Depression is very different from just feeling unhappy, and it can be quite debilitating.
There’s usually a reason for unhappiness like being rejected or not getting the job you were after, but depression is different, in that it’s more of an overall feeling of hopelessness. Unfortunately, resolving depression isn’t as simple as telling someone to “snap out of it” (which is offensive, so don’t do it), but there are ways to overcome the symptoms of sadness and depression.
1. Listen to Music You Love
I’ve always thought of music as food for the soul. Listening to music you like, regardless of the genre can instantly change your mood and your outlook, creating a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.
2. Stay in the Present
A mind that’s depressed can be a mind that worries about all that could go wrong in the future, and doesn’t so much think about what things are going well at that very moment.
This negative thought pattern reinforces distress and is not helpful in overcoming depression. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and is a skill that needs to be practiced. For some, thinking and stressing about the future is second nature. Practice keeping your thoughts and your senses in the moment. Every time your mind begins to stray to tomorrow, or next week, gently reign it in to the right now. This minute. Not even 20 minutes from now…right NOW.
Regular exercise has positive aspects that aren’t just physical. Exersize is also effective in helping to overcome depression. It releases endorphins, which improve natural immunity and improve mood. Besides lifting your mood, regular exercise offers other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease, cancer and boosting self-esteem.
Experts advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking at least three to four times per week.
4. Include Foods Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
Research shows that those dealing with depression often lack a fatty acid known as EPA.
Participants who took part in a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry took just a gram of fish oil each day and noticed a 50-percent decrease in symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Get omega-3’s through walnuts, flax seed and oily fish like salmon or tuna.
5. Speak Only Positive Things
When you’re depressed, you tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong, people who’re depressed blame themselves and when they go right, they chalk it up to luck. Depression reinforces self doubt and feelings of unworthiness.
Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. Try to think positively when you feel your mind wandering to the dark side.
Don’t take your negative thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Change those negative thoughts to positive ones wherever possible.
6. Try to Be Patient
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to see the negative in everything and find it harder to get and stay balanced about what is really going on. Again, try to switch those thoughts to positive ones wherever possible. Acknowledge that your thinking doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s actually going on at this moment. It’s definitely distorted when you’re depressed. This very thought can provide some comfort when your thoughts wander to the dark side. Remind yourself that things aren’t actually the way they seem, and you won’t always feel this way. Be patient and do your best to look after yourself in the meantime. Eat well and get an adequate amount of sleep.
7. Use More Light
In some cases, depression can be caused by something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is known for causing low mood in some people over the winter months when there is less sunlight.
If this is your case, investing in and utilizing a sunlamp, a 300 watt bulb within three feet for 20 minutes, three times a day can help. SAD symptoms can include problems sleeping, anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue, apathy and loss of libido, and using light can help to overcome depression and these other symptoms.
8. Connect with Friends
This can be one of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling depressed, but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Force yourself to go out. Isolating oneself from others may seem like a good idea, but put a time limit on it, and then get out there and socialize again. This can have a huge positive effect on your mood.
9. Stick With It
Depression can make you want to hide away from the world. It’s okay to take some time out to hibernate, but give yourself a time limit and then do something productive to improve your mood. Depression can be managed (I know this from personal experience) and there can be a wonderful life afterward. Hang in there and keep the faith.
Although the above suggestions can be effective, but depression that lasts a long time should be further investigated, and seeing a Doctor to chat over any symptoms is a big step in the right direction.