Everyone gets sad sometimes. After all, life can’t be rosy every minute of every day, right? But, what happens when those feelings linger longer than they should or they’re a little more intense than just normal everyday woes? Could you be depressed?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family, spending time with friends, or going to work or school, it’s likely a major depressive episode.”
Essentially, it’s when you can no longer do your day to day activities in a normal fashion and the things that once brought you joy in life no longer excite you.
If you believe or know that you are depressed, don’t think that this is how life is going to be from now on. Depression is very treatable – and you don’t have to resort to drugs to start to feel better.
There are several all-natural options that you have at your disposal that can turn your life from sad and dreary to happy and cheery.
Meditation helps beat depression in a number of ways. It increases your brain’s neuroplasticity which helps you make positive changes and it also boosts certain “feel good” chemicals such as endorphins, DHEA and serotonin.
So, when you perform meditation regularly, if is as if you’re taking medication because you’re essentially getting your body to release its own natural prescription.
Admittedly, if you’ve never tried it before it takes some practice to get used to. In this day and age where everything seems to involve hustle and bustle, it can seem unnatural to slow yourself down enough to sit in total peace and quiet. However, once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you ever survived mentally without it.
One meditative technique to try is focused breathing. This is when you find someplace quiet and distraction-free to close your eyes and just breathe. Take long, slow, deep breaths into your nose and hold them for a moment before exhaling them just as slowly out of your mouth. Focus on nothing other than the air as it enters and exits your body.
When your mind wanders (which it likely will until you get used to it), just bring it back to your breathing. Start out doing five minutes a day and as you grow comfortable with it, you can increase your time from there.
You’ll notice a big improvement in your thoughts and moods quite quickly, allowing you to start to overcome your depressive feelings.
This is one solution to depression that a lot of people have a difficult time with. It’s tough enough to struggle with whatever life throws your way, but to feel like you can’t handle it yourself and to have to ask for help can often feel like you’re adding insult to injury.
Admitting to someone else that you feel like you’re in over your head can make you feel like a failure; like you’re not strong enough to handle it on your own. However, it’s actually quite the opposite. Going to someone in your time of need signifies strength. That’s why it is so hard to do – and that is why so few people actually do it.
Who do you go to? You can start with family and friends as they’ll look out for you and want to see you happy so they’ll likely do whatever it takes to help you achieve that. If you belong to a church or other religious organization, you can also approach some of the clergy or other members who you know and trust for some guidance.
Of course, there are always counselors and therapists who are trained in depression that can help you get your life back on track. They’ve had a negative stigma for quite some time, but they do offer a lot of insight as to what depression is and what may work best for you and your situation.
It’s normal and natural to feel depressed in life if you don’t know where you’re headed. You just wander aimlessly through your days unsure of your purpose and where to go from here. So sometimes, just setting a goal is enough to get you reenergized and refocused.
Come up with something that you want to accomplish that would bring you joy. Maybe you have had a dream to begin a non-profit organization or perhaps you know you would feel better if you lost a few pounds. Whatever it is that excites you, commit to doing it.
In order to make your goal stick, you’re going to want to make it specific, set a deadline and create a plan about how to make it happen. Envision yourself reaching it. Imagine how great it’s going to feel once it is accomplished. Use those visions and feelings to help you make it a reality.
It’s hard to feel good mentally if you don’t feel good physically. Your mental being is very connected to your physical being so the more you take care of your body, the more benefits your mind and mood will receive.
Aim to eat nutritious foods that give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at maximum efficiency. Quit feeding it junk food that makes you feel lethargic and empty and focus on the foods that make you feel alive. Eat a lot of lean proteins, fruits, veggies and complex carbohydrates.
If you’re an emotional eater, this may be extremely hard for you as you’ve come to count on food to provide all of the positives that life seems to withhold. You learn to go to the fridge and cupboard when you feel weighted down mentally.
While emotional eating can be a difficult habit to break, it is possible. And, once you learn to deal with your emotions in non-food ways, you’ll find that any extra weight that you have been hanging on to will fall right off your body.
In addition to eating right, you’ll also want to get more active physically. Just as meditation releases endorphins, so too does exercise. It increases your energy levels and boosts your mood naturally and effectively. Aim for 30 minutes of some form of activity most days of the week for the best results.
If your life feels blah and your days are all the same, it’s time to mix things up a bit. You need to try something new to wake your brain up and start to enjoy life again.
Now would be a great time to try a class that you’ve been interested in or join a club that has like-minded people. Or, if you’d like to start small, it can be as simple as driving home from work a different way or moving the furniture around in the house. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do something new and different.
While habit and repetition can bring you peace and comfort, they can also make you feel sedated and lifeless. You know what to expect so nothing takes you to those higher levels of joy and elation. Strive to constantly learn and engage in new things and depression won’t have time to take hold.
It’s no fun living a life that feels empty and meaningless. Do these five things and you don’t have to. It’s time to experience all of the great things that life has to offer. You deserve it.
Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.
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