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How to Cope with Depression?

Updated: Jun 8

Introduction


Depression is a common mental health condition, but it's also one that many people find difficult to talk about. The tendency to keep these feelings hidden can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness. But there are ways you can get help for depression.


Challenge negative thoughts


Negative thoughts can be harmful, but they're also common. You might find yourself thinking things like:


"I'm worthless."

"No one will ever love me."

"My life is going nowhere."


These are all examples of negative thoughts that may come up during depression. The best way to deal with these kinds of thoughts is by challenging them with evidence that contradicts your belief system. For example, if you think no one will ever love you because of how "unlovable" you are--but then someone tells you otherwise--you can use this new information as proof against your former negative belief system by saying something like:

"Well clearly there's at least one person who thinks I'm worth loving!"



Build a positive support system


You should also consider building a positive support system. If you don't already have one, that is. This can mean finding someone who understands what you are going through and who will be able to help guide you out of the darkness. It could also mean joining a group of people with similar experiences or interests--for example, joining an online depression support forum or attending therapy sessions at your local hospital or clinic.

Finding others who understand your struggle can be difficult, but if you put in the effort and make an effort to reach out to others (even if it's only via email), eventually someone will come along who truly understands what it feels like to be depressed and wants nothing more than for themself as well as others around them not only get better but stay better!

Remember: building a positive support system takes time so don't rush things; instead try focusing on making yourself happy first before worrying about whether anyone else can help lift up their spirits too!



Stay active


Exercising and staying physically active can help you feel better. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy. When you exercise, these chemicals boost your mood by stimulating positive feelings like joy and self-confidence.

Exercise also helps with sleep problems, which are common among people who are depressed or anxious. Exercise reduces stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine), both of which interfere with sleep by increasing alertness during the day and disrupting REM (rapid eye movement) sleep at night when dreams occur most often. You may have noticed this effect if you've ever been racing around late at night trying to finish something before an early morning meeting or flight because stress hormones were keeping you awake!

Exercise increases levels of serotonin--the "feel good" chemical in our brains--and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter that contributes to mood regulation by increasing focus/attention span while decreasing anxiety/worrying thoughts about past events or future outcomes that might not go according to plan.



Focus on the present


The present is all you have. You can't change the past, and you don't know what's going to happen in the future. Instead of worrying about either of these things, focus on what you can do now to make things better.

If you're depressed or anxious, there are many ways that focusing on the present can help improve your mental health:

  • It helps reduce rumination which means less time thinking about what has happened in the past or might happen in future (e.g., "I am useless") and more time thinking about what we currently need/want/can do right now (e.g., calling a friend).

  • It encourages people who are feeling down or anxious not only because they feel better when they are doing something but also because having goals gives us purpose - something which is often lacking when someone feels depressed or anxious."


Set realistic goals


It is important to set realistic goals. Here are some tips:

  • Set goals that are achievable and measurable. If you have a goal of "I want to be happy," this is not a good one because it's not specific or measurable. How will you know if your goal has been reached? How will anyone else know either? You could also make the statement more specific by saying something like, "I want to spend one hour each day doing something that makes me feel good about myself." This is still not very measurable though, because it does not state how often or for how long this activity should occur. A better example would be: "I plan on spending 30 minutes each day reading self-help books on depression." This statement includes both an amount of time (30 minutes), frequency (every day) and length (one week).

  • Make sure all three elements--a specific activity with a defined outcome--are present in every goal you set!


Practice self care

  • Make time to do things you enjoy, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time.

  • Take care of your physical health by getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods, especially ones that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts (walnuts and flaxseed oil are also great).

  • Practice mindfulness by taking deep breaths when you're feeling anxious or stressed out, focusing on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or regretting the past; this will help center yourself so that negative thoughts don't spiral out of control into depression-inducing ruminations about what could go wrong next time someone makes fun of your hair color (which is really just an example--not something I've ever experienced!).

  • Finally: be kind to yourself! Don't berate yourself when things don't go as planned; instead remember that everyone makes mistakes sometimes but no one gets it right all the time either so try not beating yourself up over every little thing because then we'll never get anywhere!


Seek professional help.


If you're struggling with depression, it can help to connect with a therapist or mental health professional. In some cases, medication may be helpful, too. If you think you may benefit from medication, talk to your doctor but don't do so until after you've tried non-medical treatments.

As a last resort, medication can be helpful. If you have tried other methods of coping with depression and still feel like nothing is working, talk to your doctor about medication options.

Mental health professionals should always be used as a supplement to other treatments rather than as the only way to cope with depression. Medication should only be used in conjunction with other treatments such as therapy or lifestyle changes that may help improve your mental health (such as getting enough sleep).



Conclusion


Depression is a serious condition that can take a toll on your life. If you're struggling with depression, it's important to know that there are many effective treatments available and help is available if you seek it out. You don't have to go through this alone-there are many people who understand what you're going through and want to help! Remember that there are always options, even if one or two don't work out as planned.

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