15 Simple Steps Towards Overcoming Depression
There are many reasons why a person may develop depression. For some, it can be reactive to an adversity, a trauma, a death or experiencing extreme stress in life. Whereas for others, it can develop, even if things are going well.
At this time of year, it is not unusual for people to develop SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. This type of depression usually starts when there is a change in season affecting the amount of daylight occurring during the day. Most bouts of depression last from a few weeks to several months, but there are also cases where depression can become chronic and return over and over throughout one's life.
There is a huge difference between feeling depressed; which can happen when you lose a job or break-up with a partner, and being in a clinical depression. Clinical depression is a pervasive feeling of sadness, helplessness and powerlessness. Someone once described it as "feeling like you are in a grave and someone is continually throwing dirt in to cover you, there is a small bit of light, but you feel like you are smothering". Hope disappears and the things you used to enjoy are now energy-draining and a chore.
Gaining back control by taking action over even a small aspect of your life, can be a very powerful step to take towards getting out under the black cloud of despair. Even though you may feel a lack of energy and motivation to move, committing to becoming persistent and determined to heal, will get you started on the path to recovery.
I hope this article will help you or your loved one see that there are steps you can take that can help ease you out of depression, or at least lessen the severity of the symptoms. Please remember that it will get better and never give up. there is always hope.
"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." Thomas Edison
Steps to overcome depression
- Breathing exercises work great to help you feel relaxed and grounded.
- Listening to upbeat music, watching a funny show, or petting your dog or cat - these small actions can make a difference.
- Be conscious of your negative self-talk. Just because you are thinking it, doesn't mean it is true.
- Distract yourself - speak with positive people, finish a puzzle, sing a song, watch a funny movie.
- Plan an activity to get yourself out of the house; it could be going to a movie, a walk in the country, going to a museum, or aquarium, seeing friends, going to the gym, or taking a yoga class.
- Pay attention to the gifts you have in your life today. Who cares about you? What about your family, your home, your friends, your car, your health, remembering past happy times. What is going right in your life right now?
- Sit out in the sun. If there is no sun, use more light - sitting in front of a sunlamp - 300 watt bulb has been found to help depression
- Keeping busy, but not too busy. Clean up one shelf on your bookcase, or donate old clothes to a shelter.
- Exercise is an excellent way to improve your mood. It releases endorphins which improves the mood. Going for a 15 minute walk, 3 times a week will help to energize and uplift you.
- Set up a routine. Make it simple. Break tasks down into small components. Use a timer. Set it for 10 minutes, and then stop whatever you are doing and notice the progress you have made. Think in terms of baby steps.
- Write down your thoughts in a journal. Writing down your feelings will help get them out of your mind and put them down on paper. This should give you some release and relief.
- Get support. Talking with an understanding person, getting counselling, spending time with good friends, or reaching out to someone who cares; can make a big difference.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep and mood are closely connected. You will feel more energized in the morning and in better spirits. Allow yourself to take a nap during the day.
- Let it go. If you are having angry and bitter thoughts about friends or family; these negative feelings are hurting you; more than them. They have forgotten about it already. You are allowing these toxic thoughts to fuel your anger and depression. It's not about forgiving them, it's about releasing those angry thoughts and resentments so you can heal.
- Get out in nature. Go to a park, walk your dog, go for a drive and watch the changing leaves, sit near a lake. Being in nature can feel very healing.
- Accept help. So many people have told me how medication has "saved their lives". While no one wants to take medication at first, sometimes you just have to accept that, for now, you can't do it all alone.
- Be patient. Depression didn't take over your life in one day. Usually it has come gradually over weeks or months. It will take time to get back your energy, motivation and clarity of mind but know it will come back and these steps can help you feel more in control, more powerful and decrease the time you need to heal.
Try these tips out for yourself, you have nothing to lose but an end to this heavy, black cloud that has been engulfing you.
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