5 Ways to Deal with Depression
As written in 5 Ways to Tell if You Have Depression, depression can be a very debilitating emotion that affects our physical, emotional and mental health. One of the challenges with depression is that it can be hard to remember what it feels like to be happy, and so those who suffer from it can often accept it as the norm.
But this isn’t true – why dealing with depression can be difficult at times, it is possible to break free of it and remember a life worth living.
Here are five tips that can help in fighting depression:
1. Remember times when things were different. When were you last happy? When was the last time you had fun? What was different about those times to now? Sometimes, recreating events and reengaging in activities that made us happy can be a way to deal with depression, as those who suffer from it often withdraw from the things that gave their life meaning. Sometimes it may seem like an overwhelming thing to do, but it is an effort worth taking even if only in small steps.
2. Talk to someone. As mentioned above, people with depression frequently withdraw from the things that bring life, including the people from whom they need support. While people are often the cause of our hurts, it is also through relationships that we find healing. Talking about an issue brings it into perspective and stops it from festering inside. It frequently reduces the size of the issue and makes it seem more manageable. Talking also helps us face our fears and reduces a sense of loneliness that can encircle people with depression. Healthy relationships with people who are supportive are critical in the journey of rediscovering happiness.
3. Change your thinking. Be aware of what you say to yourself and ‘bounce’ thoughts that are negative, critical or hopeless. Actively replace them with positive thoughts, as they will foster confidence and a healthier attitude. Our thoughts are a huge influence on our attitudes and therefore on our actions, and sometimes its easy to forget that what we feel is not always true. For example, you may feel that your life is hopeless, but that is not necessarily the truth. As such, practice replacing ‘I feel’ statements with ‘I know’ statements. E.g. instead of saying to yourself, ‘I feel like my life has no meaning,’ state the truth, even if it doesn’t feel true. I.e.: ‘I know my life has meaning’. This may feel strange at first, but soon it will help to realign your thought patterns and help develop a more positive attitude.
4. Take care over yourself. Eating and exercise have repeatedly been proven to improve depression rates, as both help to relieve stress and increase health. Both can also increase your energy, help you to sleep, and reduce feelings of fatigue. Sunlight, eight-hours sleep and taking time to relax and have fun are also important. For more about stress relief, click here.
5. Remember, no one else is in charge of your happiness but you. Don’t waste time waiting for others to make you happy, or to treat you the way you think they should. People may leave you feeling angry, let-down or betrayed, but you can’t change them - you can only change your response to them. Your happiness is your responsibility, so make the changes you can and don’t wait for others to pick you up. You can choose to be happy now.
Depression can be a difficult battle to face, but it isn’t one you have to do alone. Don’t forget to seek medical help if and when you think you need it, and make sure you are linked in with a supportive group of friends. By making even small changes, the dark clouds will soon start to lift.