Breakup with your partner, loss of a loved one, failure in examination, loss of a job, or business failure are life events that are bound to produce grief for a few days. If this state persists longer than two weeks, then it is termed as depression. A feeling of bad mood with loss of desire to do routine activities like going out and meeting friends are some of the symptoms of depression. In today’s busy world with the declining importance of nurturing relationships and emotional attachments, depression may even compel one to attempt suicide. Here are some easy tips to follow of beating depression, nipping it right in the bud, without getting into the habit of popping a pill.
Ironically, when depressed, you actually need to force yourself to do exactly what you don’t feel like doing. You will soon find out, that’s where the trick lies. It may seem difficult in the beginning but as someone wise said, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’.
- Set a routine:
The most common mistake done by victims of depression is to pull the plug on routine activities that actually help to stay in touch with the ‘present’. The best way to stay in touch with reality and not spiral down is to set a small time table and try to stick to it as far as possible. This may include setting an alarm to wake up at a fixed time and making your own tea or coffee. Another option could be to take up some responsibilities like watering the plants or doing the dishes. These activities not only distract the thoughts leading to depression, but can also make you feel good about yourself for having done something useful. This simple habit can prove to behave like a precursor to getting into the previous routine.
- Get a helping hand:
What could be more rewarding than having a friend to pour your heart out to when you are feeling gloomy and sad? Depression itself creates a feeling of wanting to stay away and not talk to anybody. It is a known and proven fact that a chat with friends or a family member works much better than any anti-depressant in this world. Often, what stops one from doing so, is the embarrassment of having to reveal that he or she is actually suffering from depression. You can trust that all of us at some point or other have either gone through some degree of depression or have cared for someone going through it. So, pick up your phone and connect with anyone within reach. After all, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’. Ask a woman the therapeutic value of chit-chat!
- Get going:
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. Just allow yourself to do all that you have always wanted to do. It is worth it. Taking up an activity that involves the use of the entire body like an exercise makes a huge difference to the mood. This exercise could be swimming, cycling, running, dancing or for that matter plain walking in the local park or your building compound. Just taking the dog out for a walk can do wonders for the mood. Dancing is a wonderful therapy to increase the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters that give a ‘feel-good’ factor. These rhythmic activities help release endorphins which are responsible for a feeling of happiness. If the depression isn’t allowing any such vigorous activity, simple relaxation methods like yoga can do exactly the same. Just let your body loose!
- Train the mind:
This might sound like a mammoth task! The train of thoughts of a human mind is said to be faster than any high speed bullet train in the world. How can one control it? Difficult, but not impossible. When in depression, it is very common to have the mind flooded with all sorts of negative thoughts. It becomes very important to tell your mind that nothing is black or white and overgeneralization will never help. Nothing changes when we tell ourselves that the world is bad and this is the end. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Every time a negative thought pops up, let it be counter acted by a positive one. One need not live up to the high standards set by self all the time. The rules of life that we make for ourselves rule us and lead to a situation of self imposed stress. Listening to positive speeches or talking to a positive person can make it easier to train the mind to be optimistic and hopeful.
- Feed your mind the right food:
In a healthy body resides a healthy mind. There is not enough stress that can be laid on keeping away from caffeine, alcohol, and saturated fats. Say no to sugars, candies, canned foods, and aerated drinks. Indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of water. Baked potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal boost serotonin, the deficiency of which is the major cause of depression. Bananas contain magnesium essential for the function of tryptophan from which serotonin is produced. Spinach contains folate which helps decrease agitation and improves sleep. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can worsen depression, so eggs and chicken can be of great help here. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna are very good mood elevators.
These self help tips can benefit a great deal if followed sincerely, but do not forget that medical help should be sought if symptoms don’t seem to respond. There is no shame in wanting to take medications to deal with depression. These self help ways will aid in reducing and stopping those anti-depressants after a short period. Your mind ought to stay healthy so that the body can be use for a higher purpose, a happier life.