As humans, it is only natural for people to feel sad or lonely from time to time especially when they are going through a rough patch. But most of the time, people eventually manage to continue functioning and bounce back from feelings of despair. Depression on the other hand, is a debilitating condition that is a whole lot different from having a bad case of the blues. For people who are depressed, hope disappears and the feeling of sadness uncontrollably lingers to the point that it interferes with work, sleep and recreation. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression that does not involve prescription medications.
Bear in mind that there is no easy fix for overcoming depression. But with hard work and a great deal of practice, improvement will become possible. Here are 6 practices that have been proven to get rid of depression.
6) Practicing mindfulness.
When a person is depressed, his or her mind tends to dwell on everything that is wrong with his or her life, not to mention all the the other things that could go wrong in the coming future. This unhealthy cycle of negative thoughts reinforces negative emotions, which in turn reinforces negative actions. Dwelling on negative thoughts is really harmful for one’s mental health and must be stopped immediately. One way to stop negative thinking is by practicing mindfulness, which basically means focusing on the present moment. The next time you catch yourself about to spiral into negative thought cycles, gently bring your attention back to the present moment by engaging all of your senses. Focus on sight, sound, smell and touch. When you engage your senses, it leaves less time for worrisome thoughts.
5) Listening to happy music.
Music, as they say, is like food for the soul. Listening to some happy music greatly helps in lifting your mood instantly. Studies have shown that happy and cheerful music can alter one’s brain chemistry and can actually improve one’s mood.
4) Using touch.
According to scientific research, touch therapy is an effective way of helping people overcome depression. Aside from lowering the stress hormone cortisol, touch therapy also increases the feel-good hormone called oxytocin. Touch therapies that are usually used include acupressure, acupuncture, reflexology and massage.
3) Including Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
Studies have determined that depressed people more often than not have a deficiency in the fatty acid called EPA. In a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry, participants who took a gram of fish oil each day had a 50% decrease in symptoms in suicidal thoughts, feelings of sadness, sleep disorders, anxiety and low libido. Omega -3 fatty acids have also been shown to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. You can get omega-3 from foods like walnuts, salmon, tuna and flaxseed.
2) Stopping the negative self talk.
Depression tends to make you perceive the world in a negative way. Depressed people blame themselves whenever things go wrong. And when things go right, instead of giving themselves credit, they just put it down to luck. Depression reinforces feelings of worthlessness and self doubt. Be aware of your negative self talk and counter this type of thinking by telling yourself that your way of thinking is that of a depressed person and not of a mentally healthy person. Never take your thoughts seriously whenever you get the blues. You can acknowledge your thoughts but you do not have to believe them. Always keep things in perspective.
1) Distracting yourself.
Remember that your thoughts are your enemy whenever the blues sets in so do your best to distract yourself from overthinking. Go for a walk or call a friend. Solving a puzzle or reading a book are also good at taking your mind off your worries and fears.