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7 Everyday Tips To Help You Overcome Depression

By on April 1, 2018 in Mood and Depression with 0 Comments

Depression, as an illness, does not discriminate.  The number of people suffering depression continues to rise from year to year. While awareness of the condition is much improved, there is still a high percentage of patients who could not access much-needed treatment. There are just not enough resources to cope with the rising demand.  In this BBC report, a young sufferer named George reported the waiting list for him to get help could be over 40 weeks.

Treatment is often necessary for those with depression to have fulfilling lives but with long waiting times, what can someone like George do? Here are seven tips on self-care that could help alleviate bouts of depression:

Say hello to your depression

Spend five minutes to say hello to your depression. Practice this mindfulness technique where you let your depression speak. Take the role of an outside observer of your thoughts and feelings.  Acknowledge them and accept them, but remind yourself that like all things, these thoughts are impermanent.

It is easy to fall into the trap of over-contemplating the past or worrying about the future. Living in the past can lead to feelings of self-loathing while worrying about the future can give rise to anxiety.  If these thoughts do come, give them five minutes, acknowledge them and then put them back in the box. Bring your focus to the present.

Depressed woman stares out of the window on a rainy day

People suffering from depression often feel things are spiraling out of control. Sometimes by acknowledging that you are battling these thoughts and they are impermanent, can be a good way to gain back some of that control.

Take 5 minutes to think about your blessings

When we are under a black cloud of depression, we always look at everything in a negative light.  It is part of the thought process that will speed you along a one-way track.  Take a step back and think of three positive things.

It may be difficult to think of anything positive when you feel that your whole world is collapsing around you  Try thinking of three acts of kindness someone has done for you, Maybe your mom has made you a cup of tea, or someone held the door for you. Or someone said hello this morning.  Think of them as positive things that happened and say thank you for them.

Giving gratitude is a great way to re-orientate your thoughts. Concentrating on the blessings or kindness you receive takes you out from intense self-scrutiny. You are looking at the good things and after some time, your brain will automatically look for the positive aspects of situations.

Build 15 minutes in your day to be active

There are many benefits of a structured exercise program for physical and mental health but the thing with depression, it saps so much of your energy.  You feel tired all the time. It seems impossible to get up and go, let alone get some exercise.

Exercise does not necessarily mean having to run endless laps around the track or spending hours in the gym.  A slow walk through the park, a leisurely swim or even a cycle to the supermarket and back can count as physical exercise.  It is ok if you need breaks every 5 to 10 minutes; it is smart to start small and do it consistently every day.

Eat a healthy lunch today

A diet high vitamin B, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids will boost your mood.  These can be found in citrus fruits, chicken, eggs, and leafy greens. Omega-3 are often found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna.. Have a delicious lunch of salmon with leafy spinach.  Finish it off with your favorite fruits, perhaps as a refreshing smoothie.  While the best way to get the vitamins you needed through healthy food choices, taking supplements can also help boost your vitamin intake.

Call up a friend and meet

It is normal for someone with depression to avoid the company. In our mind, we think no one understands nor do they care. We think they are judging us or living better lives than us from looking their social media pages.  It is easy to think this way.  Depression has a way of distorting our thinking. What it does is isolating us further from those who care and feeding into this vicious cycle of desolation.

Take that brave step to call someone close to you today.  You don’t have to tell them anything – just the act of making a connection will be the spark. If you are comfortable that the person will listen and is supportive, talk about your experiences.  People, especially those who are close to you, want to help but sometimes they do not know how to.  Meeting up face to face for a cup of tea or coffee is even better than a phone call or a text.

If you want to take this further, join a support group for depression.  Knowing that you are not alone and there are many people from all walks of life in the same boat can help put things into perspective and lessen the feeling of isolation.

Spend 15 minutes in the sun

Going outside to get some sun will have a great benefit on your mood.  The sunlight boosts your serotonin levels whilst the mere act of going somewhere different can help a change of perspective.  Spend some time in the garden, take a stroll around the block or have a sandwich picnic outside.  It is even better if you spend that time outside doing an outdoor activity like hiking or playing golf.  It will double up the effect of improving your mood.

It is not always possible to do go outside. Sometimes simple things like drawing the curtains open to let in the light or sitting in a comfortable armchair reading a book in the sun can help. If the winter months, when daylight is short, light therapy lamps can help.

Make a journal entry about how you feel

One of the effects of depression is how they cloud your thoughts, making it difficult to think clearly.  Writing down your thoughts on paper daily is a good way to make sense of all that is running through your mind.

There is no need to write long essays; writing down three things that you did today can work wonders.  Seeing how far you’ve come or what you have done today can help focus on the present. Celebrate your small wins.  You have done well today.  If you cannot think of three, there is tomorrow where you can ace the day.

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About the Author

About the Author: Tom Andrews BSc is the editor of MentalWellnessToday.com. He devotes his time to psychology and mental health research and also enjoys climbing, hiking, and team sports. Tom is a contributor to several other highly regarded health magazines and blogs.

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