Depression affects most people at some point in their lives. Regardless of whether this is a fleeting case of the blues or a chronic condition, there are some steps that you can take to improve your mental state. If your symptoms are prolonged or severe, then you should seek the help of a mental health professional, but the depression-busting methods described here are often recommended in tandem with treatments such as antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Our bodies are meant to move. Have you noticed that if you remain sedentary for a lengthy period, you begin to feel sluggish? Many of us have workdays in which sitting is the norm. Prolonged sitting has negative physiological and psychological effects.
The antidote for excessive stillness is movement. Exercise increases the production of endorphins, which reduce depression and the perception of pain. Some exercise, such as yoga, includes a mindfulness component that may help to reduce anxiety and – you guessed it – depression.
If you’ve ever been around the proverbial “wet blanket” at a gathering, you know how the moods of others can impact your own. Fortunately, there are also people that can elevate the mood of a space with their presence. Persistent negativity in your life can lead to increased stress and depression. If you are struggling with depression, then you may be picking up on the attitudes and mindsets of others. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people, and you may notice that your depression lifts.
Therapy Group of DC said, “Sometimes we become so bogged down in everyday stress that we forget to stop to appreciate what we do have.” Start your morning by thinking of something for which you are grateful before you even get out of bed. Make a list of five or ten things for which you are thankful. If this is difficult for you, then start small and persist until it becomes second nature. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you will begin to think more about assets than deficiencies. Practicing this daily can shift your perspective and counteract feelings of depression.
Creativity is often undervalued in our culture – especially when it is not lucrative. If you have a story inside you that is dying to get out, you have always wanted to pick up a musical instrument, or watching reruns of The Joy of Painting makes you long to put your own feelings on canvas, then it may be time for you to get creative.
The value of the creative experience could enrich your life and allow you to channel your emotions and passion in a constructive way. There is a reason that adult coloring books are flying off the shelves right now. People want to use their imaginations. Having a creative outlet can boost your self-esteem and help to reduce or eliminate the self-defeating internal dialogue that can cause depression.
Connect with Nature
There’s something to be said for getting some sunshine and fresh air. A few decades ago, connecting with the earth was a critical part of survival. Today, people are so plugged into technology that they may unintentionally unplug from nature. Your brain is never going to be able to keep up with the volume of content spewing out of the internet, and emptying your inbox can feel like a Sisyphean job.
If you want to beat feelings of depression, it is important to step away from all of those tasks that seem beyond your control. Appreciate the beauty and peace of the outdoors. When you reconnect with nature, your feelings of depression may lift.
Just as there is no one cause for depression, there is not a single solution. By using a combination of these five tips and seeking additional help if you think that your condition is chronic, you may come to realize a happier version of yourself.