There IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Here's how you can get there!
Imagine feeling so trapped in the stresses of everyday life that you physically can't move. When you're depressed, it can sometimes feel like you're feeling deeper into a black hole with no way out. Depression isolates you from those you care about, the hobbies and work that you love; it can also make you incredibly sick.
Due to this trap, you are unable to think positive thoughts and gloom continually runs through your head because all hope is gone. It's easy to slip into the darkness within this pit of despair.
Although everyone doesn't always experience the trap of depression in the same way, the commonality lies in the fact that depression has traps that make you feel even worse. These traps preserve the awful cycle of pain and hopelessness. If you are currently experiencing depression, avoiding these five behaviors can help put you on the right track again.
1. Hang out with people you trust.
When feeling depressed, it is easier to avoid social interaction. There seems to always be an excuse not to attend a fun time or family gathering; but connecting with another person is sometimes one of the easiest ways to help with depression.
It is not necessary to go to the big holiday party at work, but maybe just having coffee with or calling a trusted friend can help lift your spirit for an afternoon and start you on a better course of action for yourself.
2. Start exercising.
It has been scientifically proven that endorphins from exercising can help depression as much as medication. In fact, exercise that includes mindfulness or self-awareness, such as yoga or tai chi, does even more good to alleviate symptoms of depression (Gill, Womack, & Safranek, 2010). So, take a short walk during lunch or do 10 minutes of yoga even with a rented DVD if leaving the house is too much.
3. Fight your addictions.
Addictions, obviously, can mask the pain of depression temporarily. Smoking marijuana, drinking, and over-eating are all things that can replace the pain or loneliness for a while. This behavior does nothing but cover up the old problem while beginning a new one.
Using compulsive shopping as an example, depression may be alleviated by those $900 Jimmy Choo shoes; however, by the time the debt from the credit card bill comes, the depression is back now that there is significant debt—making it two big problems to solve.
4. Avoid sweets at all costs!
One can never say that a little chocolate isn't a great way to feel wonderful now and again—it even has antioxidants! However, a person in the throes of depressive disorder can turn to white flour carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy foods in excess. Not quite an addiction, but enough to impact health and not get enough essential vitamins, minerals, protein and nutrients from better chosen foods that can naturally work to help depression. Try to make yourself to eat more healthfully one day at a time and your mood will thank you for it.
5. Stop your negative thoughts right in their tracks.
It is easy to let a thought run away in your mind over and over again in your head like hiccups that will not pass. Pessimistic thoughts are normal when one is depressed, but you can have control over letting them take over your mind. If you cannot rid yourself of negative thoughts and ruminating on them until they almost feel as if the voice in your head has a life of its own, then it is time to call a professional counselor or therapist.
Methods such as client-centered listening and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you feel listened to while also giving you a real method for how to change the patterns of those thoughts. Simply put, depression is not something that has to be a life-long problem with the right tools to handle the symptoms when they come.
Again, not everyone gets caught in these depression traps and no one is suggesting that avoiding the traps are the cure for depression. However, some small changes can help with depressive symptoms and make coping easier, especially when being treated by medication and/or a professional counselor.
Remember, if you are depressed and feeling suicidal, call 1-800-SUICIDE or log on to www.imalive.com and speak or chat with a live-trained volunteer.