Amazingly, 18% of adults and 8% of adolescents in the United States are affected by some type of depression. It may not sound like much, but let’s put it another way: these percentages equal to over 40 million Americans! And the situation is not different in the rest of the world. Studies show that there are countries whose inhabitants are more prone to depression, and others where these cases are less frequent, but the global percentages show a similar picture. So, why are we all so depressed?
Most people have have dealt at least once in their lives with deep feelings of sadness. It is a normal reaction to experiencing loss, going through rough life struggles, or even a blow to your self-esteem. But if you are experiencing intense feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness that last for days, or even worse, weeks in a row, and these feelings keep you from functioning normally, then your state of mind may be something more than occasional sadness.
The first step in preventing depression is to understand what it is. Do some research, and get a good grasp on what causes depression, and which are its most common symptoms. Knowing what you are up against is half the battle. If you think that you or a loved one is suffering from clinical depression, get help. For cases of mild depression try these:
Take a Walk
Getting out of your normal environment for at least 30 minutes a day has shown to alleviate depression. This is especially recommended if your work involves spending a lot of time in front of a computer. Walking, just like other type of physical activity, releases endorphin, which boosts your mood and help you sleep better.
Take a Bath
Soaking in a hot tube can relax those tight muscles and help you feel less anxious. You can boost the relaxing effect using bath salt and oils. Take your time and try to clear your head of all thoughts while enjoying the hot water and the fragrances.
Enjoy Good Company
Hang out with friends who understand what you are going through and are willing to make you laugh. Try to surround yourself by positive people and you will see what an effect they can have on your mood.
Read a Book
Reading can be a temporary way to escape your worries by focusing on another world. Make time in your busy daily schedule for some reading. It is as important as getting out with friends or exercising.
Denying your depression, or keeping it bottled up inside, only lets it grow. Face reality and try to find a way to cope with it. The first step is to admit to yourself that you are going through a rough time. Try to understand the cause and to eliminate it, if possible. Then, find activities that improve your mood.
Take a Nap
If you’re not sleeping well, taking a 45 minute-1 hour nap during the day can help you refresh your body. Be careful not to oversleep as the afternoon nap is not meant to replace your night sleep. Switching clocks and living during the night has rarely helped people fight depression.
Have a “Go-To” Place
Create an ‘escape’ place. Add lots of natural sunlight, favorite scents, sounds, whatever makes you relax. It can be your bathroom, your bedroom or a corner of your living room. The important part is to have and enjoy it.
When you eat right your body feels better and so will you. Often ignored, diet has an tremendous impact upon our mood. Try to fill your daily diet with raw vegetables and to avoid fatty foods and carbohydrates.
Taking on too much, or high stressed projects, can cause anxiety and stress. Too much of either will only enhance your depression for a longer period of time. If your workload seems overwhelming, try to make a realistic schedule. Knowing that the amount of work you have to deal with every day is under control will reduce pressure.
Share with a Friend
Having someone that you can confide in and talk out your worries with can help you face them and find ways to overcome them. Don’t avoid communication. Surrounding yourself by friends will prove to be an efficient way of fighting depression.
If you or a loved one is suffering from more than mild depression, there are other things that you can do. Acknowledging the depression is the first step to healing. Agreeing to get help is the second. Most people will not seek help because they think it is shameful to admit to, or that they are showing weakness because they cannot handle their problems. Realizing that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, or something shameful actually means being strong.