5 Ways To Overcome Depression
Dealing with depression can make you feel like you're fighting a losing battle. This isn’t true, and there are many proven ways to effectively counteract the symptoms you may experience.
The most common symptoms of depression include feeling:
- Emptiness, sadness, and anxiety that don’t go away with time
- Guilty or worthless, especially when remembering past mistakes or failures
- Despondent and believing nothing good will ever happen to you
- Constantly tired even after a good night’s sleep
- Either hungry all the time, or not hungry at all
If you have been diagnosed with or experience any of the symptoms above, this list may help you find ways to cope.
1. Build Supportive Relationships
It is vital to counteract the feelings of loneliness that accompany depression. By building solid relationships with friends and family members who positively influence your mental health, you may find the support necessary to shake off the negative emotions you are experiencing.
If developing close relationships seems daunting, try attending a social event or joining a support group. Often simply spending time with others, especially people who understand what you’re going through, may help end the feelings of isolation.
If human interaction is entirely off the table, a pet can provide a level of non-judgmental companionship few humans are capable of showing. Having a living creature relying on you can also help you feel needed and appreciated.1
2. Implement Achievable Lifestyle Changes
Getting into a healthy routine that focuses on self-care can hugely benefit your mental well-being. The three most important aspects of a balanced lifestyle include:
Find something that makes you feel good, like running, dancing, or swimming, and make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Better yet, get moving outside. Research shows sunlight can help boost your serotonin levels. As one of the happy hormones, serotonin is responsible for regulating your mood and encouraging emotional stability.
Although the proper diet won’t make depression disappear, a well-balanced diet and regular meals could make you feel better.
A deficiency of B-vitamins can at times trigger a depressive episode. Eating enough citrus, chicken, eggs, and leafy green vegetables or taking a B-complex supplement could help prevent this.
There is also some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids, found in most oily fish like salmon and tuna, could lessen the symptoms of depression, if only slightly.
Depression sometimes makes it difficult to sleep, while in other cases, it makes you want to do nothing but sleep.
It’s essential to build a routine around your sleeping habits and aim for an average of eight hours a day. Regular, restful sleep can reduce the feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and sadness that accompany depression.
To help improve your sleep quality, remove all distractions from your bedroom, and try to stay away from your phone, TV, or computer for at least an hour before bed.
3. Consciously Shut Down Negative Thoughts
It can be challenging, nearly impossible at times, but the human mind is an incredibly powerful organ and is very much capable of controlling its own line of thought.
Whenever the overwhelming feelings of guilt and unworthiness come, find something positive to focus on. It could be a proud or happy memory or something as simple as a joke your friend told you.
Consciously choose to stop any damaging tracks of thought and redirect them to a positive objective. Not only does this get you out of a bad headspace, but the feeling of power and control gained from shifting your train of thought is enormously beneficial.
4. Get the Right Medication
People with depression often discover that, although they are willing to try to cope with their condition, they rarely have the motivation to do so. In this case, a doctor may prescribe medication to help you get out of the rut.
To justify this, however, your symptoms must outweigh any possible side effects of the medicine provided.
Medications commonly prescribed or recommended for depression include:
- Antidepressants - Although they are sometimes portrayed negatively, when used responsibly and combined with positive lifestyle changes, they could finally provide the boost needed to turn your life around.2
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) act by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, thereby helping stabilize your emotions and end the rollercoaster depression sometimes puts you on.
- Natural supplements - Increasing your B-vitamin intake (especially vitamin B12) could help raise energy levels and prevent a depressive episode. At the same time, folic acid has also shown some benefits in reducing the symptoms of depression.
5. Seek Out Therapy
It is a good idea for anyone suffering from depression to seek out medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment if, after trying to cope with the illness, it seems to worsen. In this case, a mental health professional may suggest therapy to help deal with the condition’s underlying causes.
Options for mental health treatment programs include, amongst others:
- Individual therapy - Conducted individually, these sessions help individuals come to terms with and confront the factors contributing to their illness.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - Provides individuals with the self-awareness necessary to identify harmful thought patterns and opinions in their environment and relationships.
- Group therapy - Encouraging discussions within a supportive, judgment-free environment allows each individual to share their emotions and realize their condition does not have to isolate them.
- Recreation therapy - During which unbridled creativity encourages the individual to express their emotions without censorship and self-judgment.
Despite the proven effectiveness of these depression coping mechanisms, the list above was created for educational purposes only and certainly cannot substitute context-specific recommendations of a medical professional.
If you or someone you love suffers from depression, contact our hotline today at 855-414-8100 to get the professional help and treatment information you need.