The Dos And Do Nots Of Depression

The Dos And Do Nots Of Depression

What you should and shouldn't do in managing your depression.
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As a young woman who has struggled with depression for many years, I've discovered many different ways to handle (and NOT handle) depression.

DON'T stay in bed all day.

Depression's favorite thing to do is tempt you to stay in bed all day. Everything feels pointless anyway, right? Wrong.

While there's no shame in taking a personal, lazy day as a break from your busy life once in a while, laying around doing nothing all day only feeds into your depression- even though it's the only thing you want to do. The more time you spend alone with your thoughts, the more depressed you will feel. The unoccupied mind overthinks. Avoid it.

DO surround yourself with friends and family.

Ask your closest family members, friends, or co-workers to go out and do something fun together- even if that's exactly what you DON'T want to do. It will distract your mind, and a change of scenery is always beneficial to the brain.

Call up your best friend and go out to your favorite restaurant together, or to do your favorite activity: shopping, going to the beach, hiking, etc. Force yourself to go out. You'll feel better because of it.

DON'T drink alcohol.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it will only bring you down more.

Turning to alcohol as a way to deal with depression is not only unhealthy physically, mentally, and emotionally, it can also lead to alcoholism, which is an easy way to ruin your life and possibly die.

DO drink water.

The human body is 80% water, so your body needs a lot of it! Drinking a lot of water each day not only keeps you healthy and hydrated, but keeps you feeling good- compared to sugary fruit juices, coffees, and sodas, which can make you feel bloated and overall blah.

DON'T use unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Drinking alcohol is not the only unhealthy coping mechanism people turn to, although it may be one of the most common or obvious. Others may seem harmless, like sleeping much more than usual, or overeating. Eating and sleeping too much or too little are big symptoms of depression. Any sudden changes in your sleeping or eating habits are not a good sign. As long as you continue these habits, you will feel depressed. More extreme unhealthy coping mechanisms include drug use or even suicide attempts.

If you experience any suicidal thoughts or actions, please seek help or call this hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

DO use healthy coping mechanisms.

A very healthy coping mechanism is exercising (but not over exercising!) because it releases "feel good" hormones into the brain, which counteracts the physiological aspect of depression.

If you're a beginner, go for a walk around the block or on a hike with a friend. If you're a go-getter, join a local gym and talk to a physical fitness instructor there. Even though depression makes it seem impossible some days to get out of bed, and even more impossible to be physically active, the adrenaline you get from exercising will make you feel much better.

Another helpful coping mechanism involves finding an outlet for your emotions, whether it be creative: writing, taking pictures, painting, scrapbooking, or otherwise: using a punching bag or a stress ball, will help you release pent-up emotions. Channel your energy creatively. It's fun, productive, and will occupy your mind.

DON'T keep it inside.

If you're suffering from depression, it's easy to feel like you're all alone and that no one understands how you feel. But trust me, you're not alone. The World Health Organization has found that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. That's 5% of the global population.

Not to say that your case isn't unique. Everyone feels emotions differently, and everyone deals with them differently. My advice is to confide how you're feeling in a parent, sibling, or other close family member or best friend. The first step to solving any problem is admitting the problem exists. Speaking your feelings aloud helps you accept and work on them.

DO seek help.

Once you have confided in at least one person you trust how you are feeling, the next step may be to seek professional help. Keep in mind this isn't for everyone. But if you're feeling depressed and want to get better, talk to your primary care physician, and if they deem it necessary, they will refer you to a therapist or psychiatrist. (Therapists cannot administer medication; psychiatrists can.)

I'm not saying everyone who is depressed should go get on anti-depressants. But when you talk to your doctor about your symptoms, they will be able to officially diagnose you with depression, or may say that's not what it is at all. Other physical and physiological factors can go into giving you similar symptoms to depression, and your doctor will be able to identify that.

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Meditation: The Good, The Bad, and The Benefits

Is meditation effective? Is it for me? Should I try it? If you want answers to these questions, they are right below.

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The definition of meditation is different for anyone that you ask, but overall, it is used to clear the brain of any negative thoughts and calm the body down. Many people do it before bed to improve sleep or when they wake up to start their day with a positive attitude. Many religions and cultures incorporate meditation in its practices because of the many healing properties it has.

However, even after being proved as beneficial many times, many people still see no point in meditation and many people believe there is no reason to do meditation in a private setting. However, the many benefits of meditation outweigh the negatives and I am here to hopefully persuade you into incorporating this into your daily schedule.

First, meditation reduces stress and controls anxiety. Stress reduction is the reason a lot of people start meditation. mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. A type of meditation, called mindful meditation, can reduce the inflammation, which was proved by an 8-week study by ScienceDirect.com.

Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks, proven from that same 8 week study. It also helps control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses.

Secondly, meditation promotes emotional health. Some forms of mediation can lead to an improved sense of self and a more positive outlook on life. One study shows that symptoms of depression had decreased in adults when they incorporated meditation into their daily schedule by John Hopkins University researchers.

The inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines that we talked about before can affect mood, which lead to depression. Like we said earlier, these cytokines were reduced due to mediation. As I said before, meditation aims to get rid of negative thoughts in the brain in that period that you are doing it, but when you aren't it helps you recognize those thoughts and get rid of them in a healthy way. Meditation is important in practice, but it helps a lot in your day to day life.

Many people believe that meditation is pointless and there is no tangible evidence that supports the physiological benefits of meditation, however, I know it has changed my life and has made me a lot more of an optimist and I hope that this helped you into trying out meditation and hopefully incorporate it into your life.

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