Tap Into Your Spirituality
Religion can be an impactful source of support for many people dealing with depression, but there is no need to join a church, synagogue, or mosque unless you wish to. Simple daily practices such as meditation or adding to a list of things you’re grateful can help boost mood and overall well-being.
Meditation can have a range of beneficial effects such as lowering stress levels and helping people to become more aware of their thoughts and reactions.
Research indicates that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy , which combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness meditation, can be helpful in treating depression and preventing future relapses of symptoms.
Studies also suggest that different types of mindfulness meditative practices can also be effective in the treatment of depression.
There are many different types of meditation, but you can get started with a simple meditative exercise with these steps:
Get A Handle On Stress
Stress can drive up levels of a brain chemical called cortisol, which has been found to be higher in folks with depression. There are lots of strategies for coping with stress, such as time management, meditation, and biofeedback training.
Some stress-relieving activities that you might want to incorporate into your daily life include:
- Deep breathing: A few minutes to slow your breathing and focus your attention on your body in the moment can help you get a better handle on your worries.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is a great way to blow off steam.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: This process involves intentionally tightening muscles throughout the body, holding that tension for several counts, and then releasing that tension until the muscles are completely relaxed. With regular practice, you may be able to learn how to intentionally relax your body fairly quickly whenever you are feeling tense.
Learning to manage your stress takes time and practice. Talk to your doctor or therapist about other strategies you might try to minimize the stress and your response to it.
Exercise: Ties Between Your Mind And Body
Yeah, we knowâhitting the gym is the last thing you want to do when youâre feeling depressed, but developing an exercise routine offers a constructive form of distraction and can help improve your symptoms in the long run . Research suggests that getting thirty minutes of exercise three times a week can help manage symptoms of depression and prevent future relapses.
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Talk To A Friend Or Family Member
We cant say it enough: dont go through depression on your own. Find someone you trust and share what you are going through. Talking about your experience can help you process. Plus, talking to a friend or family member can give them a chance to share resources that can help even more.
Create A Morning Routine
Having a morning routine is a great way to add structure into our lives.
For example, a morning routine could look like:
Unless you are expecting an important message, it can be helpful to delay looking at your phone, as its a tempting distraction that can take up our time and interfere with staying on task.
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Have A Serving Of Fruit Or Veggies With Breakfast
A healthy diet is key to fighting depression and fruits and vegetables are often overlooked by lots of guys.
This could mean adding some berries or a banana to oatmeal, cereal or waffles, having an apple with peanut butter, making a smoothie, enjoying chopped veggies and hummus, or eating ants on log .
Adding this habit to breakfast or an early snack helps us start the day by knocking off a simple to do as part of a daily healthy diet.
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Walk Regularly To Help Ease The Blues
Simply putting one foot in front of the other may be the trick to feeling better thats because walking is an aerobic exercise thats suited for almost everyone. All it takes is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes, and youre ready to go.
Practical wisdom suggests that doing something is better than doing nothing in terms of physical activity, says Muzina. If depression has made you sedentary, start off slowly and gradually increase time and distance, he advises.
Hafeez agrees. If you set too high of expectations, you may self-blame and feel guilty if you dont meet those expectations. Set expectations that are realistic, such as going on a five-minute walk, she explains.
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Why Seeing A Professional Can Be A Game
Were not being hyperbolic when we say that working with a pro can be life-changing. Professionals are trained to assess your unique challenges and tailor an action plan based on those needs.
Not sure if you need to see someone? Greenbaum says if depression symptoms are interfering with your functioning at work, school, or in your relationships, its time to consider professional help.
Its common to be nervous about going to therapy or trying meds for the first time, but both can be extremely efficient and effective at getting you back to a balanced state.
Three common mental health providers people see for depression are psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.
- Psychiatrists. These are medical doctors who can prescribe psych medications. They are most focused on drug-based solutions.
- Psychologists. These folks have doctoral-level training, earning a PsyD or PhD. They provide psychotherapy, can conduct psychological assessments, and can prescribe some medications.
- Therapists. This category includes a variety of professionals that provide psychotherapy, including social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists. The majority are masters level.
There are many ways to find a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, including searching online or asking your PCP for referrals. Find an expert who matches your needs and values, such as an anti-racist therapist or an LGBTQIA+ friendly therapist.
Exercise To Pump You Up
Regular physical activity might not be the first thing your doctor prescribes when they diagnose you with depression. However, maybe it should be part of your therapy.
A Duke University study found that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week was as effective at relieving symptoms of depression in the short term as antidepressant medication.
The study also found that depression was less likely to return in people who continued to exercise after the initial trial.
Depression can make you feel disconnected from the things you love. It also can cause fatigue and sleep problems. Unwinding can have a positive effect on your mood.
Relaxation techniques include:
- promote relaxation and emotional wellness
Though more research is necessary, some studies, including studies by the University of Westminster, show that yoga may be beneficial for improving depression symptoms.
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Healing From Depression The 6 Proven Non
Depression steals people. So far, despite the colossal investment of resources, there is still no reliably effective treatment. What we know for sure is that antidepressants just arent working. According to Dr Stephen Ilardi, respected psychologist, university professor and author of The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs, antidepressants only have about a 50% success rate. Out of the people who do find relief, half of them will relapse, taking the actual recovery rate to 25%. Then there are the side effects, such as emotional blunting, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
When antidepressants fail to deliver, the hopelessness that lies at the heart of depression becomes even more brutal. If we could immunise ourselves and the people we love against depression, wed be lining up. There is no immunisation, but a growing body of research is finding that there are ways to protect ourselves from depression and alleviate any existing symptoms, particularly for mild to moderate depression.
Its about certain lifestyle factors six of them and the difference they can make to each of us, depressed or otherwise, is phenomenal. The claims may sound extravagant, but science is proving them over and over. The evidence is too compelling for us not to take notice.
Take A Hot Bath Or Shower
Theres something about sinking into a hot bath or shower that can make it feel like your troubles are literally being washed away.
In fact, theres some research that suggests baths as self-care may have real therapeutic effects. One study found that bathing in hot water 2 times a week for 4 weeks decreased depression symptoms in people with moderate depression.
There are some long-term things you can do to try to alleviate depression, too. This isnt an exhaustive list, just an idea of the kinds of things that help some people.
Develop A Wellness Toolbox To Deal With Depression
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. The more tools for coping with depression you have, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from people you love and trust, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
Research has shown that keeping a journal can be a beneficial add-on method for managing mental health conditions.
Writing down your thoughts can help you express what youre feeling more clearly. It can also help you keep track of what symptoms youre having each day and identify what causes them.
You can make a goal to write for a few minutes each day or week. Most importantly, what you want to write about is completely up to you.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain.
Research shows doing new things can feel rewarding improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
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. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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Keep Up With Household Chores And Clean Up After Yourself
When we spend less time caring for the space we are living in, it can translate into us caring less about ourselves.
Some guys only clean up when they have guests coming over, but we need to value ourselves just as much as others. We can take pride in cleaning up our living space for ourselves
- One example is to set up a routine where you vacuum once at the start of each week, or clean your bathroom and bedroom every Sunday, etc.
Volunteering Can Be A Great Way To Do Both
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
Bonus: People who volunteer experience physical benefits, too. This includes a
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St Johns Wort: A Possible Herbal Solution
St. Johns wort is a popular herbal treatment for depression in Europe. American physicians are more divided about its usefulness.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine , St. Johns wort doesnt appear to be effective in treating major depression. But it may benefit people with mild-to-moderate forms.
St. Johns wort may have serious interactions with medications, herbs, and supplements. To be safe, always consult your doctor before taking it.
Meditation: Practice Makes Perfect
How many times have you heard that itâs all in your head? While not particularly helpful, this statement isnât necessarily untrueâafter all, depression is a mental health condition.
Many people who struggle with depression find meditation to be a helpful coping mechanism, and this might be because it cuts straight to the source: your head. In addition to being an effective stress-management tool, meditation has been shown to produce physical changes in parts of the brain that are directly associated with depression.
According to Harvard Health, âThe aim of meditation is not to push aside stress or block out negative thinking, but rather to notice those thoughts and feelings, all the while understanding that you don’t have to act on them. This could be as simple as closing your eyes and repeating a single phrase or word, or counting breaths.â
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Aerobic Exercise Appears To Help Alleviate Depressive Symptoms Experts Say
Exercise isnt a depression cure-all theres no such thing. But plenty of research has shown that exercise can reduce or even prevent symptoms of depression.
Among people with depression and similar health conditions, exercise appears to have substantial mental health benefits. For instance, a review published online in August 2019 in the Journal of Neurology found that exercise can significantly improve depressive symptoms and quality of life when used as an add-on therapy to usual treatment and the more exercise, the better, researchers noted.
Earlier, a large study published in January 2018 in TheAmerican Journal of Psychiatry concluded that engaging in physical activity of any intensity for at least one hour each week could prevent 12 percent of future cases of depression.
What makes a fitness routine an excellent addition to your depression treatment plan? There are likely multiple factors. Biologically, exercise can increase certain chemicals in the brain that can help form new brain cells and new connections between brain cells.
In addition to the direct effects exercise has on the brain, other physical changes that occur with exercise, such as cardiovascular fitness and improved metabolic health, promote brain health indirectly.
If you need help becoming more active or if you simply want to try new activities, here are seven great exercises that can help ease depression symptoms.
Why Is Dealing With Depression So Difficult
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
Its the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something thats difficult and something thats impossible. While recovering from depression isnt quick or easy, you do have more control than you realizeeven if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have much energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one, for example.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hourslong enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, youll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
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