Posts tagged with ‘depression’

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 comment Read related posts in

14 dec

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

WEJMDIt is terribly ironic that the holidays, which is meant to be a time for celebration, joy, family, loved ones, connection, harmony and contentment, brings sadness and depression to so many people. Why is this the case? Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues are seeing their world through the eyes of the past, focusing on the disappointments, the losses, the rejections, the abandonments of the past and bringing them into the present, and feeling their devastating emotional impact as if they happened yesterday.

Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues look at their current life situation and perceive it as empty and lonely, lacking in loving, nurturing relationships, lacking in meaningful, supportive family bonds, lacking in personal fulfillment, lacking in health and happiness. Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues fear the future will deliver them more of the same. More loneliness. More alienation. More frustration. More regret. More pain and suffering. So what do we do about it?

REFUSE THE BLUES

Best we not focus on the disappointments of the past. When thoughts of the past pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don’t want those thoughts anymore. We don’t need them for our safety or protection. We don’t wish to victimize ourselves anymore with painful memories.

Best we not focus on the potential disappointments of the future. When anxious, fearful thoughts about the future pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don’t want those thoughts anymore. We don’t need to dwell on all the horrible “what ifs” that might someday happen. We don’t need to fill our mind with anticipatory thoughts of failure, loneliness, pain and suffering possibly yet to come. We don’t wish to victimize ourselves anymore with the belief that we will not be able to handle what our life’s future has to offer.

BE HERE NOW. BE LOVE NOW.

The above subhead are two titles from books by Ram Dass, whose spiritual journeys he has distilled into these two phrases of powerful wisdom. The best way to overcome the holiday blues or any blues for that matter is to BE HERE NOW: Be in the present. Appreciate that in this present moment is massive potential for happiness and contentment. In this present moment we can look at the beauty of nature all around us. In this present moment we can marvel at the miracle of life in all its myriad forms, animal, vegetable and mineral. In this present moment we can BE LOVE NOW: We can help a stranger, hug a friend, ease someone else’s pain, share a laugh or a smile, see the love in everyone despite how they’re behaving, forgive others for they know not what they do, accept the Oneness of life despite the differences and diversity that sometimes can seem quite disorienting or frightening, appreciate the connection we have to the earth, to the wind and water, to all creatures big and small, and above all else, to each other.

ABOVE ALL ELSE: LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER

There is great joy to be had in this world, in our present moments despite not having the relationships, position and possessions we desire, by simply connecting with others. Making eye contact with others. Extending acceptance, tolerance, love and forgiveness to others. Do these things on a daily basis. What you give to others you can’t keep from yourself. What you give to others will come back to you.

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Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on December 14th, 2011 in First30Days Book | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,