We always relate depression with the feeling of compelling a fake smile, keeping some anxious sad feelings inside, feeling worthless, irritable, ashamed, hopeless or restless.
Not anymore. It becomes less mysterious and forbidding because researchers found out the mix of psychological and physical causes of depression. People around the globe are acknowledging it, and talking about it, out in and open.
There are two types of depression. One is called healthy depression. It’s all about realistic feelings of sadness, pain and disappointment, accompanied at times by guilt, anger and/or anxiety, which is a result from a traumatic experience, loss of someone you love and unfair treatment of those around you.. People with this kind of depression can still function although usually not as well as they would otherwise.
Unhealthy depression involves being unable to function in one or more areas of life, such as work or relationships, due to the depth of bad feelings. These bad feelings can be caused by changes in body chemistry, genetic vulnerability and/or too many painful psychological experiences that you are unable to resolve.
You can take healthy depression as a signal that it’s time to make some changes and take some actions in your life. While unhealthy depression will benefit from the same approach, it first requires professional help—the sooner, the better.
Countless ways can be done to deal with depression, from exercise to drugs to support groups. Often it’s a combination of things – getting organized, learning new behaviors, and becoming more self-aware- that finally breaks depression’s hold.
Here are some tips to help you deal with ups and downs of life and maybe help you bounce back faster from the downs and struggles you have experienced.
Take the High Road
Or the low road – it doesn’t matter. Just get out there and move. Studies are clear on this. The less active you are, the more likely you’ll be depressed. And a dozen or so studies show that all but the most severely depressed people who begin to exercise do as well as those who get standard psychotherapy. A good exercise is an hour a day of brisk walking; much better done with a friend.
Stay Up to Watch the Sunrise
Some studies show that approximately 60 percent of depressed people who deprive themselves of a night’s sleep may help thwart their symptoms, but the effects last only until the next time they sleep. And if you use sleep deprivation for more than a night or two in one week, the mood-enhancing effects may drop off significantly.
Being able to develop and maintain intimate supportive relationships with other people is the survival skill of the 1990’s. Relationships are critical to our health. Realize that it takes time and effort to build these special relationships—then get to work. Do everything and anything you can do to develop the skills it takes to have quality relationships. That includes learning communication skills, improving self-esteem and taking the time to be with people.
Know that Action Equals Power
Talking about your fears and anger can be helpful, but for women, it isn’t enough to avert depression. Taking some positive action, on the other hand, creates its own energy which leads to a feeling of power and control. Doctors suggest ritual actions – burning a list of worries, for instance—and real actions—such as getting organized, getting enough sleep or delegating household chores—as ways to convert uncomfortable feelings into positive action.
Tell Your Internal Critic to Take a Hike
Do you have a little (or big) voice inside you that insists nothing you do is right? That you’re never going to get what you want?
Rather than trying to get it to go away, which it never does, change your response to it. Rather than just believing what it tells you, say to yourself ‘Okay, I understand that there is this critical voice, but I don’t have to listen to it.’
People with high self-esteem also have critical voice. But they know how to ignore it or respond to it as though what it’s saying isn’t true.
Avoid All-or-None Thinking
Do you get a C on an exam and feel like a failure? Do you miss out on a promotion at work and feel like a loser? If so, you tend to see things in black and white, with little or no gray in between. Few things in life are so extreme.
Depressed people tend to have a low frustration tolerance. They want immediate answers and immediate clarity. Typically, that’s the way they’ve learned to be. And that’s why they get depressed, because life choices are rarely clear and often ambiguous.
Learning to recognize and live with life’s uncertainties is a key strategy for avoiding depression.
Don’t Take Things Too Personally
Because someone doesn’t return your phone call, you decided to be angry with that person. That’s personalizing.
The problem with personalizing is that it’s not a very objective way to look at things. You jump to the first plausible conclusion, but is that the true explanation?
A key strategy for jettisoning this kind of faulty negative thinking is to generate multiple explanations for important thing that happen. Consider a variety of possibilities and look for facts. That, at least, puts you in reality.
Get to Know Yourself Better
People often get depressed when they aren’t doing what they want to be doing. They may want to play, for example, but feel they must always work. Fortunately, everyday life gives you the opportunity to ask yourself the important, self-determining questions. “Who are you? What do you want out of life? What are the things that really matter to you? What things do you need to include in your life that are uniquely you?” Make sure you build those things into your life.
Do a Medicine Chest Shakedown
Depression can be caused by many drugs. Some of them are those high blood pressure medications, sedatives like Xanax and Valium, anti-arrhythmic drugs, corticosteroids, prednisone, oral contraceptives, glaucoma medications, and those containing antihistamines.
Even if you’re taking medication for six months to a year, symptoms of this drug-related depression may not be noticed right away. But once you experience blues, discuss it with your doctor. It could still be your medication. Switching off to another drug might be suggested.