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Beat depression and feel better today

We all get depressed from time to time. It’s a natural human emotion. Most of us can overcome it but for some it can become a really big problem. Serious depression can lead to mental illness as well as physical ailments so it’s best to try and counter this negative feeling as soon as you can. Depression can have many faces. If you are not aware of your feelings and emotions on a daily basis then it can creep up on you and cause misery in your life when you least expect it. We get sad when we fail in our exams, when we're rejected by the person we love, or when someone very close to us passes away. Depression, however, could be more serious than just plain sadness. It could cause life-long consequences that could ruin your self-esteem, your health, and your well-being.

I’m no guru on combating depression but whenever it does strike, I try the following to get me out of that “funk”.

- Be grateful

Start or end every day by appreciating what you have rather than what you don’t have. Make a ritual of it: “I’m grateful for ..” Do this 5 times, listing a different thing each time. This will make you realize that you already have such a lot going for you and that you’re better off than many people around the world who’s living in terrible conditions.

- Set goals

Set short-term and long-term goals - If you have no goals then the future will seem uncertain. This will create anxiety and just add to the problem. Having goals gives you something to look forward to in life. They drive us on and create a desire for life. Keep your focus on your goals. Cut out pictures from magazines (pictures of the goals you wish to achieve e.g. new car, vacation, beautiful house, partner) and paste them on a board and put it in your room so that you’ll see it every day. This will remind you of what you’re aiming for and what’s to come in your life.

- Keep a journal

Every day, write down your deepest feelings. Say what you want to say. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Don't hold back. This is a very therapeutic way to pull yourself back up. Keep writing down whatever comes into your mind and very soon you will feel your mood start to improve. Done properly, this method can create dramatic changes in emotion.

- Get sunshine, get outdoors

This might sound silly but getting outdoors and getting some fresh air can do wonders for your mood! Lack of exposure to sunlight can cause an irritable mood and a lethargic condition. If you are always cooped up in your room (with the curtains closed), it would be difficult to restrain yourself from staying in bed. This is the reason why many people suffer from depression much more often in winter than in the other seasons. It's because they’re cooped up indoors most of the time. If you can't go outdoors to get some sunshine, you can always lighten up your room with brighter lights. Have lunch outside the office. Take frequent walks instead of driving your car over short distances.

- Get inspired

Read motivational books, watch a motivational movie or television show. It's a fact that people are also happiest when they are producing something. Do some activity that you have always wanted to do. What is it that you really love to do? What are you passionate about? Do you have a hobby? Taking a nice walk in the park, playing sports, reading books, or listening to some soothing music? Whatever gets your juices flowing.

- Make some time for yourself.

Listen to your favorite music. Soak in a nice warm bath. Ask one of your close friends to visit you. Take a break from your stressful workload and spend the day just goofing around. In other words, have fun and get your mind off your troubles.

- Eat healthy and exercise regularly.

Avoid foods with lots of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. Sugar and caffeine may give you a brief moment of energy; but they would later bring about anxiety, tension, and internal problems. Alcohol is a depressant. Many people drink alcohol to “forget their problems.” It never works and in fact only creates bigger problems like alcoholism and family fights. The only way to handle problems is to confront them and admit that you have the problem. Describe your problems in your journal fully. If you really face them the right solution might appear. Exercising regularly is a vital depression buster. Go jogging with a friend or just somewhere nice where you feel relaxed and can have fun with somebody you enjoy having around.

- Improve your social life.

Your friends are there to give you moral support. Spending time and engaging in worthwhile activities with your friends could give you a very satisfying feeling. Nothing feels better than having group support. Get intimate. Establish close ties with your family and friends. The love you get from others is very satisfying. In times of depression having stable influences around you is comforting. Talk to a friend – not by email, but over the phone, or better still, get together.

- Drink more water

It’s good for your skin and body, helps you to avoid constipation, and may help you to lose weight as we often misinterpret the body’s thirst request as a food request. When we gain weight we tend to get depressed as well.

- Volunteer to help someone else

Help some less fortunate or someone who is ill. This will make you feel really good, knowing that you did a good deed for the day. It’s believed that we live longer and happier lives if we spend time helping others rather than just thinking about ourselves.

- Have a laugh

Rent a hilarious comedy, read a joke book, watch funny clips on the internet and indulge. Just have some serious fun.

Take control of your own life. Follow these tips. Come up with some of your own solutions and add to the list above and create your own “anti-depression toolkit”!

Society | Self-help

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