How To Cope With Depression
Dealing with depression may seem quite difficult, but fortunately, it is possible to overcome depression. To cope with depression, you must first know that you are suffering from it. To help you identify its presence, the signs of depression are given below:
Signs of Depression:
- Depressed mood nearly most of the day or every day
- Loss of interest or lack of pleasure in activities
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Slowed down or restlessness/fatigue
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
- Lack of concentration, indecisiveness
- Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, inappropriate guilt
- Suicidal ideation or attempts
You are suffering from depression if you have been experiencing some of the symptoms given above for approximately 2 weeks and the symptoms are affecting your daily functioning. Moreover, the symptoms should not be the result of any medication or medical condition, however, chronic disease and difficulties or challenges associated with it can result in depression.
Similarly, if you have recently lost your loved one and you are feeling down and not liking to participate in activities or you are not enjoying anything lately, this is the common result of grief.
The difference between grief and depression is that sadness, feelings of emptiness, and loss that are predominant in grief tend to decrease in intensity with time and are often associated with the reminders and thoughts of the deceased. Depression, on the other hand, is not associated with specific preoccupations or thoughts and is more persistent.
How to Overcome Depression?As depression is persistent, it is not going to vanish on its own, that is why you need to take the necessary steps to manage it and reduce it gradually. Some of the strategies to overcome depression include:
Challenge Negative Thinking:Depression is highly associated with negative thinking. If you are depressed, you tend to focus on the negative aspects of situations, resulting in feeling hopeless and helpless. There are many errors in thinking that can affect your normal thinking patterns and how you feel and behave afterward.
To cope with depression, you should identify your negative thinking patterns and try to challenge them.
For instance, your friend didn’t acknowledge you when you recently waved to her and, as a result, you start thinking that you might have done something wrong to offend her. This leads you to feel sad and worthless which may cause you to avoid her in the future. On the other hand, if you think differently that your friend might be busy and he/she might not have seen you. This thought will result in neutral feelings along with behaving normally afterward. Therefore, instead of jumping to a conclusion, or perceiving everything negatively, you should challenge your thoughts and try to convert them into rational ones.
Journaling:Write everything down, whether positive or negative. Depressed people usually don’t remember positive events in their life. Hence, journaling allows you to write all the positive and negative events, and later on, you can go through it realizing that positive events do occur that bring you happiness.
Practicing gratitude or being grateful for different things in your life brings your attention to the positive aspects of your life. This makes you feel positive emotions, and cherish positive life experiences, giving you a sense of hope and motivation as well.
Create a Routine:Although depression makes it difficult for you to engage in normal day to day activities due to fatigue and loss of interest, creating a routine gives you a structure and plan to do things. Don’t try to do it all at once, but instead create small goals and take small steps towards completing the task.
Behavior Activation:Behavior activation is one of the most effective strategies to overcome depression. Start doing things that you love. You may not feel the urge or motivation to do it, but do it anyway. Doing your favorite activities just for a few minutes can kick start the day and help raise your mood.
For instance, if you love drawing, start it by doing 5 minutes a day. Whether you drew anything in the start or not, keep on giving five minutes daily to your drawing activity. Gradually you will be motivated and start taking interest in the activity, leading you to engage in many other activities as well.
The rationale behind behavior activation is to break the vicious cycle of negative patterns, feelings, and avoidance behavior which result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, reinforcing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
An appropriate amount of sleep is vital for your overall mental health. Having adequate sleep is important if you want to cope with depression. If you find it difficult to sleep, try things such as reducing caffeine consumption or turning off your gadgets half an hour before bed. Learn relaxation techniques or use guided meditation to quiet the brain.
Another essential thing to consider while coping with depression is your diet. What you put in your body matters. Try to eat healthy food which contains all the nutrients. It is recommended to consume fresh and whole foods. Also avoid refined foods, carbonated drinks, high sugar intake, fried food, etc.
Avoid Alcohol, Smoking, Substance Abuse:Stay away from alcohol, smoking, and substance abuse. Alcohol or drugs may give you temporary relief, but it often paradoxically leads to more depression and stress
Nature is a good healer. It calms your body, relaxes your mind provides you healthy things such as fresh air, the smell of flowers, sunlight, etc. There is a strong connection between your overall well-being and nature. Therefore, try to spend time outside, sit or walk on the grass, enjoy flowers, etc. Also, don’t forget to take your daily intake of Vitamin D through sunlight. Vitamin D is vital for your health and its deficiency can also result in stress, anxiety, fatigue, etc.
Mindfulness:Mindfulness is an evidence-based depression treatment. It helps you overcome depression by enabling you to be in the present moment rather than dwelling in the past. Mindfulness reduces rumination by bringing your attention back to your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. When you become aware of your present moments, you get time to pause and consider instead of reacting automatically to your thoughts and feelings.
Practicing mindfulness daily is an effective way to cope with depression. You don’t have to do much, just start by practicing it for 5 minutes a day. Sit down, relax, and focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale. Thoughts will come and go, notice them, and let them pass by bringing your focus back to your breath.
Similarly, you can focus on your body sensations. There are many mindfulness exercises. You can also start by just being mindful of whatever you do in a day. For instance, while eating, notice the taste, texture, and smell of your food and so on. Mindfulness also works best with psychotherapies., or you can join mindfulness programs as well.
Social Connection:Connecting with people is also a healthy way to cope with depression. If you want help for depression, go to a friend’s house, or have a get together with your family. Social connection offers you opportunities to vent out pent up emotions along with providing different strategies on how people deal with such emotions. Moreover, you get time to go out, talk with someone, keeping aside your rumination, negative thoughts, and emotions associated with them. Joining different social groups can also help you cope with depression.
Conclusion:Depression is a serious mental health condition but fortunately, it is treatable. Identify the reasons behind depression and take baby steps towards dealing with it. Moving slowly but steadily helps you a lot in coping with depression. Contact a professional and seek help for depression. The sooner you get it treated, the better.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you are struggling with depression or other mental health issues and live anywhere in Texas, including San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Austin, For Worth, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, El Paso, or College Station, New Dimensions can help. Our Online Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs are designed to help adolescents and adults who need intensive treatment, but who don’t require inpatient hospitalization. New Dimensions also has onsite programming in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796. You can also visit our website at www.nddtreatment.com.
22 December, 2020