Depression can really make life hard for some people. For instance, many people with depression experience symptoms like a loss of appetite, anxiety, trouble sleeping, anger, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, and more.
On the far end of the spectrum, depression can be debilitating and make it hard for some people to leave the house or interact with anyone.
If you’re struggling with depression, it might seem like there isn’t a solution. The good news is there are several ways you can reduce the negative impact.
Here are some possibilities to consider. If any of these resonate with you, give them a shot because it just might help you feel better.
1. Try therapy
Many people have wonderful things to say about therapy and the impact it has had on their lives in terms of alleviating depression. If you’ve been thinking about finding a therapist, don’t wait any longer. A good therapist will give you all the tools you need to see things in a new way that will give you the power to make confident decisions and feel better about your world.
Seeing a psychologist on a regular basis can help you work through the cause of your depression and provide a supportive foundation when you’re going through a particularly rough time. Your psychologist can also work closely with a licensed psychiatrist to prescribe appropriate medication, which many people find helpful in alleviating depression.
Even if you’ve never thought about seeking professional help, don’t rule it out. Seeing a professional can help you with depression and associated comorbidities. For example, Dr. Sina Saidi, a psychiatrist in Boulder, CO, helps patients with depression as well as eating disorders, which can sometimes be experienced together.
You can also see a therapist to treat other issues related to your depression. For instance, a therapist can also treat sleep disorders, like insomnia, and help you get a better night’s sleep. Once you start sleeping better, you’ll start feeling better because your body will be getting that deep, restorative rest it needs to repair itself during the night.
2. Explore mindful meditation
Meditating may not eliminate all of your symptoms, but it will help you manage them better. When you meditate, you’re training your brain to react more calmly to situations rather than allowing feelings of stress and anxiety to surface. Over time, your triggers will be reduced, and your body won’t launch a stress response to things it used to consider a threat.
Research has shown that meditating for just 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can increase the gray matter in your hippocampus, which is the center of the brain responsible for learning and memory. This can help with depression by training your brain to remember the states of consciousness you achieve through meditation until they become your dominant state.
It doesn’t take any skill to benefit from meditation, so don’t worry about doing it wrong. Just find a quiet corner, turn off your phone, sit cross-legged on a pillow to elevate your bottom just a bit, and close your eyes. You don’t have to focus on anything specific. You can focus on your breath, repeat a mantra, or let your thoughts drift in and out. The longer you can meditate during each session, the better.
3. Adjust your diet
Depression can be alleviated by avoiding the foods that tend to make you feel bad or weighed down. For instance, fried foods, dense oils, heavy meat servings, dough, pasta, and fast food are just some of the foods that can make you feel heavy.
Avoid packaged foods, junk food, soda, and caffeine if possible. These foods have a negative impact on the body and can overwork your nervous system. Also, avoid foods that will stimulate your nervous system, like onions and garlic. Although, if you have high blood pressure from stress, onions (in moderation) can lower that.
4. Move your body
When you get your body moving with exercise, you’ll naturally feel good. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and some studies have found it to be an excellent alternative to medication for some people.
If you’re struggling with depression and find it difficult to get started, start small. Maybe jump some rope today and sprint down your driveway tomorrow. Start lifting weights or doing band exercises if that’s what you prefer. You don’t have to build a full gym in your garage. You just have to start moving your body however works best for you.
Depression doesn’t have to be permanent
Although it can seem like it will never go away, depression is treatable and it doesn’t have to be a permanent part of your life. If you’re struggling with symptoms that prevent you from living a full, rich life, seek the kind of treatment you resonate with most.
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