We all have bad days…we all can feel frustrated, sad or mad at times. Sadness or “the blues”, “feeling down” are part of our lives but they often don’t come in the way of us living our lives. So, ask yourself- Am I easily tearful, angry or irritable? Have I stopped doing the things that I once enjoyed? Why am I feeling tired all the time? Am I isolating from my friends or family, so much so that people wonder whats wrong?
If you answered yes to the above…you may be depressed but you aren’t alone. 1 in 6 people suffer (mostly alone) from this common but serious mood disorder in the United States.
DEPRESSION is real. Its more intense, ongoing and we feel it in our minds, hearts, bodies and spirit.
With depression being the most common mental health problem across the globe and it having negative impacts on individuals and families, we at Thrive Wellness & Mediation believe treating depression and managing your mood are key to regaining a healthy balance and re-claiming your VITALITY!
Scroll down for some powerful strategies to begin working on your depression.
1. Take your depression seriously:
Learn more about your condition: Educate yourself and become your own health advocate.
2. Start Small: Baby steps
Just show up to your day. Take this first action step. Expect ‘the voices of depression’ to show up too. EXPECT the physical resistance to doing anything or very little. If you expect these voices to be present…you are prepared for the next step. Get out of bed: Remember being depressed and getting out of bed don’t go together. Your physical movement will change the way you feel….even if it’s for a few minutes.
3. Change your mood: One mindful breath at a time!
Inhale…..Exhale….Repeat. What does your breath have to do with depression and why is it so important to be mindful? Simply put, your breathing is what keeps you alive and gives you energy. By becoming aware of your breath in the moment you begin living less “in your head” and more in the “now.” Put another way, breath awareness helps with short circuiting the worries, ruminative and angry/sad thoughts that make up depression. Stay tuned for a short video on Mindful breathing by Dr. Priyanka coming soon.
4. Prioritize your body first!
Generally speaking the physical aspects of depression (the professionals call these problems neuro-vegetative symptoms of depression) like eating, sleeping, and (physical activity) exercise—are commonly neglected in treatment of depression. But your physical well-being is one of the most important aspects of recovery from depression. So, keep things simple: sleep, eat, rest and get physically active.
5. Exercise (boost your mood right now!):
Think back to the time when you didn’t want to go to the gym, but just “showing up at the doorstep” helped with that initial resistance?
Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re better with managing your depression. You want to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. A good first step is a 10-minute walk which can improve your mood for one-two hours.
- Eating: Some people tend to over-eat and some others tend to lose appetite when depressed. Changing your relationship to eating, when dealing with depression can lead to empowering changes in your self esteem, body image, reduce fatigue and increase energy.
“Whether you’re overeating or not eating enough, you may be using food to feel better or to cope with difficult feelings,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.
- Sleep: Get in your Zss: You know you need sleep to function. Sleep is basic to energy, a healthy eating cycle and thinking straight. Another important symptom of depression is problems with sleep- too much, too less, difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Now, if you have anxiety or trauma, sleep is even more problematic. Improving sleep will need to include a combination of possibly medication/s, psychotherapy and attention to lifestyle changes. It truly does take a village!
6. A routine to your day… including a self-care routine
With depression, one day fuses into the next, day and night lose their identity. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track. For those of you who are able to structure your time well, this task may be easier to do; for those of you who feel stuck or confused reach out to a friend, partner. Sometimes its takes a professional to help. WE are a phone call or email away. You can reach us at 732-463-9444 or at email@example.com
7. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself: Don’t punish yourself (or others) for feeling bad or mad.
Check the inner (harsh) critic that is engaging in a lot of “putting down.” Sometimes you may not even know that you are putting yourself down and holding yourself back.
8. Think about what you could be angry at and address the root cause.
Depression can also include feelings of anger. Anger is a powerful and primary emotion. When harnessed well, it can have many positive consequences. But it can become harmful when you deny, and “stuff” your feelings. By acknowledging and accepting or discussing angry feelings, you are much less likely to turn these feelings against yourself or others.
9. Don’t isolate yourself
We are social creatures…for good reason. We need and tend to gravitate towards people when stressed, depressed. Depression doesn’t heal when you go at it alone. Give yourself the opportunity to discover what connecting with others feels like. Friendships, close ties with family and a social support system are key to healing from depression.
10. Give yourself choices to counter helplessness: Even if the choices are not ideal, you can still take back some control.
A cardinal symptom of depression is “all or nothing” thinking. “I didn’t do well on this test or interview…I am an utter failure!” There are many other ways to think about this situation. Give your mind choices to “re-frame” your performance. Self-compassion, cognitive re-frames and active problem solving are critical tools to feeling less helpless, hopeless and depressed.
11. Build positive memories… Re-wire and Re-frame
It takes the weight of 3 positive thoughts to counter one negative thought. When we build positive memories and enrichen our bank of positive emotional memories, over time they help with a better immune and cardiovascular system that are robust in the face of stress. They also help with resilience, optimism, counter the effects of painful experiences including depression, trauma and increase our problem solving abilities. If you are interested in learning more about how positive experiences can help, sign up here to receive our blog on how positive memories can help better health by clicking here .
13. Train or Re-train your Brain: Yes its not too late!
Do you know scientists thought once you reached 25 your brain was done growing and changing? Well, we know different now. You can learn, change, and mold your brain. Problem solving, being involved in activities that challenge and stretch us seem impossible with depression. But our brains are healthiest when challenged and stretched.
12. Build in Meaning and a sense of purpose.
Is there a core of meaning to your existence? – Something to live for that is above and beyond the problems you are tackling? Building a sense of purpose and meaning is a powerful strategy to alleviate your depression.
To serve/help/provide value through what you have to offer: to have people who need us provides a great sense of meaning and purpose. Volunteering, looking after animals, raising a family, participating in a social cause, looking after grandchildren are all good examples.
Going beyond you struggles: building a spiritual practice & prayer: People who have a committed religious and/or spiritual or contemplative practice have better mental health and live longer than those who don’t, but even having an open minded approach to the world being larger than oneself can be very healing.
Make meaning of life’s difficulties: We try to understand and make sense of everything. When you look for reasons for why things happen, come up with multiple perspectives and share those with others, you are “making meaning” and growing as a person. You are no longer limited by what fixed notions. You have opened yourself to many possibilities for why things happen.
The pain of what you are going through doesn’t have to be suffering alone. Reach out and get help so that we at Thrive Wellness can help you create and re-claim your best life!
If you have ever had, or are having thoughts of harming yourself/ending your life, please call 9-1-1, or call your emergency hotline number or go to your nearest Emergency room.