There are times in our lives when we feel drained. You don’t feel like eating, or you eat too much, sleep becomes hard to come by or you work more or less than your are supposed to. These traits can be levelled down to one suffering from stress or depression. And chronic stress in life increases the risk of developing depression if not handled well.
Depression affects more than 264 million people of all ages globally according to the World Health Organisation, with further studies showing that women are more affected than men.
What one considers fun might be someone else’s exhibition of depression. Some of the causes of depression can be derived from faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications or underlying medical problems.
We can’t run from it, but we can find ways to control and cope.
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Take things positively
Mental conviction is powerful. Challenge negative thoughts by counteracting them with positive ones as briskly as possible. Always remember that today’s failure isn’t an indication of tomorrow and you haven’t lost tomorrow’s opportunity yet, you just need to try again.
Some days don’t work out as expected no matter the approach you take but there is always a fresh start for everything and the more you fail, the more you learn and become wiser and cultivate confidence. But remember to set realistic goals that can be attained.
See the good
Take a pen and write down things that went well and those that didn’t. Recognise the good instead of the bad. Appreciate your effort by rewarding yourself and after this try to find solutions for each problem.
You can have a routine for each task, and keep in mind that you don’t do all of them at the same time.
Research and seek guidance and solutions on how to overcome the issue. Prior preparations prevent poor performance.
Diet is key
You are what you eat, it has been said. What you eat and drink affects how you think.
Eating healthy food promotes the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn positively affects neurotransmitter production. When neurotransmitter production is in good shape, your brain receives these positive messages loud and clear, and your emotions reflect it.
Incorporate whole food, fibre (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans), antioxidants such as leafy green and vegetables, folates, vitamin D and magnesium.
Avoid preservatives, processed foods, food colouring and other additives as they may cause or worsen hyperactivity and depression.
Sleep is essential and one is should try to get enough. Seven to nine hours of sleep daily is recommended. Though depression can affect sleep, one can introduce a daily sleeping schedule from the time they go to bed and wake up.
Removing distractions from the room like television and computer and the worst, mobile phones, can help. By maintaining a strict schedule, you’ll realise you feel balanced and energieed when you wake up.
Eighty five per cent of our brain tissue is water and when one is dehydrated, energy generation in the brain decreases. Dehydration causes stress, and when your body is stressed, you experience depression and anxiety as a result.
It is recommended that we down at least have eight glasses of water daily. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they dehydrate the body.
Do something you love
When you are depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything, you feel numb. You can listen to music as it’s believed to have a soothing effect that relaxes the brain, spend time in nature, spend time with loved ones, volunteering can be a good way to do that as it introduces a third party perspective to the outlook of one’s life.
Try something new
Get out of your comfort zone and try out something new, something that will not only challenge you, but will divert your brain from the fact it was depressed.
It can be reading a new book, travelling or making your way to a place you’ve always wanted to go, acquiring new skills like cooking, weaving, swimming etc. Basically anything with the potential of being a hobby.
Research suggests activities like meditation, yoga and deep breathing can help combat depression at the same time improve circulation and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
A 2018 study found that exercise leads to a 22 per cent higher likelihood of remission from depression compared with a person’s usual treatment. Exercise released temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
Trust social science to figure out some incredible things. Like how colours can help fight depression, especially blue and green, with both having calming effect and a sense of renewal and growth on someone’s feeling.
Could this be why resorts by the sea and in the lush green mountains are so popular with wellness centres and enthusiasts?