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Coping with Depression

Get moving

Regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms and prevents a relapse.

  • Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic: walking, weight training or swimming.
  • Add a mindfulness element. Focus on how your body feels as you move.
  • Pair up with an exercise partner. 
  • Take a dog for a walk. You can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. 

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Coping with Depression

Coping with Depression

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm

helpguide.org

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Key Ideas

Reach out and stay connected

You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking

Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. 

How to reach out for support

  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. They just need to be a good listener.
  • Make face-time a priority. Talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Find ways to support others. 
  • Caring for a pet can get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed.
  • Join a support group for depression. 

Do things that make you feel good

Do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

Support your health

  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.
  • Keep stress in check. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out, and find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.
  • Practice relaxation techniques daily.

Get moving

Regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms and prevents a relapse.

  • Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic: walking, weight training or swimming.
  • Add a mindfulness element. Focus on how your body feels as you move.
  • Pair up with an exercise partner. 
  • Take a dog for a walk. You can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. 

Eat a depression-fighting diet

Foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood: caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (such as certain meats).

  • Don’t skip meals. 
  • Minimize sugar and refined carbs. 
  • Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. 
  • Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. 

Get a daily dose of sunlight

Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. 

Get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. 

Challenge negative thinking

Do you feel like you’re powerless or weak? That your situation is hopeless?

These types of thoughts aren’t realistic. When you really examine them they don’t hold up. Identify the type of negative thoughts that are fueling your depression, and replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.

Question your thoughts

Ask yourself:

  • “What’s the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?”
  • “What would I tell a friend who had this thought?”
  • “Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?"

Get professional help for depression

If you’ve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. 

Depression can be treated and you can feel better.

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Understand the common triggers. Once you understand which one is behind your depression, you can better learn how to cope with depression.

Feelings of loss, “less than” and “never going to happen” are the major reasons that most people dip into depression. Loss can result from a loved one dying or losing a job; feelings of “less than” can be triggered by comparing yourself to others you view as having more than you and “never” occurs when you start believing that your goals and dreams are completely out of reach. 

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Many of those trying to find ways to deal with depression have formed limiting beliefs that negatively affect how they think.

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Be Active

It's a physiological fact that activity fights depression. 

Get your heart rate up 20 minutes a day, five days a week, and it has been scientifically proven that you will feel better emotionally.

Even just getting out of the house for a walk, a game of catch with your kids, or a trip to the gym is a medically proven method of improving the way you feel.

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How depression is measured

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). 

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Many leading scientists believe the whole idea that depression is caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain is wrong. 

There are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are unfolding all around us. Two are biological, and seven are out in here in the world, rather than sealed away inside our skulls.

Childhood trauma can cause depression

When you’re a child, you have very little power to change your environment. So, you have two choices.

  1. You can admit to yourself that you are powerless and there’s simply nothing you can do about it.
  2. You can tell yourself it’s your fault and at some strange level under your control. If you were responsible for being hurt, then at some level, you have to think you deserved it.

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