Many people fluff it off, but depression can be serious.
All of us experience depression from time to time. Thing happen that make us sad, and it is a normal part of the experience of living to suffer and struggle through difficult times. Depression can happen at any age, and may arise from a variety of circumstances. It can be the result of an even such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or an unexpected hardship. It can also come from inherent genetic conditions that may effect a persons basic brain chemistry.
Medical help may be necessary, but many people are able to self-regulate their experience of depression and anxiety. Here are a few things that may help.
1. Take Long Walks
Taking a walk will give you time to think outside of your primary living and working spaces. Since so much stress can be wrapped up in our environments, sometimes getting away for a few moments can really help. While outside of your home or office, you may feel you have the space you need to evaluate your situation and what might help it improve. Taking break from the regular places you spend time in can free your mind of the distractions which interfere with discovering solutions to problems. Taking a long walk is simultaneously good exercise, and will help with blood circulation and improve your general health if done regularly. If you walk during the day, it will also help increase helpful sun exposure which has been shown to improve mood. Many people also find that time spent in nature helps them to relax and enjoy their surroundings more. As long as you are physically capable, taking long walks regularly may really help with stress, anxiety, and depression. Even if you are not physically able to walk for long periods of time, sitting outdoors by yourself for a while may help increase your feeling of being at peace and capable of handling your situation and finding more enjoyment in your life.
2. Take a Long Relaxing Bath
Make this a special event, almost like a date with yourself. Try to plan it at a time when you can be undisturbed for an hour or more. If you can get some, add a lot of Epsom salts to your bath. The hot water and the salts will help relieve muscle tension, which is often intensified by stressful or depression circumstances. Relieving muscle tension will help you feel more relieved on psychological levels as well as physical ones. You may want to add elements of aroma therapy with relaxing bath scents or oils such as lavender or rosemary. Candles and incense may help you to create a peaceful atmosphere that lets your mid know you are creating a special space for relaxation and healing. The bath is more for emotional cleansing and muscle relaxation that physical cleanliness, so take care of what your body needs and then make sure to sit for a long time soaking in the water. It may be a good time to imagine that you are washing away sadness, sickness, and stress from your personal energy. If you have time, taking a relaxing bath is nicely followed by taking a nap.
3. Accomplish a Simple Goal
Feeling out of control or unable to fix things is a common experience for people having difficulty with depression or anxiety. Many people experience stress and feel more and more helpless from a series of difficulties. One way to turn that feeling around is to accomplish a goal. Pick a small goal, anything will do. Do the dishes, vacuum the weeding, finish cleaning out the kitchen drawers. It is important that you pick something small and manageable, so that you can be sure to accomplish it quickly. The goal is to create a feeling of accomplishment, one tiny task at a time. After you accomplish one small goal, take a break, and set another small goal. See if you can accomplish many small things in the space of a few hours. When you’re finished playing with this exercise, you’re likely to have a lot of little things done around your home or in some other aspect of your life, and it will make you feel good. Remembering that there are many things you can handle, do, and accomplish on your own will help if you struggle with feelings of being powerless. After a good morning or afternoon of taking the trash out, ding the laundry, and sorting the filing, you may feel relieved to a degree. You may then find it an easier time to work on some greater goal, or handle a situation that is more difficult.
4. Watch Funny Videos or a Comedy Movie
Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. If you find yourself stuck in a pattern of depressive thinking, you may need to switch the channel for a little while. There are plenty of places on line to find funny videos like you tube, and also many blogs and websites dedicated to humor. It’s difficult not to forget feelings of sadness at least momentarily when you are laughing and smiling. Putting on a comedic movie and giving yourself permission to have a little down time may help put you in better spirits for the rest of your day. The time it takes to watch to movie will get your mind off of dwelling on negative things, and you’ll be in a more positive mood when the movie is done and you try to accomplish something.
5. Read A Fiction Book
Reading a story can transport you to another time and place, where other characters are dealing with their own problems and triumpths. Like watching a movie, taking time to read will give you an opportunity to relocate your mental space and come back to things in a while. Often this will diffuse the stress that can negatively impact how you deal with things. It can be healthy to give your mind little ways to escape the real world, and may help cut down on more negative forms of escapism.Reading also gives enough mental stimulation to help improve brain function, so you may find that you seem to be able to think more clearly and rationally after curling up with a book. Add a cup of hot coco or herbal tea for maximum comfort.
6. Release Your Emotions
If you find yourself stuck in the feelings associated with a particular event or situation, it may help to find a personal way to formally experience and release the associated feelings. One way is to get a notebook and write as passionately as possible about what you are feeling for a period of time- you can even set a kitchen timer if you like. It’s not for anyone else to read, in fact, the intention is to burn it or tear it up when you’re done. ( As always, be careful with fire. ) The act of tearing up the paper or burning it when you are done will give you a feeling of release. You’ll be able to become more aware of what you’re feeling and thinking, even on levels you may not feel comfortable being open about. Knowing that you intend to destroy the short bit of writing when you are done will make you feel more comfortable letting your feelings out and saying things you might not feel ready to say out loud. You can also use dancing, drumming, and listening to music as other ways to achieve the same kind of release of emotions. This can be extremely healthy and effective, but be prepared for the experience of intense emotions. It’s always useful to think of a friend you could call or write later, if you need someone to talk about your experience with.
7. Keep A Journal
Journaling is a good way to work through problems with depression and anxiety in several ways. It can provide a way to both release and record feelings. Writing about your experiences can help to get them out of your system, so to speak. It also gives you something you can look back at later, to help sort out different factors in your situation and how to best handle them. Keeping a journal and writing in it regularly may also help you to see if there is a pattern to the way you experience emotions. You may find that you experience most of your anxiety right after similar kinds of events, or that you feel out of control whenever you haven’t eaten and your blood sugar is low. Often depression and anxiety ties into smaller things that are fixable, but which you may not notice if your feeling depressed and anxious and not paying attention to yourself on important levels. Nutrition is another thing that can effect brain chemistry and mood, so it may also be useful to record what you eat and when . Journaling can help with emotional release, recording, and analysis of what’s going on inside of you.
Taking time to relax and quiet your mind can be very helpful, however you achieve it. Learning breathing exercises to help you relax can slow your heart rate and relieve tension in the body and mind. Meditation is useful to the body-mind-spirit connection that is important to a quality of wholeness and fulfillment in life. There are many different types of meditation techniques, and none of them are “right”or “wrong”. Some involve trying to quiet the mind entirely. Others focus on visualization for specific goals, like relaxation or the improvement of a persons health, self confidence, or other personal things. Meditation can be done anywhere, but may be more successful if you do it in a calm quiet place at the same time every day. Making meditation a routine can give your subconscious mind a regular outlet that is healthy and productive.
Music is transportive. It is the only language that can be understood by the old and the young of all different cultures and languages, which speaks without the need for words. Everyone reacts to music to one degree or another, and it effects us on an emotional level. Music can be used in a variety of ways to help us alleviate or deal with stress and depression. You can go in a variety of different directions with it. Listening to sad music may increase your feelings of sadness momentarily, but done deliberately you may be able to raise your awareness of your personal emotional experience in order to work through it. Conversely, listening to music that makes you feel happy may alter your feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, or stress. Creating a play list or putting on an album that makes you feel happy may pull you out of a bad mood and put you into a better frame of mind for experiencing your day and making the most of it. You may also want to combine meditational techniques and music. There are many relaxing Cd’s available with sounds from nature or gentle musical sounds, which can enhance a session of meditating for stress reduction. Thees Cd’s are also very helpful to listen to while falling asleep, especially if you have trouble with insomnia when you are feeling stressed out or emotionally overburdened. Playing a musical instrument can also be very helpful for people handling depression.
10. Arts and Crafts
Creative hobbies in general have been shown to create lots of benefits for people dealing with emotional illness and stress on any level from mild to extreme. Painting, drawing, photography, making jewelery, woodwork, leather work, and anything that could be called a creative hobby is an option. Any of these activities keep you involved and active in doing something that pleases you and allows you to accomplish something unique and special. Participating in an art or craft can be a fun experience that will make you smile, and can also help you learn new things to keep your mind active. Completed projects often win the respect or good feeling of others, which may help improve your sense of self confidence and value. It can also make an excellent source of gifts, or an opportunity to make extra money. Exploring creative hobbies will give you another opportunity to focus on things you enjoy in a productive way, which will give you more energy for dealing with other things in your life.
More on Associated Content from Nicolette Stevens:
Defining Self Integrity
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
How to Start and Online Store for Free
Other great AC content on Depression:
Natural Depression Remediesby Brenda Hoffman
Taking Your Life Back From Panic Attacks by Brenda Hoffman
Seasonal Depressionby Kay L. Schlagel