problems. However, by reaching out to others, you discover that you are not alone.
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5. Manage Your Stress
When you are feeling stressed, your breathing and heart rate increases and your blood vessels constrict. Learning to control the stress can reverse these physical responses and the emotional ones that lead to depression.
Practice deep breathing, sing a song, count to 10, laugh out loud, or pray. Repeat the activity until you feel relaxed. These steps will not solve your problem or change your situation, but they can calm you and help you get through a trying circumstance.
How do you beat depression? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.
The information presented in this article is not intended as health or medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional.
© 2013 Annette R. Smith