Depression 5 Tips
Over the last couple of months, I have been contacted on several occasions for advice on how to deal with, cope with and treat depression. I think because I actually admitted that I suffer from depression and anxiety people find it easier to approach me with these questions. Its sad to actually see how many people struggle with depression day to day and if there is one thing that I can say is that there is hope, that depression is treatable and there are strategies that can be implemented to help treat depression.
From a professional standpoint I will say that if you are having suicidal thoughts, if you cannot get out of bed, if the depression lasts more than two weeks, if it is impacting your work, your relationships, your home life, your physical health these are all indicators to seek professional help.
The following are 5 initial tips to help with depression
- Be gentle with yourself. Many people will often beat themselves up and even berate themselves for thinking they have depression. Statements like why me, this shouldn’t be happening to me, I shouldn’t be feeling like this are often uttered. Many people ignore the fact that they could be depressed as they are too busy being busy, working. Many often think that they are too “busy” to have depression yet they often cannot put a finger on why their energy is low, why they are sad or irritable, why they no longer find joy in activities. Be kind and gentle and realize that yes it can happen to you.
- Hopelessness and how to find hope – When you are depressed its as if a suffocating black cloud descends on you. You often feel that you are in a hole trying to claw your way to the surface for air, it’s a struggle and depression can feel physically painful. For most there is a feeling of hopelessness, that this will never pass. Hope is defined as the anticipation of something desired but in depression we often cannot see the fulfillment or achievement of the desired. One of the difficult things is that hope is mainly derived internally. So how do you get hope if you’re depressed. Hope-fully there are people in your life who will give it to you when you need it the most, you can listen to inspirational speakers such as Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra to name a few. You can start a diary of hope of your own to get you through bleak times.
3. Get up, take a Shower, Get Dressed. This may sound ridiculous but even in my professional experience one of the most fundamental things in depression is to get patients out of bed, to get them showered and into clean clothes to get them out of their rooms and isolation. If that is all you did today, then you have succeeded. As an addition to this if you suffer from anxiety and depression and are trying to exercise you have succeeded by putting your shoes on, if you make it to the gym that’s a great additional step, if you take a class or run on the treadmill even better, but its that first initial step that is amazing.
4. Fear, Negativity and Putting things in perspective: Did you know that negativity is a prevalent component of depression. How many positive people suffer from depression? How many people who have a thrill for life, who live their lives in positive ways, who relish challenges, how many of these people suffer from depression. Depression often stems form negativity and negative thoughts. So stop saying “why does this always happen to me” or the worst always happens or bad things happen to me. Cultivate a spirit of positivity and if you find this difficult you can train yourself to be positive by meditating, by replacing negative self talk with positive self talk.
5. Gratitude – Practice being grateful. Every day you get up write down 5 things you are grateful for. From experience I know this can be hard and there are days when we struggle to find one thing. But trust me if you do this on a regular basis most people can see that their lives do have things to be grateful for. With many of my patients I get them to write two columns one for their problems and one for the things they are grateful for and they are often surprised to see that there is more in the first (Grateful) than the first (problems).
Take away strategies:
Write down 5 things you are grateful for daily
Replace negative self talk with positive affirmations
Cultivate positivity with meditation or listening to inspirational speakers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq1bY5AuyWg
Start a diary of hope
Write one thing daily that gives you hope for example “This too shall pass”, I will be happy again,