First 30 Days Blog

13 jan

Tips for Dealing with Depression

RobertCordrayDepression affects us all from time to time. Sometimes we get moody for a day, or experience a difficult life event, such as a divorce or a death in the family, and that depression can last for weeks or months. The tricky thing about depression is recognizing when the feeling is temporary and can be overcome through therapy or exercise and when the depression is an actual medical condition that needs psychiatric treatment. Often, jumping immediately to a medication is not the best option if your doctor can’t say with certainty that the depression is caused by a medical condition, but the sad feelings and lack of energy do need to be addressed. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to deal with depression, and the results you see—or perhaps don’t see—could indicate whether you need to seek further assistance from a psychiatrist or not.

1. Turn to Others for Support

When we get depressed, we often like to wrap ourselves up in a cocoon and shut ourselves off from the rest of the world. The problem with this is it allows those negative feelings to escalate, and we have no positive interactions to combat those negative emotions. Depression can also leave us feeling isolated, as though no one cares for us. It can also leave us feeling guilty for neglecting relationships. Taking that first step of picking up the phone or going to a social activity is hard, but you should find that doing it the second time is easier.

Start by asking your closest family members or friends for support, and share what you are going through. If you have no one available, try joining a support group instead. It may be helpful to ask someone else to check in on you, so you don’t have to take the first step of communication every time. Creating a scheduled social activity that you feel obligated to go to, such as a paid class or a weekly walk with someone can help provide motivation as well.

2. Approach Feelings Logically

It’s a common misconception to think that it helps to start being optimistic about things in order to combat negative thoughts, but the problem is these “happy thoughts” most likely aren’t real or replacing the negative thoughts. Rather, try to recognize your negative thoughts when you have them and make them more balanced by looking at them logically. Doing this often requires you to separate the thought from what you are feeling. Try writing down negative thoughts when you have them along with the triggering event. Later, return to the thoughts and analyze whether the response was overblown or if you were jumping to the worst conclusion possible.

Avoid striving for perfection. If you find yourself being self-critical a lot, ask yourself if you would say those things about a close friend. If the answer is “no,” think about what you would actually say to another person and start using those statements instead.

3. Be Healthy

It’s important to take care of yourself when dealing with depression. Work to develop good sleep habits, and be sure to head outside and get some sunlight for at least 15 minutes everyday. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, can help you to find balance if the depression is caused from external stressors. Exercise has been found to be particularly crucial in combating depression because it releases endorphins and triggers new cell growth in the brain. Focus on exercises that you can do continuously and frequently throughout the day, such as going on a walk. Finally, be sure to eat healthy and avoid skipping meals. Depending on your particular situation, adding vitamins that are deficient in your diet may be beneficial as well.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to depression, and many people with clinical depression cannot overcome it with exercise or social activities alone. Thus, it’s important to consult a doctor who can help you find the right solution for you.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on January 13th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness, Health | 1 comments Read related posts in

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