By now, you have discovered that depression may not be a state you can snap out of at will. This benign state of mental health guts down and takes all zest out of life. Unfortunately, in some cases, it may not be obvious to others that a person is depressed and in need of attention. Today we offer our support through these seven tested and workable ways to get your life back.
Depression affects everybody, from young children to the aged. Fortunately, these remedies come tailor-made to bring wellness regardless of the age group.
1. Medical Intervention
In many circles, people are oblivious to the fact that depression is a medical problem that requires intervention from a doctor or pharmacotherapy. Antidepressants are used to alleviate this emotional disorder. Depression is relatively widespread in society with one out of ten people in America using antidepressants on prescription.
An insight into the nature of these drugs highlights the most effective of them as well, as the accompanying side effects. Note that it may take several weeks before you notice any positive effects of these medications.
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)
These treat acute depressive disorders by increasing the production of serotonin and norepinephrine. They conversely reduce acetylcholine production and therefore balancing neurotransmitters to stabilize mood disorders. The drugs manage patients with an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
While under TCA therapy, many patients notice these side effects in varying degrees:
- They sedate causing drowsiness
- Dryness of the mouth
- Low blood pressure and dizziness
- Hives and rashes
- Change in body weight
Common examples of these drugs are Amitriptyline, Doxepin, and Amoxapine. These drugs cause some level of dependency, even with just a few doses. This means that abrupt discontinuation of their use will cause withdrawal symptoms. For that reason, you should not use these drugs without a prescription and constant monitoring by a doctor.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Brains cells send out signals, which need a neurotransmitter like serotonin to deliver them to the target cells. The brain cells secrete the neurotransmitter and then absorb it and release it again to send out the next signal. This absorption and release of the neurotransmitter is a process called reuptake.
Depression inhibits the functioning of the parts of the brain that transmit signals using serotonin. These antidepressants block the reuptake process and facilitate the accumulation of serotonin to achieve optimum neurotransmission.
SSRIs are the safest among antidepressants because they have mild and fewer side effects. Some examples of these include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Paroxetine.
Of the side effects of SSRI use, the most worrying is the possible development of suicidal thoughts in some people. In rare circumstances too, they can lead to serotonin syndrome. Other common side effects include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stomach discomfort and diarrhea
- Sexual dysfunction and low libido
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Few people use this class of antidepressants today because of their side effects. Notable of this is the dietary restriction where the drugs cause a severe reaction when taken amid the consumption of tyramine containing foods. If you are required to take these medicines, you must avoid foods and condiments like soy sauce, nuts, aged cheese and meat, and alcohol.
Another precaution is the occurrence of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition caused by combining MAOIs with other serotonin-boosting foods or drugs. They also contribute to the risk of developing hypertension. Other side effects include:
- Skin reaction like a rash
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
Emsam, Phenelzine, Isocarboxazid, and Tranylcypromine comprise some drugs in this group. They work by inhibiting the effects of monoamine oxidase, which disintegrates serotonin. Without disintegration of serotonin, the neurotransmitter increases and eventually decreases depression.
Serotonin Syndrome manifests symptoms like:
- Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
- High body temperature
- Lack of consciousness
These require emergency medical attention. Apart from the mentioned side effects of those antidepressants, you should notify your doctor of any other discomfort experienced while under their therapy.
2. Psychosocial Support
Dark moods love solitude. In such situations, keeping to yourself and enjoying your own company will not further your cause in your road to recovery. Hooking up with other people goes beyond dusting your social media profile and adding to your list of casual online acquaintances.
Suffice to say you can make some real and enduring friendships on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. However, mental health concerns call for supportive interpersonal relationships with people you meet with often.
Surrounding yourself with a warm and understanding circle of friends and family encourages conversations about issues that cause anxiety. With their reassurances and help find yourself suitable anxiety treatment and get new strength to face challenges that overwhelm your spirit.
It’s understandable that you prefer to be by yourself or you’re feeling a bit rusty for the social scene. Have faith as we promise that these following tips will get you back on the show to rekindle old friendships and build new ones.
Have more family meals
Have you been turning down those persistent invites to the weekly family lunch or dinner? Sharing meals with your family enhances emotional adjustment that we need to cope with life. Experts emphasize that people committed to having about five dinners with their families produce better results at work and school.
Family dinners often provide a warm environment where family members unwind as they discuss their achievements and struggles of the day. What better way to find inner peace other than a hearty home-cooked meal relished with banter with people who allow you to be yourself? Such a stable family atmosphere provides an anchor for a person experiencing depressive feelings. It’s a healthy way to deal with stress and depression.
Get back with old friends
Although making new friends is encouraged, old and trusted friends will serve better. They understand and tolerate your quirks and encourage you to keep your chin up. Besides, you have a lot in common. Make time in your schedule to join them for some chitchat or for a fun activity that you all enjoy.
Even if you may not feel confident to discuss your cloudy feelings with them, you will find those simple things like returning their calls, or going out to dinner, a picnic, or for an excursion in such a company lights you up considerably.
Exercise with a friend
Although the benefits of a workout done individually is an answer to good health, going for a jog or to the gym with a workout partner motivates you to maintain your exercise schedule. Workout companions become accountability partners encouraging each other to stick it out to the end.
Besides, studies show that the positive emotional effect of exercise done in groups or with a partner can prevail up to 24 hours after the session. You can also explore learning a sport or joining a team. The physical exertion relieves stress and pent-up tension.
Seek solace in others
Contending with depression is a state that one out three people in America finds themselves in through the course of life. This means that you are not alone in this situation. Confide in a trusted and sincere companion about your plight.
Sometimes it could happen that a person’s behavior could be the source of your distress. It would appear that talking it out with the person is a step towards healing. Unresolved issues can cause feelings of extreme desperation, even suicidal at times. Sharing our concerns with loved ones brings us emotional support and hope for a solution to our distress.
Offer voluntary services
Many people in our society need our support and attention. We find channels of offering assistance by engaging in acts of charity through organizations in our neighborhoods. By engaging with the less privileged, we are able to divert our attention from introspection to noticing the unfortunate circumstances of others.
Also, the intrinsic reward of helping those in need bolsters self-confidence and makes us feel needed and appreciated.
Engaging in hobbies
Hobbies provide an opportunity to engage in favorite pastimes that gratify us. Some like music and crafts help in channeling of attention and emotions towards the activity instead of the personal emotional state.
The therapeutic nature of music depends on its genre. Soothing melodies lower cortisol, the stress-causing hormone, while loud and fast music pumps it up increasing stress and depression. This is an opportune time to sign up for that music class.
3. Appropriate Nutrition
The thought of your favorite comfort food is appealing. Often comfort food gets the unfair label of unhealthy food. Of course, we know the physical effects of poor dietary habits. These cause health complications like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. These complications further increase stress and depression and can leave a big dent on self-esteem.
However, nutrition plays a role in mental health. Any factors that affect blood sugar or the cardiovascular system also affect the brain. This is because the brain also conducts metabolic processes for which it requires energy and nutrients.
Sometimes all it takes is a good meal to lift your mood. Nevertheless, there is more to food as an antidepressant. The food contains crucial depression-fighting components to become a source of healing.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fats and oils do not make it to the healthy foods list due to the implications of bad cholesterol. This nutritional component builds up serotonin levels to balance your mood. Your body, however, needs portions of oils like the Omega-3, which you can find in select foods.
- Seafood and fish
Tuna, salmon, and sardines top the list as the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. By the way that fishing trip will not only bring back your smile but will also bump up your omega-3 options. Apparently, wild-caught fish offer higher omega-3 content than canned fish off the shelf.
Hazelnuts, cashew nuts, and walnuts are a crunchy source of omega-3 fatty acids from the plant world. Study shows that people who consume nuts record scores of lower than 26% in depression prevalence tests.
These increase blood supply to the brain and keep you alert by improving your cognitive functions. You will get your share of flavonoids in dark chocolate and this explains the relaxing feeling from eating chocolate. Dark chocolate reduces depressive feelings by about 70% by boosting serotonin levels.
This is another serotonin booster. You will find ample amounts of tryptophan in:
- Ripe bananas
Munching away at a banana or two daily lowers stress levels and depression and that’s why it’s called the happy fruit.
- Poultry meat
If the thought of chicken breasts lights up your day then you are on your way to recovery. Regardless of the recipe you choose, your serving of chicken is white meat and a source of the recommended lean proteins you need to fuel your brain functions.
Zinc deficiency causes many anomalies in body functions. Of these complications is the inadequate production of neurotransmitters. Eggs are a rich source of zinc and proteins, probably the reason why they pick you up when you take them for breakfast.
Even as you consume these mood boosters, remember that a balanced meal in adequate portions goes a long way in maintaining your overall wellness. In addition to that, ensure you take plenty of water to flush out toxins. Body cells need hydration to perform their functions and for replication.
From that, you may find it advisable to explore the possibility of consulting a nutritionist for dietary advice that can help in overcoming depression.
4. Lifestyle Choices for Wellness
In our quest for good mental health, we cannot understate the role our lifestyle choices play in sustained wellness. Every step in our daily lives goes to painting the large picture of our mental health. If you repeatedly feel bogged down and deflated, it might help to look around you and see that some of these activities we take for granted can be the game changers you yearn for.
A session on the meditation mat
Many cultures have used meditation for centuries as a way of achieving mental balance. The calming effect of sitting in a quiet place or having a yoga session is a therapy proved to relieve stress and reduce the ravages of depression.
Neurologists found that meditation restructures and strengthens pathways used as neuronal circuits by the brain. It exercises the less used channels and in the end, it builds your overall mental abilities.
Some experts recommend meditation as an alternative in manipulating behavioral patterns. The brain exercise counters its deterioration, which would otherwise lead to mental issues like dementia, agitation, depression, and amnesia.
Curl up with your book
When you hear that books transport us to another world, that journey wouldn’t come at a better time than when you’re trying to keep dark thoughts away. As you become absorbed in the content, it becomes a needed distraction from self-defeating thoughts.
Some books also contain information that boosts self-affirming thoughts to encourage you to take a proactive role in coping with your situation.
Research is ongoing on the role of books in restructuring the brain and enhancing the production of mood-boosting hormones. Whichever way, a relevant book can help you find inner peace and change your perspective for brighter days ahead.
Keep it real
Sometimes life can make us feel worthless when we commit our focus on competing with others. Chasing amorphous lifestyle standards set by social media posts can make us feel as though we do not measure up.
Avoiding such hype and not chasing fads and trends is one way of avoiding unnecessary mental torture. Consider switching off your social media handles and taking a fresh outlook on your life, including appreciating your achievements and dignity.
Also, such interactive platforms can expose you to trolling and distressing information. Ambition in life is good but in excess, it is a source of mental anguish and depression. Separate yourself from associations, whether online or offline that put excessive pressure on you to change your identity. Maintaining relationships that perpetually take the wind out of your sails will obstruct your road to recovery.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Inadequate sleep makes us grouchy. Any change in your sleep patterns should act as an alert that things are getting out of balance in your life. Adequate sleep rejuvenates the brain and assists it to regenerate. Sleep disorders play a part in the manifestation of anxiety and depressive tendencies.
Sleep disorders can exhibit insomnia exhibit as insomnia where you unwittingly become a night owl. Count on a sleepless night to keep you fatigued and irritable from the moment you step out of bed. On the other hand, a sleep disorder can manifest in excessive drowsiness or irregular sleep with periods of unexplained night awakening.
You can improve your schedule and surroundings to boost your sleep quality and reduce the latent period in these ways:
- Making your bed and keeping your bedroom tidy and well aerated
- Taking a short walk before bedtime
- Adhering to a sleep timetable
- Keeping the bedroom light dim or switching it off when going to sleep
- Having a gentle massage
- Limiting consumption of alcohol or stimulants like caffeinated drinks before bedtime, and instead of taking a soothing glass of warm milk
- Switching off your phone to avoid interrupted sleep
- Taking a warm relaxing bath and if possible with calming essential oils like lavender
As you can see, it does not take much to get yourself well-rested. However, if you still have difficulty sleeping, and it is affecting your life, you can talk to a sleep therapist or a doctor to explore other viable alternatives.
Take a shower
After a good night’s sleep, what better way to get your brain back on active mode than a brisk shower. Not only is it refreshing, but it also encourages increased feelings of self-worth and self-care.
An appealing physical appearance improves mood greatly. You can consider hitting a spa, the barbershop, or a salon for some tender and loving care. You can also look in your closet for some attractive pieces to spruce your appearance, and throw some wow into your day.
Each day is a step
As you embark on your way to recovery, keep it at heart that this is a very personal journey. Move at your pace and exploit therapies that you feel work the best for you. You can keep a journal to chronicle your progress and to vocalize feelings and thoughts for relief.
It is alright to take naps or have some quiet time by yourself if you feel the need. If you are you have been on medication, take your drugs faithfully, and keep up with counseling sessions to hasten your recovery.
However, avoid mopping around all day. Findings show that even small tasks like cleaning up your house, sitting out in the sun or under the stars, opening the windows to let in natural light, and any preferences you have in making your surroundings cozy boost wellness considerably.
Cook your way out of moodiness
Activities with goals in focus form a good therapeutic session. They heal the brain and encourage their stimulation. Cooking strengthens your brain to cope with stress. You must wonder how. For one, the aromas from food relax your brain. Also, the physical exertion of cooking activities, though mild, stimulates the mind.
The experience brings even greater rewards if you have company chipping in to help in preparing the meal and then cleaning up after. This is a chance for heartwarming and relaxing conversation as you spend quality time with loved ones.
Try some soothing tunes
We find most music uplifting and entertaining. Researchers take this a notch higher by recommending music therapy or a sound bath for depressive therapy. Soothing music separate from banging cacophony eases stress in the brain which releases alpha brainwaves.
If you can find music with about 60 beats per minute, experts say it would be best for promoting the alpha brainwaves’ production. Turn to your favorite tunes to lull or stimulate your brain depending on the cause of your low spirits.
Reconnect with nature
The feel of the wind in the hair, the tickle of grass under your bare feet, and the sun in your face- these are the small joys of life. You probably haven’t noticed them in a while. Going for a walk and taking in the exuberating yet calming displays of nature is another way of protecting mental health.
Such exposure prevents or slows down the progression of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression. These outdoor activities encourage the body to release endorphins which in turn reduce stress levels.
A sedentary lifestyle attracts numerous health complications. Regular nature walks form part of the exercise that you need for better physical health and to clear the mind. Alongside nature walks, if your circumstances allow, you can engage in gardening or nature conservation activities to help you release pent up stress.
5. Psychotherapy Support
Of the many approaches advanced in the search for effective management of depression, psychotherapy is one of the most documented and approved options. Talking to someone lessens mental burdens, and it helps when the listener is a trained therapist.
It has evolved over the years and its presentation varies depending on the patient’s condition and responsiveness. Therapy can take about four months depending on the acuity of the problem.
This therapy explores different relationships to correct any dysfunctions in them that could be the cause of mental stress for a member. Most types of counseling dwell on the interpersonal role of the client in a relationship and addresses matters concerning:
- Distressing incidents like the loss of a loved one
- Personal loss due to the removal of a significant aspect of personal life like loss of a job
- Role alteration where you take on a new role due to a change in a relationship for example in a marriage or after a divorce
- Role conflict where a relationship is weakened by the failure of a participant to take up the expected role in it, for example, an absentee parent or spouse
Therapy sessions can take any or a combination of the following forms:
In this scenario, the therapist convenes a group of individuals who present closely related emotional problems. The members take turns in discussing their situations and phobias. The therapist then addresses the concerns and guides with measures that will assist the members in overcoming what overwhelms them.
Group therapy encourages the cultivation of social interaction within the members of the support group. Out of such associations, members feel accountable to take charge of their recovery processes. Members also feel normal and encouraged when they freely share their problems with others in the group who are conversant with the challenges of coping with depression.
Though not so popular today, individual therapy gives the patient a chance at exploring issues they feel are private and need confidentiality. Such sessions also help in resolving personal conflicts and facing deep fears that may be the cause of depression.
Here, as the name suggests, the willing family members participate in the counseling session to help uncover the issues causing mental distress. Together they explore ways of supporting the depressed member to overcome.
Psychiatrists, counseling psychologists, and clinical social workers conduct therapy sessions after acquiring relevant training and certification.
6. Alternative and Modern Therapy
Treatment for depression has made great strides over the years and new and innovative procedures now exist. Studies show that these new ideas of approaching mental illness are effective, just like some of the traditional methods.
Ancient medical practitioners of the Orient gifted the world acupuncture as a method of relieving many types of mental and physical discomforts. Not only has acupuncture been effective, but it has stood the test of time and is favored today as a therapeutic procedure.
An acupuncture session involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body and this facilitates relief. Through this thought process, the body is encouraged to heal itself by producing antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving chemicals.
In the case of depression, acupuncture brings about the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. In the end, it balances the mood and regulates behavior to ease depression.
Emotional Support Animal Therapy
Taking care of an animal as a pet brings emotional comfort and experts cannot understate the positive impact of a pet’s unconditional affection on mental imbalances. Dogs, dolphins, and horses come highly recommended for the program.
The idea of emotional support animals is based on training an animal and registering it to provide specific support to people who have challenges in coping with daily responsibilities.
The challenges could arise from a physical or mental debilitation, or when a patient needs palliative care due to a chronic or terminal illness.
Authorities allow holders to travel with the animals. The certified professional in charge of your animal gives you an ESA letter of recommendation to allow you to take the animal with you even to animal restricted areas and without requiring a pet deposit fee.
Well, as the animal becomes a faithful and fun companion, the patient focuses on taking care of it which reduces introspection and depression. The animals, especially the canines receive training to assist the patient in running some errands. What better way to bring your smile back than playing fetch with your furry friend!
Virtual Reality Technology
Research and testing of new methodologies in the alleviation of mentally distressing conditions continue. These efforts have brought forth breakthroughs in the use of virtual reality technology as a remedy.
This is where a patient wears motion sensors that simulate 3D experiences which alter the perception of an authentic environment. They exploit three processes involving distraction, exposure, and training of the mind.
The 3D experience can be used to conjure pleasing and calming virtual settings as a distraction from negative thoughts. The training aspect of this therapy lets the practitioner use it to train the patient’s mind to unlearn negative responses to worrying situations. This premise holds that depressive behavior can be unlearned by exposing the brain to repeated acceptable stimulation.
7. Choosing Positive Thoughts
Everybody wishes to lead a happy life full of vigor and productivity. The challenges of daily life can bog you down and cloud your emotions. Nevertheless, you can fight back these feelings by choosing to focus on positive aspects and believing that things will work out anyhow.
To do this successfully, you can engage in activities you enjoy to distract you from the overwhelming sadness.
Make a conscious choice to appreciate the many positive things going for you instead of focusing on the dark aspects of your life, even imagined ones.
Have some chamomile tea
What makes chamomile tea special? Unlike other types of tea, chamomile contains chrysin and flavonoids. These elements induce relaxation and sleep. Its other benefits include its functions as an:
Seek out happy larks
If you keep the company of gloomy people, their mood will rub on to you. Joy can be infectious and the kind of company you expose yourself to can gradually affect your mental health. Hanging around happy people encourages you to adopt healthy and positive behavior and attitudes that help you to sustain your recovery.
In the case of group and family therapy, such companions will lift your spirits and offer a shoulder to lean on when you feel out of sorts.
Enjoy the shopping mall
Taking some time from your schedule to go out for some groceries is another way of distracting yourself. The attractive array of fresh farm produce at the grocery whets your appetite and you can start visualizing your exploits when you get back to your kitchen. You see this takes away your mind from your depressive thoughts.
The shopping mall indulges your eyes with its variety of products of different sizes, colors, and shapes, aisles upon aisles of numerous options. What about going to your favorite boutique and trying on some clothes, and a stopover at the free makeover for your face. The possibilities seem endless and your joy abounds.
Avoid retrogressive habits
Avoid engaging in habits that provide momentary pleasure but backtrack your recovery. Taking alcohol or narcotics and engaging in binge eating later eat into your self-esteem and overall health. Such behaviors deepen your depression and expose you to addictions and other mental health problems.
In the end, you are in control of your destiny even if it does not feel like it. By committing yourself to a recovery schedule, you focus your will and effort into leading a happy and fruitful life. Remember too, that the quality of our lives affects those around us.
Fortunately, the road to recovery is sure and you will come out healthier and more positive of the circumstances in your life to enjoy your life fully.