Depression: A Self Help Guide

In India Depression has become a common mental disorder. Even though WHO says, one in 20 Indians are suffering from depression, I would say each one of us is battling our lives with dark despair. Being depressed can make us feel helpless with a mental block whilst we don’t know what to do. Most of us can’t afford for therapy and sometimes even if we can afford we don’t know how to approach or explain about it to our family, but there’s a lot one can do on oneself to fight back. All we need to do is set our mind and by changing our behaviour and physical activity, lifestyle, also our way of thinking – we can help ourselves. Here are 10 natural ways to fight back the depression.  

  1. Routine– Dr Ian Cook, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA says that “you need a routine”. Depression scrabbles away the structure from your life. Setting an easy daily schedule can help you get back on track. I would suggest you make use of small journals and scratch it off once you’re done it. 
  2. Set goals– When you’re depressed, you could feel like you can’t accomplish anything, which in return can make you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself. “Start very small,” Cook says. “Make your goal something that you can succeed”. For example, watering the garden. As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals. To add on treating yourself when you accomplish your goal. And when you don’t do it, swap to something that you enjoy on the process.   
  3.  Exercise- It boosts effervescent chemicals- endorphins. It ends up long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise can embolden the brain to revamp in positive outlooks, Cook says. How much exercise do you need? Walking a few times a week can help. I would suggest while you’re going on a walk, observe the mother earth and appreciate nature. Observe birds and pay attention to small details like birds chirping, rain droplets on the leaves.  
  4. Eat healthily– Either you end up binge eating or you don’t eat anything at all. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better. Although nothing is definitive, Cook says there’s evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression. 
  5. Get enough sleep-Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression even worse. Overthinking prefers to choose you at night time, don’t let unwanted things wander your mind eventually that can make you worry about unnecessary things which can be dangerous. Instead, watch your favourite shows. Try to get some laugh out of that and then go to bed. 
  6. Take on responsibilities- When you’re depressed, you would pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and work. Don’t give up. Staying involved with your daily responsibilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help your counter depression. This can ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment. Try to take responsibility for your siblings or try to involve yourself in a volunteering programme. 
  7. Challenge negative thoughts- In your fight against depression, most of the work is mental — changing WHAT you think. When you’re depressed, you end up with the worst possible conclusions. The next time you’re feeling terrible about yourself, use LOGIC as a natural depression treatment. Give a counter-question – when you feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control. 
  8. Check with your doctor before using supplements– “There’s promising evidence for certain supplements for depression,” Cook says. Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAME. Say No to medications, go for when things are out of your hand. 
  9. Do something new– When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Take a language class. Try going to dance class. Learn an instrument. Try new cuisines. You can involve yourself in many ways. “When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain,” Cook says. “Trying something new alters the levels of (the brain chemical) dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.” 
  10. Try to have fun– If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? “That’s just a symptom of depression,” Cook says. You have to keep trying anyway. Go out with a friend. Make time for yourself. Try to explore a few places and have fun.

PS: Remember your mind is your great friend when you can control it and it’s your great enemy when it controls you. If you think, you need to try for free therapy, then just go for it. You need help and there is no wrong in asking for it. Check out this article,  I have suggested a few free phone therapies. 

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