Table of Contents
- What is depression?
- Causes of depression
- Beating depression
- It is possible
What is Depression?
Have you ever felt like you were pulling away from friends and family? You have days where you want to sleep all day and you lose interest in things that made you happy. A time where you had thoughts of harming yourself or thoughts of suicide.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 322 million people worldwide, and about 16 million people in America, live with depression. Living with depression can feel like living under a cloud, and if you are one of the millions of people dealing with depression, the only thing you want to know is how to beat depression fast.
Major Depressive Disorder
However, Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is something else.
MDD is a type of mood disorder that can bring about long-lasting symptoms such as feelings of sadness for most of the day, lowered interest in things that used to bring you pleasure.
Some people experience weight loss due to a lack of appetite, others weight gain from eating things that make them feel good, but are no good for them.
You may have trouble sleeping or sleep too much.
Many people with MDD report feeling slow, like everything takes more energy to do, energy that they don’t have.
An overall feeling of fatigue may be a constant companion that you just can’t shake no matter how much sleep you get.
Feeling worthless, or like the future is hopeless.
Concentrating on work or school is increasingly harder.
The thought that the world, your family, or your friends might be better off if you were gone crosses your mind more and more.
MDD has to be diagnosed by a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. However, if you are noticing these symptoms in your life and are unable to get in to see a counselor, doctor, or psychiatrist, or you just want some tool to feel better quickly, this article is a great way to find some tools to help you beat depression fast.
Causes of Depression
There are many causes of depression. You could be reeling from the loss of a loved one. Maybe you recently got fired from your job.
Perhaps social distancing has you feeling cut off and disconnected from friends and loved ones.
Any of these difficult situations can leave you feeling lonely, scared, angry, or sad. All of those feelings are absolutely normal reactions to life’s stressors.
People feel low or sad throughout many points in their day.
There are many ways to beat depression. You can beat it by seeking help, naturally, with or without medication. Depression is manageable!
Beating Depression Naturally
Taking omega 3 along with antidepressants has shown better results. Those who are diagnosed with depression tend to have lower levels of omega 3.
What is Omgea 3? Fatty acids found in fish, plants and eggs.
According to One How To health, exercise allows the brain to release positive emotions linked to dopamine. Dopamine can also help fight anxiety and stress.
Physical exercise like running or a more relaxed workout like yoga. Yoga can help with relaxing and connecting you to your whole body.
Meditation can help relax your body and mind. Meditation is you focusing on your breathing. When meditating you can be laying down in bed listening to nature sounds or whatever calming sounds you prefer.
The last natural way to beat depression is to have fun. Most of the time when you are in a depressed mood having fun is the last thing on your mind.
You must push yourself to get up and do something you enjoy.
1. Do something small that brings you comfort.
Maybe funny YouTube videos are your thing. Try watching your favorite movie or re-watching FRIENDS for the 100th times because Chandler makes you laugh.
Read the Harry Potter series for the 7th time. The goal is to do something you know you enjoy doing.
This is also a great way to lose yourself in one of your favorite worlds, so you are not so focused on this one and the thoughts and emotions that may be keeping you down.
We identify with the characters in our favorite books and movies, and going on the symbolic journey with them can make you feel like you are right there with them.
2. Reduce stress at home and work:
Our daily lives are full of unavoidable stress. We have to commute to work or attend a million virtual meetings.
There are so many demands on our time that it’s easy to feel pulled in a hundred different directions. That stress can keep your body flooded with hormones that are good if you are being chased by a tiger, but not so much if the stress is caused by your boss asking for the annual report.
Know that asking for help is okay. Also, figure out if you can scale back on some things at work or other commitments until you feel better.
You don’t have to finish everything today.
Another great way to reduce stress is to meditate or practice mindfulness. Set aside five minutes in a quiet comfortable place and just breathe. Try to clear your mind.
Don’t feel discouraged if your mind wanders, this is normal. Just bring your mind back to your breath until the time is up.
There are also great mindfulness meditations on YouTube.
3. Meet yourself where you are.
Yes, it would be great if you felt better, but the key to self-treatment for depression is to be accepting and loving towards yourself. Everyone struggles.
Depression is a very common mental health concern. It’s also a medical condition.
You are not depressed because you are weak or a failure. Depression is caused by underlying thoughts and triggers, not anything that you did or didn’t do.
You are not alone.
16 million of your fellow Americans are going through something similar to you right now. Just because you feel depressed today, doesn’t mean you will feel that way tomorrow.
4. Do something small everyday.
Accomplishing a small task every day, like making your bed, or cleaning off your bathroom sink can help you feel like you are more in control of your life. It’s getting a bit of your power back.
Follow the one-minute rule: If a task can be completed in less than a minute, do it now instead of putting it off until later. You will feel a sense of accomplishment that can lift your mood a bit.
5.Try to get a full night’s rest.
This could be difficult for many people living with depression. Insomnia is a common complaint for many people.
Not getting enough sleep, or sleeping too much can make depression worse.
Be sure and check your sleep hygiene to be sure you are not sabotaging your sleep patterns.
Be sure to turn off all devices thirty minutes before bed, or better yet, leave the tv and phone out of your bedroom completely so your brain knows that your bedroom is for sleep only.
Get into bed at the same time every night. If you struggle to fall asleep after thirty minutes, read a book, or do something else that calms you down.
This is also a great time to meditate, or try Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This is a great program to follow that helps you relax every part of your body.
6. Listen to happy or calming music.
Our mood can be affected by the music we listen to. Who hasn’t listened to a sad song and felt your eyes getting a little wet?
Or go to a club and start dancing when your favorite song comes on. It brings an instant smile to your face. It may even help reinforce positive emotions that can boost mood and decrease anxiety.
Calming music can have the same effect. This is a great soundtrack for meditation.
7. If you’re up to it, take a walk around the block.
I know there are days when the depression is at its worst that just getting out of bed feels like a monumental task, and exercise might be the last thing you want to do. However, we know there are many therapeutic reasons to walk around.
Research has shown that exercise can increase feelings of well-being. It may help you feel more energetic. There have even been studies that show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as an antidepressant, but with much better side effects (weight loss, increased fitness, sleep better, improved memory, to name a few).
8. Create a morning, evening or even daily routine.
It might sound silly, but having a routine, or something to look forward to every day can keep you on track. It can give you a feeling of structure that depression may have taken from you.
It can allow you to build some self-care techniques into your day.
9. Aim for nutritious whole foods every day.
I’m not suggesting that you need to go vegan (although there are studies that suggest eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes and avoiding fast food, sugary drinks, processed meats (hot dogs), refined grains (white bread),and fried foods can lead to happier moods).
While cooking a full meal might be beyond you right now, start small. There’s a reason the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is still around.
Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Try a new meal delivery service that will do the cooking for you like Freshly.
10. Focus on the positive.
Everyone is guilty of only noticing things that fall in line with our beliefs. This is called confirmation bias.
So, if you think that your day is going to be terrible, you only notice the things that went wrong. You forget to notice the bright spots.
If you only notice your bad mood, you forget to notice the times you smiled or felt love.
Start keeping a positivity or gratitude journal where you make yourself think about five positive things that happened to you every day.
Change can begin with the smallest thing.
11. Ignore your depressed voice.
Depression may make you feel like you just want to stay in bed all day, or at least that’s what the depression voice is telling you to do. Everything feels like a struggle, just thinking about getting out of the house to do something fun or meet up with friends feels like more than you can handle in the moment.
That negative voice in your head is constantly telling you that you are not good enough, or that your friends will have a better time if you don’t show up, or that if you do show up, you won’t have fun. Some days that voice can be a whisper and other days it can sound like a megaphone.
The thing is, that voice, it’s just words in your head. It only controls you if you let it.
Whatever the depression voice is telling you, do the opposite.
If the depressed voice says “don’t go to the party because it won’t be fun”, or “no one will talk to you,” do the opposite. Going to that party and having fun, or even standing against the wall and having a drink and some conversation is better than staying in your bed alone in the dark.
Plus, doing what you fear is the only way to show your brain there’s nothing to fear.
12. Set attainable goals.
I’m not saying that this is time to create a huge list of thirty things that you have always wanted to accomplish. Remember, we are being gentle with ourselves and taking baby steps.
When setting a goal, you want it to be very specific, measurable, and attainable. While a goal to go to the moon by your next birthday might be measurable and specific, it’s probably not attainable.
Focus on the areas in your life where immediate results will lift your mood. For example:
· Take out the trash everyday
· Call a friend (insert name here) twice a week to check-in
· Answer three important emails every day.
Start with one, complete that task, and then set another goal. Attaining these goals will help give you a sense of accomplishment, a definite mood booster.
It will also help you feel confident to address more difficult goals.
13. Be open to new things
We all get stuck in our lives, doing the same things, going to the same places, eating at the same restaurants. Mix it up a little.
Try that Thai restaurant that just opened up down the block. Get a massage if you’ve never had one before.
Find something that will get you out of your rut.
14. Be honest with friends and family about how you are feeling.
This can be incredibly scary but sharing your emotions and mental state with the people you love can only help. Strong relationships are one of the best ways to help you feel better.
Connecting with a friend or family member can provide a natural boost and let you find a reliable source of support and encouragement.
15. Reward yourself for all your hard work.
Meeting your goals, big or small, is worthy to be recognized. Your successes are worthy of celebration.
When you achieve a goal, do your best to recognize it.
Take a moment to congratulate yourself and get your positive endorphins flowing as you tell yourself what a good job you did, even if the task was making your bed every morning before work.
Having a memory of a job well done may help you fight back against negative self-talk when your brain tells you that you can’t do something, or are not worthy of happiness.
16. Avoid self-medicating.
Many people feel better after a drink or two, but alcohol is actually a depressant and can make you feel worse when you are already down.
You can have more severe episodes of depression when drinking alcohol. Also, drinking alcohol while on antidepressants can cause the medication to be less effective.
It is Possible
Beating depression is not impossible to accomplish. Depression is manageable with practice, skill and drive. We hope by reading this blog you were able to gather some information to help you or a loved one on the journey of beating depression.
Take these skills and use them to your advantage.
Remember start where YOU are, meaning start where you feel comfortable, if that is changing your diet, learning to motivate yourself or doing small things around the house, work at your own pace when managing depression.
Do not be ashamed to ask for help. We all need a little help sometimes!!
Do not let your fear or diagnosis hold you back from success. You may have to work harder than others, but it is possible!
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, any goal or dream is reachable when you stay motivated.”