Self help for depression? What can you really do to help yourself in coping with mild to moderate depression signs?
-First off, how do you really know if you are depressed? (11 common signs)
-Actually, there really are quite a few things that you can do to help yourself with your depression.
It doesn't involve anti-depression drugs either.
-The fact is, even with the endless medications that are in use today, it's very likely changes need to be made to modify, or perhaps even eliminate behavior that may have contributed to the depression in the first place.
What is the cause of your depression signs?
There are many answers to that question, but even mild depression is often rooted in an early childhood experience or trauma.
Although it can be important to know the exact cause, especially in a clinical depression, it's much more important to act on the result in a moderate or mild depression, and to take some action and break the cycle.
-What sort of self help for depression will work for you?
The following list can really help in coping with depression symptoms:
Number one by a wide margin, no big surprise.
-When you're thinking self help for depression, look no further than exercise. Physical exercise is being recognized more and more as one of the most successful treatments for depression there is.
When we are feeling depressed and under stress, we often lose sleep, feel tired, and subsequently stop any exercise program we may be doing. This is a big mistake. It just keeps the depression snowball rolling.
-Exercise is important for the release of endorphins, which are produced by the pituitary gland during strenuous exercise and helps to elevate our mood. (compares to opiates for pain relief and mood enhancement)
It doesn't have to be daily marathons either; short walks or other exercise totaling 30 to 40 minutes a day will go a long way in coping with depression.
-When "stuck" in a depression, exercise is usually the last thing we feel like doing. We'd much rather be moping around feeling miserable.
"The best thing to do in this case is to walk to the mailbox and back, walk to the corner store ....whatever it takes to get the ball rolling."
"Help for depression has to start somewhere, and it starts with you."
Baby steps, but keep building on them. Once you build up to 10-15 minutes at a time you'll feel better and want to do more. The causes of many depression signs are related to many physical ailments that are helped and often cured by our old friend .... exercise!
At least 6-8 hours of sleep every night, is another good way to help for depression. It's very important to recharge our bodies and brains.
-Take short naps if you need to. You'll be more productive, accomplish more and feel better doing it. Avoid too much sleep though as it can have the opposite effect, increasing the symptoms of depression.
Developing a healthy balanced diet is a great self help for depression.
-We've all heard it before, you are what you eat. Our bodies, including our brains, are nourished by the food we put in them. If we put good things in, we're much more likely to get the good results we're looking for.
4. Help someone
It may sound a little corny, but getting your mind off your own problems and dealing with the problems of a friend or family member can be extremely therapeutic.
-It is believed it gives off the same brain chemicals that elevate our mood during exercise, that make us feel so good. Often our own problems can seem trivial when compared to those of others. Helping someone through his or her crisis may be just the help you need to get through your own.
5. Don't isolate yourself
Let others help you with your problems. Spend as much time as possible with a trusted friend, counselor or clergyman, even a stranger. Talking with another about your troubles always helps, and more often than not, makes dealing with them much easier.
-It's a great self help for depression. Solutions may not be immediate, but talking it out is a step in the right direction and a good way to start replacing those negative thoughts with optimistic solutions.
Develop a support system with friends and family. Depression support groups can help you to stay active and involved in activities. The more active you are, the less time you have to worry about your problems that make you depressed.
7. Keep busy
Do what you know you enjoy. You may not feel like it, but this is very important in coping with depression signs. Go to a movie, a ballgame or other activity you enjoy.
-Clean out the car, organize your office. You'll find a certain satisfaction in accomplishing even the most mundane tasks.
Just going out and meeting friends, though it may be difficult, will improve your mood and help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
8. Set goals
Set easy to reach goals for yourself, start small and accomplish what you can at a pace you can maintain.
-Be patient with yourself, you'll get there. Keep a positive outlook.
-Laugh, like the "Humor Helps Everything" video we started with, laughter can truly be the best medicine, keep it in your life.
9. Keep a daily log:
When you are developing a plan around what you can do in coping with depression, remember that depression isn't an all-or-nothing situation.
-Keeping a diary or log of how you feel each day may sound simplistic and even silly, but you'll start to notice that there are shades of gray to your feelings and emotions, it's not always black and white.
Some days are definitely better than others. But by maintaining a daily record of anything that may "trigger" your depression signs as well as anything that makes you feel good, it can really help.
-Enjoy the good days and remember the things that made you feel good, so you can repeat them. Simple, but it works for many.
-You'll also be able to see what behaviors (and possibly whose) contributed to the bad days, thereby helping you to cope with them in the future.
-by learning to accept, and possibly by changing them.
Triggers for depression may be found to be environmental, interpersonal or physical/medical causes. Try sitting down and honestly evaluating what you feel and how you feel.
-Use a list to categorize the symptoms that make you believe you are depressed. For instance, you may be feeling constantly fatigued or emotionally drained, or may realize that your parent's or spouses expectations are somehow burdening you.
-Next, take one step to evaluate those issues as you continue your plan around what you might do to help yourself feel better. If you are constantly fatigued, get a physical exam to rule out a physical or medical cause.
-If your emotional fatigue is around a difficult relationship, you may want to investigate some assertiveness training. A long, honest talk with those concerned could clear up your perception of their expectations.
While it is certainly beneficial to self help for depression, it is also important to realize that it is sometimes necessary to get professional help.
-There is no shame in seeking treatment.
More self help for depression includes stopping, or at least reducing the constant rehashing we do every day about our problems.
-It's important to recognize what they are but it's more important to concentrate on a solution and how we might bring one about.
When you find yourself thinking too much, stop! Pick up a good book, better yet ....go for a short walk, it will clear your mind and lift your mood!
-Take action, people who are depressed tend to wallow in their problems. That inaction and helplessness can escalate until it can become an unbearable cycle.
Break the cycle of depression with action
What you can do to help yourself with your depression, involves several steps and you definitely have many options. Keep an open mind about what may or may not work for you, and move forward in a positive direction.
-Remember, depression increases with a lack of action. Movement of any kind, is movement toward a resolution and the happiness you deserve.
Stay optimistic, keep humor and laughter in your life as much as possible ....it just may be all the help you need.
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