What to Do If You Are Depressed

There is more to depression than feeling sad or the occasional not-into-doing-anything state. Depression is a mood disorder that interferes with your will to live in regard to finding meaning out of living. It is a mental state characterized by pessimism, insecurity, disinterest, despair, anger, and indecision.

Sadness is a normal emotion. It is part of being human. On the other hand, persistent sadness is not healthy for your mind. Similarly, anxiety is a healthy emotion. It is a source of awareness of impending danger and the force behind motivation and excitement. However, being in a constant anxious state is detrimental to your health.

Disruptions in the brain’s neural circuits, which regulate emotion, mood, and anxiety responsiveness are responsible for the unhealthy symptoms observed in depression. Despite these alterations, there are practical ways to help you manage your emotions. You do not have to go through life in low spirits.

Here is what you can do to get yourself out of feeling the blues

Instead of Repression, Learn to Regulate Your Emotions Positively

One characteristic of depression is suppressing emotion. Pushing away uncomfortable and overwhelming experiences instead of confronting them does not lead to a healthy resolve. Your mind tends to regurgitate repressed emotions. The term for this phenomenon is called the rebound effect. According to a study analyzing the effects of thought suppression, the rebound effect increases anxiety, hopelessness, and helplessness.

Furthermore, withholding emotions has social consequences. It keeps you from maintaining or forming healthy relationships because you cannot express your true feelings and thoughts. Instead of avoiding your thoughts and emotions, here are healthy ways to express your sentiments.

  • Practice meditation, controlled breathing, and other self-soothing practices to help you organize your mind before expressing yourself. Lashing out in anger is equally destructive as emotional suppression
  • Acknowledge your emotions. If you do not push your emotions, they will not push back. Get comfortable around them. Find out what they are communicating and sort it out.
  • Understand yourself. Find out what triggers you to suppress your emotions and look for a solution. Know your weakness and strengthen yourself.

Avoid Negative Thoughts

Negative thinking not only causes depression but also persists in depression. The self-defeating thoughts can be from intrusive memories from traumatic experiences, fears, low-self-esteem, and worry. Mulling over past incidences hinders your ability to face the present and future. Instead,
  • Know your triggers. Triggers are the causative agents that lead you down the path of self-hate and pessimism. Depending on what they are, you can confront or avoid them. For instance, you can learn to say no to thoughts diminishing your self-worth.
  • Find distractions. When the downward cascade of negativity begins, keep your mind from indulging by listening to music, taking a walk, reading a book, or meditating.
  • Question your thinking. Negative thinking is often based on irrational assumptions like letting your emotions determine your perspective. Similarly, do not let your thoughts linger between two extremes. The phenomenon is known as a false dichotomy. There are unlimited choices and thought processes. Reason it out and apply logic in your deliberation.
  • Surround yourself with positive-minded people. The company you keep influences your thoughts. Stay with people who have a positive outlook on life.
  • Avoid overgeneralization or prematurely jumping to conclusions. It leads to misinterpretation of emotion, intention, and behavior.
  • Remove negative mental filters. Instead of seeing all the mistakes or potential failures, see the positive and learn from the negative. Take each outcome as an opportunity for growth.

Embrace Activity

The depressive mood exacerbates inactivity. Simple activities of daily living like grooming, eating, grocery shopping become cumbersome and impossible to accomplish. Idleness is a vicious trap. It is made worse by lethargy - another symptom of depression. Depressive fatigue interferes with your cognition and emotional and physical functioning. You get tired to simply think.

Lack of activity eventually gets to other aspects of your health. A study on the impact of inactivity in depression concluded that it increased the risk of a heart attack for patients predisposed to the condition because of sedentary living.

Here are some activities you can do to fill up your days.

  • Exercise - physical activities not only clears your mind but also improves your cardiovascular health. Go for that daily jog or walk.
  • Pick up a hobby - hobbies are excellent distractions, esteem builders, and positive-thinking reinforcers. They shift your focus from pain and misery to mastery and enjoyment. Therefore, take that hike, travel, climb mountains, or learn that instrument.
  • Volunteer to a meaningful cause - one way to broaden your perception of life is to help others having a worse off reality than yours. It breeds gratitude and contentment.

Stay in Touch with Your Friends and Loved Ones

Another sign of depression is loneliness. There is a massive difference between being alone and loneliness. You could be the life of the party and still be lonely. Loneliness in depression is steered by feelings of inadequacy, self-hate, and self-pity. You bottle up your emotions and put up a facade for the crowd, but deep down, you feel like a fraud.

Instead of giving in to your desire to isolate, both physically and emotionally

  • Keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Reach out to them and engage. Being around loved ones releases serotonin and oxytocin, feel-good hormones that enhance bonding. It also gives you the feeling of belonging and inhibits hormones that sustain depressive moods. 
  • Find new acquaintances from your newly acquired hobbies. Your participation in sports, group hikes, musical events are opportunities to find meaningful connections with other human beings.
  • Fight the urge to isolate. Remember, the fuel behind this feeling is perceived and not reality.

Consult a Therapist

You do not need to fight alone. You need as much help as you can get to overcome depression. Reach out to a therapist to hold your hand through your journey. A psychologist or therapist has the resources and expertise you need to get you to a healthy frame of mind. The mental health practitioner will empower you to find your footing. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression left untreated has far worse consequences. Therefore, find help today.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you are struggling with depression, New Dimensions can help.  New Dimensions has Online Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs for adolescents and adults who are struggling with mental health issues.  Our programs are open to anyone who resides within the State of Texas, including Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, or College Station.  We also have in-person Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs in Katy, The Woodlands, and Houston, Texas.  To learn more about our programs, visit us at www.nddtreatment.com or contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

08 February, 2021

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