A common misconception about depression is that it is something people can just “snap out of.” Unfortunately, for those people who experience major depression disorder, it’s not that simple. Depression is a pervasive feeling. It’s almost as if you are in a black tunnel with no light. It drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Stop the Negative Self Talk
Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong they blame themselves and when they go right, they put it down to luck. Depression brings self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, it’s important to remind yourself that this is the depression talking. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes—known as cognitive distortions—aren’t realistic. Monitor your inner negative talk! Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Acknowledge the thoughts but this doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Keep a positive perspective. Often, they’re part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it.
When we hold a grudge against the people who made us felt bad, we are the ones who end up feeling the rage of anger. Most of the time, the person who hurt or offended you is now off living their own life. They’ve moved on, but it’s you who are holding on to that pain. Anger can be a hard emotion to deal with, but it is actually a natural human reaction to frustration. Getting angry may seem like it would only make you feel worse, but when you don’t deal with anger directly, you tend to turn it on yourself. They have may have caused you grief in the past, try not to allow that grief to continue – it only affects you, not them. Find a way to forgive – they are not worthy of your time. You can recognize and accept your anger in a healthy way that releases the emotion without allowing it to fester or be turned into an attack on yourself. Remember, forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the person being forgiven.
Mindfulness practices don’t change our feelings or thoughts, but they do change our relationship to our feelings and thoughts. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and is a skill that needs to be practiced. It doesn’t change our feelings or thoughts, but they do change our relationship to our feelings and thoughts. This enables a person who has a tendency toward depression to not get swept up in the thoughts and feelings that contribute to his or her depression. Researches indicate that if you teach people with recurrent depression mindfulness skills, such as meditation and breathing exercises, it reduces their chances of having another depressive episode.
Get Enough Sleep
Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse. Sleep and mood are closely connected. Inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom – no smartphones, Instagram, Facebook and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
Connect With People
When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate. Even reaching out to close family members and friends can be tough. Compound that with the feelings of shame and the guilt you may feel at neglecting your relationships. Don’t feel alone, social support is absolutely essential to depression recovery. Staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood/life. And if you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
Don’t give up
Depression can make you want to hide away from the world and disappear. It’s okay to take some time out but give yourself a time limit and then do something productive to improve your mood. Hang in there and keep the faith.
If you’ve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better! Seeing a Doctor & chat over any symptoms is a step in the right direction.