When stress and anxiety have given rise to a depressed state? This can manifest in a number of ways, from feeling generally low, out of sorts and lethargic, to a severe and life-threatening condition where the sufferer has suicidal feelings and loses interest in going on. NB: If your depression is the latter kind, professional help is needed and is available for you – please seek support from a qualified therapist as soon as possible to help you through your challenges. Indeed, if your depression lies anywhere from a medium level upwards, do please consider professional support as an option, particularly if it has been a long-term condition and if you are taking medication. Often when depression has built up over a period of time, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed and a good therapist will act as a coach and mentor to help you through that process. You will be supported in your examination of the causes of your depression and in your decision-making to pave the way for life adjustments in the long term: your therapist is there to help you to become the best version of yourself you can become and will do so without judgement or criticism.
If you feel that your depression is fairly mild and could be managed through self-help, you may find the following points helpful to instigate change for the better.
To begin with, it is worth noting that since stress and anxiety are the beginnings of depression, everything mentioned in the previous article can be of value to you (Tips 1 through to 9).
A healthy body supports a healthy mind and vice versa, so everything you can possibly do to improve your quality of relaxation, exercise, sleep, diet, nutrition and mood will ultimately build up and underpin your wellbeing on your journey to recovery and complete wellness. Any exercise taken out in the natural sunlight can be doubly beneficial, particularly during the winter months, and including plenty of Omega 3 in your diet has been proven effective in beating the blues and helping to support a more positive outlook. It’s worth investing time in devising a schedule of healthy meals and enjoyable exercise and relaxation that will get you feeling human again. Include your favourite activities and health-supporting foods and regard this as your essential foundation for a happier life.
If you have acknowledged to yourself that you have reached a depressed state, it’s important to select someone you genuinely trust to talk to about it. If you’re addressing the matter through self-help, this does not necessarily need to be a therapist, but does need to be someone who will allow you to express yourself honestly – a family member or close friend could be ideal. Explain that you do not expect the person to do anything other than listen at specified times, but that this is extremely valuable to you to be able to examine your own thoughts and feelings as you go through the process of getting to the root of your depression and making adjustments. If you find yourself simply needing to vent about an issue, explain clearly that this is what you need to do and that it’s not about the listener – and then get it all out of your system! Often, once the emotional “charge” has been released, the issue can be examined from a more neutral standpoint and so you notice what seems like a sudden breakthrough in how to approach the matter. Remember to carry a notebook and note down your insights as they come to you – you may be amazed at the clarity that becomes available to you as you look back over this.
The work you are doing on supporting mind and body will have entailed making changes in your routine: embrace this energy of positive change to further develop a whole new routine that’s different to what you were doing during the period of time when you were experiencing a low mood. Keep your goals realistic: setting one or two specific goals to complete each day and focusing on undertaking them to the best of your ability will give you a defined structure to follow and work wonders to help you break the old pattern that did not work for you. By giving yourself permission to make the changes you need, you are sending a strong message to your unconscious mind that you have self-esteem and knowledge of your own worth and the willingness and ability to take responsibility for your life, moment by moment and day by day.
As you begin to feel stronger, you will find that you do have the resilience and insight to challenge negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs that crop up along the way. For example, when contemplating doing something you previously found daunting, your old thinking may be saying “I’ll make a mess of this, best if I don’t try it”, but your more enlightened and empowered self can counter it with “I’ve coped well so far and dealt with my uncomfortable feelings as they happened – they may be unpleasant, but they won’t hurt me, so I’ll breathe deeply until they pass”. Remember to reward yourself and give yourself credit for every successful step you take, even the ones that may seem small – each one is important and has helped to carry you a little further forward. The more you practice becoming your own catalyst for positive transformation, the stronger the foundation you are building for an uplifting and life-affirming habit that you can take forward with you into any aspect of the better future you are creating for yourself.
You may even find yourself looking forward to doing something completely new and just finding the fun in it! This could be something you do with friends and family, or it could even involve meeting completely new people – a short course, holiday, creative project, going out somewhere you’ve heard about but never been to…the list is endless. The future can now be so much more exciting and rewarding – so just enjoy the journey!