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HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION

Updated: Jul 17

Depression is like a black hole that tends to suck you in. Good news is, there are ways to defeat it!


Are you feeling low most of the time? Not feeling like talking to somebody? Not going out and meeting people? Have you lost your interest in regular day to day activities? Do you not feel like eating and is there is a drastic change in your sleeping patterns? Are these changes happening for over six months or more? If yes, then you must be suffering from a clinical depression, but a treatable one.

Depression is a common illness worldwide.It is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.

Someone has rightly said, depression is like a black hole that sucks you in. You feel like you are drowning in an endless sea and there is no way out. But it is not true. There is always a way out. Globally 264 million people suffer from depression, but 75% of them recover and get back to their lives. We are not disregarding the fact that depression drains a person's energy and taking the first step is the hardest thing but this is the point where we have to take control of our emotions and get up.

So now let us discuss some ways to come out of depression:

Reach out and talk: Its difficult but not impossible. Remember the hardest first step, its this one. Depression may have distanced us from our dearest ones but now reach out to them, talk to them, explain to them how you feel, and you'll see the weight on your mind going down eventually.

Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; they just need to be a good listener, someone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.

Care for a pet: While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed, both powerful antidotes to depression.

Do things that give you happiness: This isn't difficult and it could be as small as buying flowers for oneself to taking care of a stray dog by bringing him home. There are a lot of things we can find around us which give us real time happiness.

Try and find out a new activity (or an older one which you've left) like reading a comic book, painting, gardening, listening music, dancing, art and craft, going out for a movie, eating junk food and alike. You have to make sure that the activity you pick should not add to your stress and is soothing and relaxes your mind.

Exercise and meditation: Exercise is a powerful depression fighter and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re well.

Plan a daily exercise and meditation routine. Start from a lesser time like 15 minutes daily and eventually increase it as per convenience. Meditation and several yoga techniques have proven to be very effective in elevating one's mood.

Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercise such as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancing where you move both your arms and legs.

Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you move such as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.

Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also helps to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.

Take a dog for a walk. If don’t own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself, but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.

Taking a healthy diet: good food improves our mental functioning. We always take our food for granted without fully understanding what wonders it can do to us. Not only for our physical health but a healthy food diet can improve our mental health.

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (such as certain meats).

Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.

Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.

Say yes to the sun: Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses (but never stare directly at the sun) and use sunscreen as needed.

Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy a good meal, or spend time gardening. Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend. Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.

Challenge negative thinking: While in depression, a lot of negative thoughts have taken control of your mind. Thoughts like, 'I am worthless', 'I am good for nothing', 'nobody loves me', 'this situation is hopeless', etc. make it worse for your mind. Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.

When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, it’s important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudes known as cognitive distortions aren’t realistic. When you really examine them they don’t hold up. But even so, they can be tough to give up. The trick is to identify the type of negative thoughts that are fueling your depression and replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.

Certain negative thoughts that worsen the situation are over generalizations, ignoring positive thoughts, jumping to conclusions,looking at things with black or white categories, emotional reasoning and labeling. Its very important to identify these thoughts and correct them then and there.

Seeking professional help: If you've tried all the above self-help strategies and still things are not getting better then it's time to go for a professional help. Seeking help from a counselor or a psychologist can be helpful. You just have to keep in mind one thing that depression is like any other illness and it can be treated and you can get back to your life like normal.

Counselors use certain therapies that helps in understanding one's mental state in a better way and making a whole of a situation which is into bits and pieces now.

One and foremost thing to keep in mind is that your emotions are in your hands and you can control them whatever way you like to. Our mind is what we shape it to be. Always surround yourself with positive thoughts and never allow negative thoughts to take control. It may look like it's not possible to come out of it but you can always fight it with a will to live.

References -

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

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

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