According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. report they are depressed. I was depressed long before I became an adult and I’ve developed some of my own ways to stay happy. Here are some helpful and realistic tips to help prevent and fight depression.
Are you tired all the time? Do you find that you get irritable easily? Are you thoughts always gravitating toward the negative?
Sometimes I’ll notice a loss of appetite or I’ll have trouble staying on schedule. I tend to ignore the signs and try to plow through it. “Maybe if I pretend it’s not there it will just go away,” I tell myself. Then, it just gets worse as I ignore it. We must first acknowledge the problem in order to correct it.
2. Ask for help.
This is probably the hardest step. If your feelings are getting out of control or you’ve reached a great low then it’s time to get help. Therapists may seem taboo, but talking to someone can help you find and solve the personal problems that are creating those feelings of depression. I started out going to medical doctors to make sure it wasn’t a physical problem first. They put me on prescriptions that I didn’t really like so I researched and found a psychologist.I found out a lot about myself and created new ways to deal with stress and personal issues.
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” -Sun Tzu
You’ll never be able to combat depression if you don’t know what it is and what the symptoms are. It helps to know that when I feel completely down and low that there is a reason for it and there are things I can do to stop it. Ask your doctor for literature and actively seek out knowledge about your disease.
4. Do something
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
– Dalai Lama XIV The Art of Happiness
When you’re sitting at home, stagnate, is when depression can get to its worst. Get up. Get dressed. It may be hard to do at first but once you’re outside doing something it can be a great way to combat the blues. If I sit around at home I tend to feel more sorry for myself and my mood always worsens. Go on a hike. Walk around your neighborhood. Take a trip to somewhere you’ve never been. It’s when you go out into the world that you can appreciate it’s beauty and all it has to offer.
This is very important. Depression is more common in overweight or obese people. Why? When someone is overweight their body isn’t functioning properly. Certain areas may be overcompensating for others and it can throw the whole system off. I was once 60 lbs overweight. I kept thinking “If I had just started doing 15 minutes of exercise 3 weeks ago I could have lost a couple pounds by now.” The more I thought about putting it off, the more I didn’t want to. I finally just went to the gym. I started out embarrassingly out of touch with my own body. I didn’t realize how bad I let it get. I kept working out though. Now I can tell that if I’m a little cranky it’s because I didn’t go to the gym that day. Exercise will help keep you whole. It’s amazing how clear your mind can get when those lovely endorphins kick in.
Everyone has the right to their own belief system and ways of thinking. This is something we should all be grateful for. Whatever your beliefs may be, enrich them and seek out help wherever you can find it. When I was a teenager I found solace in my local churches and youth gatherings. Now I really enjoy practicing Buddhism and meditating. Find what speaks to you and go with what makes you happy.
7. Be Grateful
There are many reasons one can have to be sad but just the same there are reasons to be happy. I’ve experienced some very difficult situations in life but I wouldn’t be who I am without having gone through them. Sometimes it’s easiest to give into feelings of self loathing or negativity. However, the more you practice pulling from those negative thoughts and actively try to think positive the easier it will get. I promise it gets better.