10 Steps to Overcoming Depression

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here is some real world practical advice that may help you overcome or manage episodes of depression in your life.

1. Consider turning off the news in the morning or at night before you go to bed. Hearing about or watching tragic events taking place in their community or globally can affect some people and elicit feelings of fear and sadness.

The morning when you first wake up and in the evening just before you go to bed are often the times when our subconscious mind is most receptive to information.
2. Use the wrist band technique. A co-worker of mine mentioned she had heard on the radio about a minister who asked his congregation to put a rubber wrist band on their right wrist. Whenever they complained about something or criticized someone they would switch the wrist band from their right wrist to their left wrist. This may increase your awareness as to how often you may be complaining about others and situations which definitely will affect your outlook and mood.
3. Avoid depressing triggers. Be careful not to listen to old songs, look at old photos or visit places that trigger memories of past events connected to sadness. Focus on people, places and things that tend to lift your mood rather than bring you down.
4. Know what works to lessen your feelings of depression. Think about those situations and activities you recall that have worked in the past that have helped you make it through times when you are feeling down. Sometimes I ask my clients "Can you think of specific moments or times in your life in which you do not feel depressed? What is different about those times? What had taken place?"
5. Be careful of the sugar-carbo cycle. Sometimes eating foods that are high in sugar content or high in carbohydrates such as breads and pastas may take you on a real mood swing trip making you feel good for a short time and then sending you for an emotional crash. Also check out the internet studies related to the connection between caffeine and cortisol, serotonin production and adrenal gland exhaustion and how this may impact your mood.
6. Realize that you can't make everyone happy. In my work as a professional psychotherapist in the field of psychiatry I have worked with some people who are depressed since they believe it is their responsibility to make everyone in their family "happy". We cannot control and regulate the emotional states of others on a continual basis. Be careful not to become so enmeshed that your emotional state is based upon the happiness of others or you are in for one roller coaster ride.
7. Seek to discover your purpose and passion in life. Sometimes feelings such as depression and frustration plague us when we are not taking daily steps towards living out what we were born to do. Someone once said "If you love what you do you will never have to work a day in your life". Depression can be part of being out of harmony with your life's purpose.
8. Be careful of group therapy that may be harmful to you. Getting together with others listening to them talk about their depression and all the stuff that is wrong in their life without being steered toward solutions can sometimes make others in the group feel more depressed before they came to the group! Look for a group of people who are focused on finding solutions rather than ranting. A positive group experience is one in which achievements are shared and celebrated as well as some of the challenges facing group members.
9. Find a successful role model. Look for someone who had experienced the same type of symptoms you are having in terms of your depression who are now able to manage them effectively. Find out from them what techniques and strategies they are using. Make sure they are constructive and not injurious to your health in any way.
10. Consult your family doctor. It may be possible that you have some kind of medical condition setting off the feelings of depression. If you are considering taking any type of medication investigate the side effects and in the case of anti-depressants ask about the possibility of weight gain and how it may affect your sex life.
This article has not covered all the points that may be addressed related to this subject. However, I trust some of these tips may be helpful.


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