7 Things You Can Do To Combat Your Depression Symptoms Every Day
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From the minute you crawl out of bed in the morning until the moment you climb back in at night, you’re fighting a battle against depression. You have to find ways to protect yourself against the negative feelings that overwhelm your mind and body, trying to take over logical thought.
When you suffer from clinical depression, you devote more energy and time to keeping your head in a good place and maintaining your health than you do any other part of your life- including work and family. Your state of mind has an impact on every part of your day. Here are seven things you can do every day to help you fight the battle against clinical depression.
Depression sucks the motivation and energy right out of you. Even if the last thing you want to do is exercise, one of the best ways to improve your mood when you’re depressed is to get active. There’s no question about it, exercise fights depression. Science has proven that 20 minutes of exercise, five days a week, will help you feel better emotionally. How does it work? Activity encourages the release of endorphins in your brain, which helps boost your mood. You don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. Taking a walk, swimming, playing a vigorous game of frisbee with your dog, or attending a yoga class will all do the trick.
Keep a Joy Journal
When you’re clinically depressed, the big questions like, “Will I ever feel better?” take over your thoughts. Journaling is an effective way to let go of those negative thoughts and focus on the little joys in life that can get you through the day. Try writing only about life’s happy moments in your joy journal: lunch out with friends, your little girl’s smile when you pick her up from school, a good night’s sleep, your son’s proud face after he gets a good grade on his math test… you get the idea. Writing in your journal about life’s small joys forces you to focus on them and appreciate the good things, no matter how small.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
When you’re depressed, your brain tells you that you just want to be left alone. Don’t listen to it. These thoughts suck away your happiness and keep you in that dark mood. When you’re feeling down, talk about it with your partner, a trusted friend, or your therapist. Voicing your feelings to someone else lightens the burden and begins the healing process. It’s not self-pity, and it’s not self-centered. Your loved ones care about you, and they want to help.
Even something as simple as going to a public place like the mall, a restaurant, a museum, or a park where you can enjoy being around other people can help. Attend a class or a book club… go somewhere and meet people who are interested in the same things you are. Don’t let your negative thoughts convince you that you’re not good company or you’re inflicting your bad mood on others. Everyone struggles with depression at times, so don’t let it define you or make you feel singled out.
Do the Things You Once Loved, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
Depression is incredibly hard to overcome, and it can destroy your desire to do the things you once loved. Don’t let yourself give in to that feeling of sluggishness because it will make your dark feelings even stronger. Go out and do the things you once loved, whether you feel like it or not. Pursuing things that interest you will help to bring back that spark you’ve been missing. Whether it’s cooking a meal, taking a walk, or going shopping with a friend, you’ve got to force yourself to do whatever it is that keeps you from hiding out in bed.
Go to a Funny Movie or Watch Something Funny on TV
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and it really is true. Even if it makes you feel silly, laughing can actually fool your brain into thinking you are happy. Try to look at depression as that critical inner voice that’s putting you in a bad mood and come up with your own strategies for fighting it off. Whether you watch a comedian on TV, put on a funny sitcom, or head out to a silly movie, laughter is an excellent tool for convincing your brain to be happy again.
Take a Supplement Every Day
According to MBSF Health & Wellness, taking a supplement every day is crucial for mental and physical health because we can’t always meet all of our nutritional needs through diet. Supplements that may help with depression include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for a healthy brain. They also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a leading cause of many degenerative conditions, including bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
- Vitamin C: Taking a vitamin C supplement can improve cognitive function, mood, and may reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- B Vitamins: B vitamins are essential for brain health. The Mayo Clinic reports that they play a crucial role in producing the chemicals that maintain mood. B vitamins also combat fatigue, which is a common side effect of depression.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is quite common and is a leading cause of muscle tension and insomnia. It is also necessary for the production of feel-good hormones in the brain.
Eat a Gluten-Free Diet
Studies show that eliminating gluten from your diet may help with depression and other mood disorders. Some people discount gluten-free diets as nothing more than a fad, but many others are seeing amazing results when they eliminate foods like wheat and other grains that are high in gluten. For some people, eating even a small amount of gluten has been shown to cause digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Gluten rich foods can be highly allergenic for many people, leading to reactions in the brain. Switching to a gluten-free diet could be life-changing for someone suffering from depression and other mental health disorders.
No matter what strategies you use to fight your depression, don’t ever let anyone convince you that it’s not real or that you should just get over it. Recognizing that there’s a problem is the first step towards getting better. There’s nothing shameful about seeking the help of a therapist who can help you address your pain and combat that critical inner voice.
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