Do an internet search for “overcoming depression”. You’ll quickly notice the suggestions make it sound so simple- change your thinking, change your mood and kaboom! Depression is magically gone, right? But overcoming depression is not something you can accomplish in the blink of an eye, and it’s highly unlikely a google search will lead you to a sudden relief. Depression is a serious illness that affects millions of people every year. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with depression that leads many people never to seek treatment for it. Sadly, there are so many misconceptions about depression and its treatment.
Depression is a serious illness that affects millions of people every year. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with depression that leads many people never to seek treatment for it. Sadly, there are so many misconceptions about depression and its treatment.
What is Depression?
If you’re reading this article, it’s highly likely you or someone close to you is suffering. If you are suffering, reading a long article isn’t going to be your cup of tea so we will keep this brief. Depression is not the occasional blues; it is a tireless feeling of overwhelming sadness that can last for at least two weeks, and usually much longer. Depression is the loss of pleasure in life’s activities, feeling run down and an unusual lack of energy. Those with clinical depression will have trouble eating and sleeping as well. There is a tremendous sense of hopelessness for those who experience depression- it is impossible to believe that things will ever, ever get better. It is not a surprise that someone with depression can’t see overcoming it. It is not just the blues; it feels like the world has turned gray -permanently.
What Steps Can You Take?
- Distract Yourself
If possible, do your best to distract yourself from over thinking. With depression, your number one enemy is your thoughts. Take your dog for a walk, read a book, work on a puzzle, or find a favorite television show. Do anything that can take your mind off of your worries. Keeping busy is an effective way to overcome depression.
- Take Baby Steps
There’s a reason that most therapists suggest taking it slow when trying to treat depression. If you feel good one day, and decide to seek to start a new business or make a new friend, and you fail, it could be a significant setback in overcoming depression. Instead, try things out slowly, save the leaps for when you’re feeling fully recovered.
- Use Touch
Science proves that touch therapies can help some overcome depression, lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Therapies to consider include acupuncture, acupressure, massage, and reflexology.
- Include Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
Studies show that most with depression lack a fatty acid known as EPA. Taking an omega supplement or increasing your intake of omega-3s through walnuts, flax seeds, and fish can help with symptoms of depression such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive.
It is harder to exercise when you have depression because of the lack of energy, but it has proven benefits by its release of endorphins. Even a brisk walk three or four days a week will provide a lift to your mood.
- Be a Hall Monitor for Your Negative Self-Talk
It is no fault of your own that the world is viewed in a negative way, depression is to blame. Depression reinforces self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. When things go wrong, don’t blame yourself. Monitor your negative inner talk and make allowances for negative thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. You can acknowledge the thoughts, but it doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Those who do seek help usually do from their family doctor. Although it is great to ask for help, it is important to remember that family physicians and primary care physicians aren’t specialists in mental health treatment — psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are. So seek a referral to one immediately if you are one of the many who is suffering from dark depression.