Most of us are finding life a lot tougher than it used to be - everything seems to be flying along at such a breakneck speed, it can be tough to keep up. It's hardly surprising that depression is becoming more common as a result. But if you find yourself slipping towards that dark place, there are some things you can do to stop the slide.
Firstly, give the media a miss. I know; we've all reached the point where we can't even go out for a coffee without our mobile phone in our pocket and TV screens in the food area at the shopping mall. But if you really look at newspapers and television, you'll soon realize that most of the stuff they tell you about is negative. They expose all the bad, horrible tings that people do, because that's what sells. By the time you've spent half an hour reading or watching about war, death, destruction, murder and despair, it's very hard for even the most optimistic person to still feel cheerful. So if you're already feeling a bit depressed, it's like hitting the fast forward button. I quit watching TV news and reading papers something like 15 years ago now, and believe me, if there's something going on that you need to know about, someone will tell you. But save yourself the misery of reading or watching it yourself.
Also, listen to what you say to yourself - your self- talk. If it's negative, then you need to stop doing it. This is true of what you say about other people as well - the more you focus on the positives, the better you'll feel. You've probably heard the say "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". It might be hard, but it really does make a difference to your attitude if you're always focusing on finding something nice to say to someone. This is a great way to turn your mind into more positive channels, and defeat depression.
Get outside! Sitting around at home gives you too much time to think. So go outside, walk in the sun, do some exercise. It's amazing how much better you'll feel if you get active. If it's snowing outside, then find somewhere undercover where you can take a walk. Many studies have proven that exercise and sunlight are good for your health, and the good news is they improve your attitude as well. Get moving!
Reality is that there are times life will throw you a curve ball, but instead of immediately starting to get depressed about it, stop and take a deep breath. Relax. Allow yourself time to take a short mental break. This momentary pause can do wonders for stopping the slide into depression, and will give you the strength to deal with the new challenge you've been presented with.
Think about what food you eat. Unfortunately many of the things we love can also have an effect on your mood, and may cause pronounced mood swings. Caffeine and alcohol are two big offenders. Go easy on sugars, starch and fats, too. Many additives can have a negative effect on your mood, including artificial dyes, preservatives and sweeteners. By avoiding them you will help reduce your level of depression, and may even improve your health as well!
Drinking water is also a great way to reduce depression. It's generally recommended you drink a minimum of 40 ounces of water a day. If you drink coffee or soda, though, you should drink even more water to compensate. This is because caffeine is diuretic and leeches water out of the body. Also, consider supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids or St John's Wort.
Depression can be a very debilitating condition, but by following some of the tips I've outlined here, you can make a big difference for very little cost.
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