In this day and age, mental health issues are as dangerous and rampant as physical impairments. Depression is one leading mental disorder that has affected people of all age groups irrespective of class, economic background, social status and other such factors. According to the data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7.6% of people who are above the age of 12 have faced depression in any 2 week period. This data highlights just how significant and rampant the effects of depression are. In another statement published by the World Health Organization, depression is the most common and most radical illness spreading worldwide, and is the leading cause of disability. It has been estimated that 350 million people, around the globe are affected by depression.
7 Simple Hacks to Deal with Depression
If you have ever felt that all your energy has been sucked out of you, you probably know what depression feels like. For most part, it feels like the end of all your joys and sinking in a sea of hopelessness and helplessness. Depression seems to pump out of you, every single ounce of energy, and in most days, there is nothing you can do to feel better.
Feeling depressed is a horrible feeling. It feels like once depression holds you, there is no way to get out of its gnarly stench. It feels like you are a prisoner in your own body and the feeling of helplessness and desperation overrides all other feeling.
Though every cell in your body wants to give up, you have to hold on and conquer these feelings. No matter what the reason was that had triggered your depression, it is possible to rid yourself from its shackles and get back on track. It is surely not an easy road, but it is absolutely possible. Here are some hacks that will help you to deal with depression:
Do Something New
Being depressed, you lose the will to do anything. Even the things that used to bring you joy previously seem damp and dark. You fall out of hobbies and most of your day is spent in doing nothing except the activities that are needed for bare sustenance. This, however, needs to be changed. The best way to feel better is to try something new. It has been proven that novel experiences alerts the levels of your dopamine. Novelty is a charm that your mind and body seeks. When you engage yourself in something new, dopamine, the hormone that influences pleasure and enjoyment is elevated. You must be wondering what to try. Keep it simple; try out new activities that are easy and simple. Like, take a new route to work, eat something different, wear an outfit that has been in your mind for a long time, and watch some videos that you have never watched or you can even go for a newly released movie or a drama.
Another thing that is gravely associated to depression is the desire to stay indoors and not to communicate with others. It is, however advised that you go out of the house and get some sunlight. You might not know, but sunlight elevates mood. Sunlight contains vitamin D, which is integrally related to mood. If you live in a place that hardly gets sunlight, you can buy a therapeutic light box. There a various ways you can feel better by just incorporating new things in your daily routine.
Try to be Social and Practice Gratitude
When depressed, you might want to isolate yourself. Social interactions may feel like an excessive burden, but you should push yourself to go out and socialize. This might feel like an enormous task, but it really is not. Take small steps in this direction. For example, instead of staying cooped up in your room, get outside and interact with your family members or loved ones. Engage in discussion in the dining table and you will soon find out that you feel better. Being social is a major defense mechanism to fight against depression. If you think that it is too difficult for you to get outside and talk to people in real life, you can do it virtually. You can get connected to people who will motivate you in various social media platforms. You can even try to phone call a friend and engage in a heartfelt conversation.
Nothing feels good when you are depressed. You constantly feel the urge to focus on all the bad things in life while completely ignoring the things you should be grateful for. It has been found via systematic observation that having a daily routine of gratitude is as good and effective as taking an antidepressant. You can simply sit during a particular time every day and write about the things in life that you are grateful for. You should keep focusing on the things that make your life happy and are worthy of happiness. However, you should keep in mind that this has to be done regularly at a particular time of the day and should not be done randomly. Try to adhere to this routine.
Engage in a Smart Diet
Depression can be associated with the desire to either overeat or not eat at all. This can lead to skipping meals. However skipping meals is never a good option. You should focus on your blood sugar level as it is directly connected to your mood. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level is very important in keeping your mood stable. If your blood sugar level follows below the normal, it can aggravate the conditions of depression. In fact, if the blood glucose level is not normal, it can lead to feelings of depression even when you are not clinically depressed. On the other hand, binge eating or overeating is also harmful as most of the things you eat are junk food that critically has an impact on the blood glucose level, disrupting the entire balance and causing irritability and making your mood worse. Sure, you should eat the things you like, but make sure that these are actually benefiting you.
Instead, you should focus on eating such food that is beneficial for your brains serotonin level. Ideally, you should eat such food that increases the level of serotonin which will lead to a decrease in the depressive studies. According to the data published in several studies, it has been found that, consuming a high protein diet, is a good step in this direction. You should eat food that have a high omega-3 fatty acid content like wild salmon, anchovies, herring and mackerel. Another class of food you should focus on is food that has a high content of healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, eggs and flaxseed oil.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
When you do not keep yourself sufficiently hydrated, your body feels fatigue, and this fatigue can mimic the symptoms of depression. Hence, it is very important that you make sure that your body is receiving the adequate amount of water that it is craving. A great hack to make sure that you are constantly drinking water is to make sure that your water is cold and fresh. In this way, you can drink water to beat the heat as well.
Another thing you can try is to seep some fruits overnight in the water. You can try to seep orange, lemon, cucumber and mint leaves. This, not only makes your water more flavorful but it is also a great way to try something new. Another thing that you must avoid is to drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated drinks. Some people are in the habit to replace water with coffee. Sure, coffee does give a high, but it also comes with a crash. This is the reason, why coffee and depression do not marry well. You can try green tea, the caffeine in green tea is amazing as it works fine in cooperation with L-theanine, which will help to stop the caffeine crash. Green tea hence, does not come with the crash, but surely lets you experience a high. Drinking green tea also boosts your dopamine levels, which, as already mentioned, is great for uplifting your mood.
Meditate and Practice Yoga
Meditation is a great way to feel present and be mindful regarding your experiences throughout the day. You can meditate sitting still or you can even meditate while walking. Meditating helps you to train your body, heart and soul. With the help of meditation, you will be able to train your body and mind to work in unison. This is a great unconscious tool that will help you to defend depression and feel mindful. Many studies and researches have actually proved that meditation is actually a great way to alleviate your symptoms of depression. Mediation helps you to train both your conscious and your unconscious so that they are prepared well against the symptoms of depression. Being aware of every moment of your life is a great way to fight depression. Meditating is simple and almost effortless. You can meditate sitting anywhere. While there are various elaborate methods of meditation, you can start off with the simplest. Simply sit in a place of your choice, you can keep your eyes closed or concentrate at one point. Simply breathe in and out and try to eradicate all other thoughts. It might seem challenging at the beginning, but you will soon be able to get better grasp of it.
Yoga is another great way to make your body get in sync with your mind. All you need is 15 minutes in a day and practice yoga following instructions from a video or a website. You do not even have to travel places to practice yoga. The practice of yoga is great as it synchronizes your bodily movements to your breathing pattern, which works wonders against depression. It has been prove, that just the practice of yoga can make profound differences in your mood, in a benefiting way. You should keep practicing the various positions in yoga till you find the ones that are best suited for you. Yoga can help with your symptoms of depression like magic. One thing that make a lot of people hesitate before they try yoga is their flexibility. Yoga is an age old practice and it is not possible to perfect your postures in the first day alone. However, if you keep practicing you will be able to get your postures correct. There is a great surge of self satisfaction that is accompanied with doing your postures correctly. This will let you feel better. The sense of accomplishment will also help you build better self confidence.
Smile and Get Creative
Smiling is the last thing you want to do when depressed, but studies have found that even faking a smile changes your brain chemistry and elevated the levels of feel-good hormones like dopamine. Obviously, this seems a bit absurd, but this hack is actually very beneficial against the clench of depression. Elevation in the level of dopamine is very important for you to feel better. Smiling , or even pulling our check muscles is very effective in changing the brain chemistry in a way that it will help you to increase the amount of dopamine released into the body.
Getting creative is a very novel stimulus for the brain. When you try to make something or employ yourself in creative endeavors, your brain is used in a different way, and this difference can be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of depression. Some studies have shown that doing creative work has almost the same effects as practicing meditation; creative endeavors have similar effects on your body and mind as one does meditation. This is the reason, getting creative is, in fact a great way to deal with depression. In fact, the sense of fulfillment you enjoy after having done something on your own, is in itself a great boost to your self esteem and will help you to deal with depression in a better manner. You do not particularly have to be “good” at what you are doing, what is of most importance is your motive and hard work. You can try writing, craft related activities, drawing or knitting. If all ends fail, try to pen down your thoughts in a diary. This is something that you have probably heard a number of times, but this is actually helpful. Writing down your feelings is almost like talking to someone. This will also let you gather your thoughts well and you will simply gain better insight into your thoughts and feelings. This is the first way to effectively solve your problems.
This is one of the most common advises that you must have come across a number of times. The reason why this opinion is so anonymously agreed upon is because, that it actually works. When you exercise, your heart rate is increased, which in turn helps in the shooting of more endorphins n the system. The increase in the levels of endorphins helps you to feel better. Besides, you also get all the physical benefits that exercises generally come along with. It is however, very difficult to get motivated to workout, especially when you are depressed, so the best way to motivate yourself is to workout in company of a friend. This helps you to get social as well as increase your levels of endorphins at one go.
When depressed, you hardly have the motivation to even leave the bed, in such extreme cases; it is even more difficult to feel motivated to workout, what you can do, is simply stand tall for a minute or two for a walk. Such bodily movements will also help you to feel better and you will also get some fresh air. This is a great way you can break the monotony of your daily routine. If you do not feel like going for a full workout session, all you can do is enough to “change the shape” your body has been holding all day. You can merely walk around a bit, or even try stretching your arms. This lets your stress hormones to diminish and also lets you build confidence.
It is very difficult to break away from the clutches of depression. But you must go on. The only thing you can do, is fight hard and be strong. There will be days when you lose the motivation to even get up from bed, but for every dark and gloomy day, there are good ones too. Stay strong and things will get better.
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