by Sarah Lockwood
Psychologists and other professionals in the mental health community emphasize that people who suffer from Depression cannot simply “snap out of it.” While such advice is usually well-intentioned, it’s can also be misguided, as people with clinical depression don’t have that level of control over their illness.
While seeking the help of a qualified mental health professional is preferred, there are some strategies that you can use to deal with depression on your own.
Learn to Recognize Negative Self-Talk and Challenge These Thoughts
Many people challenged with depression have unhealthy, negative thoughts about themselves and the world around them. They may quickly dismiss themselves with statements like, “Everyone hates me,” or “I’m ugly.” Likewise, their view of the world may seem bitter or hopeless. This is where self-awareness and the ability to recognize these thoughts is important.
Once you learn to identify these thoughts, you can begin to challenge them by asking yourself a series of questions: “What do I know that contradicts this thought? What would I say to a friend in a similar situation?” Imagining a friend or family member in your situation may give better, objective insight, and hopefully ease you into positive self-talk. Challenging your negative views can help you think about situations in different ways.
Make a Habit of Reaching Out to Family and Friends
When depression rears its ugly head, you’re likely to isolate yourself from those close to you. When you feel the symptoms of depression starting to take over, commit to reaching out to a family member or friend to talk it out.
A 10-minute walk can provide as much benefit as a 45-minute workout
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It may seem easier to keep to yourself, rather than share thoughts and feelings with someone. But staying wrapped up in your own thoughts can lead to harmful, possibly destructive behavior. Depression that reaches this level can lead to unhealthy addictions or suicidal thoughts and actions. Making an effort to talk with people close to you can prevent a lot of pain and struggle for yourself and those involved in your life.
Make a Commitment to Regular Exercise
It may seem impossible to muster up the motivation to head to the gym or pop in a workout DVD, but exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do to beat your depression.
“For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They may also serve to improve mood,” explains an article in Harvard Health Publications. “Another theory is that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may directly improve mood.”
Endorphins improve immunity, reduce perception of pain & may serve to improve mood
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The activity does not even have to be intense. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that a 10-minute walk can provide as much benefit as a 45-minute workout. The effects may be temporary – lasting several hours following a workout, for instance – but regular exercise can help to combat the symptoms of depression before they start.
These are just a few of many self-help strategies that can help you beat the symptoms of depression. A single strategy may not be the ultimate solution, but relying on a combination of positive habits and techniques can go a long way.
Sarah Lockwood is a concerned parent and former social worker. Having worked with the public for decades and after watching her own daughter struggle with addiction, Sarah knows all too well the devastation that can be caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Sarah’s daughter is now in recovery, but her experiences with substance abuse inspired Sarah to get involved with ThePreventionCoalition.org. She plans to spread awareness and support through her work for others dealing with addiction. While Sarah devotes a lot of time to the Coalition, she makes sure to relax and enjoy the small things in life, as every day is a gift.
Image via Pixabay by johnhain
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