Make constant connections with other people. The nature of a depressed person is to avoid interaction-however, humans are social and must make daily connections to thrive. Start a friendly conversation with a greeter at your local store. Call your mom and talk about your plans for Thanksgiving. Ask the neighbor about current politics. Do whatever it takes to keep talking, and keep connecting.
Each day, make it a priority to devote some time to YOUR OWN emotional health. Your mind needs “fine-tuning” and upkeep, much like your car. Most of us will jump through hoops to make others feel happy. Make a point to do the same for YOURSELF, at least once each day. Do you like bubble baths? Do nature walks make you feel calmer? Your brain is an organ. Like the rest of your body, your brain benefits from exercise and your brain will thrive on rest. Many activities we consider “luxury” are actually the things that keep our brains healthy. For example, don’t EVER hesitate to SIT ALONE read a book. Try reading a book about mental health. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER when it comes to depression. Learn everything you can about yourself and your options for healing. Join a support group or call up a friend that might relate to your fight against depression. Taking the time to learn how to fight is NOT A LUXURY. Try this right now: Think of the person in this world that needs you most. What would you do to help them if they were suffering from depression?…now duplicate that energy and GIVE IT TO YOURSELF!
FIND A FURRY FRIEND-
Animal companionship has the amazing power of healing through unconditional love. Animals have compassion without judgment. For a depressed person, love without limits can be as powerful as air. Not able to have pets? Too overwhelmed to care for another life? Borrow your furry friend. One way to spend time with a furry species is to volunteer at your local rescue shelter. Offer yourself for doggy daycare for your working neighbor. Regularly volunteering to walk a friend’s dog can be therapeutic for both you and the animal.
FIND THE SPIRIT IN YOU-
“Spirit” can be defined in terms of your inner strength and your connection to a greater purpose. A helpful way to navigate through depression is to find your core belief and form a strong connection to it. Spend time in your favorite church, synagogue or outdoor environment. No matter what your religion, explore what “spirit” means to you. With a sense of spirit and belief you can begin to overcome anything.
SUMMON THE SUN-
Exposing your body to the right form of light is essential in the treatment of depression. It’s true that sunlight provides the vitamin D that nourishes your mind. However, too much sun can damage the rest of your body. Want to know a trick to getting the light you need without having to worship the sun? Buy a natural light sunlamp from one of your local “mega-stores” and spend a few minutes each day in front of it.
GET SOME DEEP SLEEP-
Depression may make you feel like staying in bed, this is NOT SLEEPING. There is a big difference between sleeping and “lying down”. True sleep means allowing your body and mind to rest through REM (deep) sleep. Dedicate 8 solid hours EACH NIGHT toward an attempt at deep sleep.
FIND A GOOD COUNSELOR-
Many people are not aware that most counselors are trained in problem solving and life skills, not medicating. An important difference between a psychiatrist and a counselor is the focus on medication; most counselors cannot medicate you, their focus is to “advise” and “educate” you toward healing. Counseling can be comfortable place to start exploring your needs and solutions. (If you are experiencing signs of severe depression, such as a desire to harm yourself or others, CALL 911 and seek immediate medical attention).
If you are suffering from mild to moderate depression, you may still have doubts about calling for an appointment…you are certainly not alone! Depression is known to cause self-doubt that will create hesitancy in reaching out to others. Remember that the fear of seeking help is a symptom of your depression, making the disease all the more dangerous. Do not let depression trick you into avoiding the care you need. Give yourself immediate permission to seek the help of a counselor or other depression specialist.
MOVE IT, MOVE IT-
Walk, run, dance, stretch…get up and move. Exercise induces your body to produce vital chemical that are linked to fighting depression. Most doctors will tell you that 30 minutes of exercise a day is optimal. No time?…while dealing with depression even a ten minute walk can make a big difference. Next time you need groceries, park your car as far away from the store as possible. A brisk walk into the store will allow your body to produce the “happy” chemicals that are known to alleviate depression. Of course, it is vital to talk your doctor before making any changes to your exercise routine.
You can STOP buying over the counter “detoxify” powders, expensive pills, or suffering through invasive colon treatments. Do your research before you invest in expensive drugs that claim to cleanse your system. In most cases, the cleansing of your body is something the human system is ALREADY prepared to do! NATURE provides certain nutrients that eliminate toxins naturally. In fact, prescribed medications are capable “zapping” vital nutrients. These are the nutrients most important for fighting depression, yet synthetic pills are capable of depleting them! IMPORTANT: never stop taking prescribed medication without talking to your doctor first. Only a licensed physician can evaluate the safety of medication changes.
FIGHT DEPRESSION WITH FOOD!
Doctors and scientist have been working for years to find the “perfect” chemical that will combat depression. While they have made many advances in the alleviation of some symptoms, depression still exist in a great number of people. Ask yourself this: How many wild animals have you seen that are clinically depressed? If your answer is none, then perhaps we need to take a closer look at those other species. What is it about wild animals that allow them to emotionally thrive when millions of humans are depressed? One conclusive finding is DIET, what we eat and how we eat it. Humans are the only species that will “fuel to feel”. Other species do not attach emotional baggage to food. Animals eat exactly what their instincts tell them to seek out and ingest. They eat to fuel, and through fueling they emotionally thrive. The book, Fighting Depression with Food teaches you how to avoid “emotional eating” and gives you a detailed list of the foods you need to start fueling the way your body needs. Again, only a licensed physician can evaluate the safety of changes in your diet. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your disease treatment.