We all go through phases of feeling sad or upset about something, and these feelings usually go away in time. The only people who really understand depression are those who suffer from it. When you suffer from a depressive disorder, any sadness, frustration, or anger makes these negative feelings stronger, digging you deeper into the depression and making it harder to pull yourself out.
1. Engage in activities that you enjoy
What are your favorite activities? How long has it been since you’ve spent time doing something you really enjoy? Planning time for yourself to enjoy the things you like is one of the most well-known cognitive therapies to help prevent and treat depression. Increasing how many good experiences you enjoy, the happier you will feel.
2. Stay connected
It might be hard to make a phone call and you might not feel like getting in touch with friends or family, but you would be more inclined to do it if you knew the benefits that it had. Staying connected with people you love can make a big difference.
3. Stop the negative thoughts
Negative thoughts can get “stuck” in our working memory and we become more likely to dwell on our problems. This can have a big influence on our mood and mental well-being. It’s important to differentiate between reality and what you think is going on in your head.
4. Choose intrinsic over extrinsic goals
Having goals is good, and you should make goals that do require some effort to reach. Research has however shown that when we are more focused on meeting intrinsic goals we are more likely to have experiences that support our happiness and well-being.Intrinsic goals are those that satisfy our own basic psychological needs rather than rely on the judgment or approval of others. Examples of intrinsic goals are self-acceptance and physical fitness. Extrinsic goals are focused on external reward and praise from others. Examples of extrinsic goals are fame and financial wealth.
5. Try to be more realistic
Our perception of what happens in our lives can influence our moods. We all have optimistic or pessimistic friends, but where are the realists? Being realistic means looking at a situation from an outside perspective and assessing it as if you were a third-party. You might find that you think you’re being realistic, but in reality, you’re being negative.
6. Eat well
In general, people tend to eat high-calorie junk foods when they’re already feeling sad or depressed. It’s important to try to avoid eating junk foods to avoid depression as consumption of foods that are high in fats, sugars, and calories, can increase your risk of depression by 51%.
You usually feel better after exercising, right? That’s because being active helps the brain’s neurotransmitter systems. Exercise can help prevent problems that come from stress, like anxiety and depression.Exercising also helps us relax and sleep better at night, which can help you avoid insomnia, a depression risk factor.
Many people know that staying relaxed is a good way to avoid anxiety, and the same goes for depression. Being relaxed can help you focus and sort out your thoughts, which can be a problem for people suffering from anxiety and/or depression.
9. Sleep well
We all feel better after a good night’s sleep. As we sleep, our brain is able to repair itself and prepare for the next day. Sleeping well is an essential part to learning, and can help improve our mood.
10. Take care of others to take care of yourself
Until now, we’ve talked about how to take care of yourself, but focusing your time on others and helping those around you has been shown to help reduce the risk of depression. People who participate in activities that aim to help others have a smaller chance of developing depression.