At 23, I remembered being so unhappy with everything, even with the things I once loved. I stopped socializing and always finding excuses not to step out of the house and I thought it will go away because no one can be happy every minute of the day. What made it worse; I cannot talk to my family about it at the time because they would disregard what I have to say or the world that I was in. Depressing thoughts, it’s hard to deal with but not impossible to eliminate them.
So I decided to educate myself by did a bit of research and realized that what I have is far more than just being unhappy with my life. I was dealing with depression, I was sad, super down and alone, but I chose to deal with it positively. Why? As Jim Rohn put it “
So I decided to educate myself by did a bit of research and realized that what I have is far more than just being unhappy with my life. I was dealing with depression, I was sad, super down and alone, but I chose to deal with it positively. Why? As Jim Rohn put it “Either you run the day, or the day runs you”.
Depression is a mean devil that needs to be kicked in the ass by you! Because if you don’t, It can plunge you into a seemingly endless black tunnel where you believe there is no hope of ever seeing the light, sounds familiar? Keep reading. Some people confuse depression with being unhappy, yep! That was me. However depression is a clinical condition while unhappiness can stem from a simple experience such as an unhappy relationship or an unfulfilling job.
With depression, hope can disappear seemingly never to return and even the activities you once found enjoyable lose their luster. Well my friends, everything is fixable and figureoutable (I promise you “figureoutable” is a word, one of my favorites actually, just ask Marie Forelo) if you are willing to follow the steps that I took to gradually banish depressing thoughts one day at a time. It will be a challenge but loving yourself mean to find ways to pursuit an endless happiness in your life and those around you.
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Meditation can directly lessen the negative thinking typically associated with depression. How? Well, besides the scientific way of explaining it that meditation can stimulate the production of two critical neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. Low levels of these two neurotransmitters can trigger an overwhelming sense of sadness. However, Regular meditation can also restore your focus allowing you to see the beautiful and the stimulating, helping you feel vital, fresh and alive. Meditation can banish unhealthy, negative thoughts causing depression to simply melt away. Start with just 1 minute before your day starts and bedtime and increase time as you feel more comfortable.
Connect With Friends
Connecting with friends can feel like an ordeal when feeling depressed and looking back, I really appreciated the fact that I pushed myself to reach out to my friends who understood how I felt. I started with just small talk over coffee at my favorite café which helped. By doing this, you will find it rewarding and a real boost to your mood. Isolating yourself from your friends and extended support network only perpetuates the cycle of depressing, negative thoughts. So please try, pick your favorite place and get out and reach out!
I was and still am a very active person, thus exercising was a natural thing for me to continue doing while I was dealing with depression because as you may have heard before – exercising releases endorphins in your body. This helps to improve one’s natural immunity. Regular exercise can also aid with overcoming depression. Besides lifting your mood, exercise confers a range of health benefits including reduced blood pressure, lowering the instance of heart disease. Scientists and physicians advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise such as a brisk walk three to four times per week.
Include Healthy Supplements In Your Diet
To me, health should be number one on everyone’s list; I don’t care who you are and what you want to accomplish in life, if you don’t have your health, say goodbye to your dreams. There are times, when the state of your body can heavily influence your thoughts and perceptions. Your moods can be impacted over time by common dietary deficiencies such as iron, potassium or Vitamin D deficiencies. If you believe you are exhibiting symptoms, consult your physician for advice on an appropriate course of dietary supplements to correct your balance. Or do a bit of research on what you need to create a healthy diet plant for you because not everyone has the luxury to consult a professional.
Read Motivational Books
I must admit, I was a big reader but soon I realized that self-education is the most awesome thing you can do for yourself, because only fools think they have all the knowledge in the world. One of the most popular areas of non-fiction publishing in the past 20 years is motivational thinking. There are a plethora of books to choose from, which provide support and direction in the art of motivation, self-help and positive thinking. Many of these books lay out simple yet effective insights and advice on how to stay motivated and positive while banishing depressing thoughts and that overwhelming sense of hopelessness than can engulf you from time to time.
Talk To A Psychiatrist
I remembered on my way home from work one day, I saw an ad on the subway display with a question “Need someone to listen? We can help” and here I was, in the room with a stranger for a 6 months session beginning my road to healing. Sometimes it helps to talk to a qualified physiatrist for a better perspective. A psychiatrist can assist in helping you understand how thoughts trigger feelings and how to replace negative feelings with positive, logical ones. As patients become more self-aware, they can disrupt their destructive patterns. Similarly, participating in support groups can help with recovery by learning from others experiences. A support group also reinforces the message that a struggle with depression needn’t be one fought alone. My support group was and still is my friends and I’m very grateful for them every day.
Increase Your Social Activities
Isolating yourself simply fuels your depression. Thus, by getting you out of the house, social activities can give you the boost you need in your energy levels. Those that maintain their social connections will do better as their positive vibe can be contagious. Interacting with others can also lessen your feeling of depression. So find something or get back to the things that you love to do with your friends and go with it.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington wrote, “According to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.” Gratitude has proven benefits in controlling depressing thoughts by lowering stress levels, contributing to a sense of calm.
Set 3 Small Daily Goals and Achieve Them
Goal setting is very important, it helps you focus on the task that you want to check off at the end of the day which results in a million smiles on your face, try it and you will see. So learn how to set small daily goals for yourself and focus emotionally on achieving them. This approach will help you make small steps, which collectively represent major progress in eliminating those depressing thoughts.
Listen To Upbeat Music
If you are feeling depressed, one of the easiest ways to counter those negative thoughts is to listen to uplifting music. Music has the magical ability to transform our emotional state, give us a quick boost and banish a depressed state of mind. Classical music in particular can be soothingly upbeat and spiritual. Here is one of my favorites from YouTube.
Our human brains are wired to respond positively to laughter. When we smile, our brains release dopamine a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness. The release of dopamine when we feel happy causes us to smile and when we smile the brain releases even more dopamine, continuing that sensation of happiness. I smile every morning and no I’m not crazy, it just makes me feel better and another smile to close the day.
Do A 7-Day Mental Diet
Many of the experiences in our lives can be attributed to our conditioned patterns of thinking and feeling. One of the tools in recovering from depression is to reprogram these established patterns of thinking by devoting one week exclusively to laying down new thought habits. Allocate seven days to positive, constructive even optimistic thinking. Your thinking largely governs how you live your life and the conditions you live it under, so fresh, positive ways of thinking will support other steps you are taking and maximize your chances of recovery.
Let Go of Grudges
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Buddha. When we hold a grudge, all that negative energy is channeled internally. We are the ones who experience that anger and frustration. Holding a grudge confers power over you to others, so find a path forward and lighten your emotional burden by forgiving them.
Unresolved issues are a source of negative feelings that if they continue to go unresolved, can evolve into a serious downward spiral leading to depression. Forgiving perceived or real transgressions is rarely easy or simple. However, forgiveness can prove to be a source of emotional strength and ultimately peace. Consciously deciding to let go of a sense of being wronged may well be another way to banish depressing thoughts as well as a small step on the path to recovery.
Help Others With Their Problems
Science indicates we experience pleasure from helping others. The act causes the body to release the same dopamine we produce when we laugh or smile. Hence doing something nice for others produces that familiar warm buzz. Depression is partially attributable to the absence of positive emotions, creating a sense of emptiness and nothingness. An act of kindness is simple, uncomplicated way to reverse these feelings, kick-starting a positive mood, which can develop over time into an upward cycle.
Soak-Up The Sunlight (Vitamin D)
There are days when we are at our best, and others when we are mired in depressing thoughts. One simple way we can brighten our outlook is to literally go outside on a sunny day and soak up the sunshine. There is something about sunny blue skies that instinctively peps us up, that is why we take vacation to hot weather destinations during winter season. Our skin also synthesizes Vitamin D from sunlight aiding in hormonal release, which helps to stabilize our mood. So the next time you feel blue, step into the sun and feel your gloomy mood lift.
Create A Strong Supportive System
Create a strong support system drawn from people who care about you in your life. The only criteria are that they must be comfortable with you being yourself. Researchers believe the benefits of a support system derive from a combination of stimulated mental activity, physical challenges and reduce street levels.
Track Your Negative Thoughts
Self-doubt and negative thoughts lead to an overwhelming sense of worthlessness. It is possible to counter that negative inner talk by tracking those negative thoughts and identifying them for what they are, the thoughts of a depressed person rather than those of a healthy person. When you are feeling low, don’t take them seriously. Recognize those thoughts but keep them in perspective rather than believing them.
Have A Healthy Sleeping Routine
I know, as we get older, 8 hours or just a healthy bedtime schedule is hard to set, but if we want to heal we need to adopt a healthy routine. A significant part of any healthy routine is a regular sleep schedule. Chronic insomnia is both a symptom and a contributing factor to depression. When you’re exhausted, negativity is exaggerated so create a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it. Identify those bad habits that feed insomnia and look for natural ways to banish insomnia.
Find Time To Do Something You Enjoy
Strange as it is, if you are afflicted with depression, you find yourself having to work at having fun. Make time in your schedule to have fun. Plan for activities you used to enjoy, be it dining out, going to the movies or kayaking. Sometimes you have to relearn how to let go and enjoy yourself. With time you will discover that fun things will actually feel fun again.
Understand Perfectionism Doesn’t Exist
Perfectionism can be part of a cycle depression sufferers succumb to because it is familiar. I never believe in perfectionism, because nothing is perfect in life, you just have to be happy with what you have and keep improving it. The constant stress that perfectionism generates can lead to discouragement, self-doubt and mental exhaustion and contribute to insomnia, digestive problems and a compromised immunity system.
Take Time Off To Work On Yourself
I’m not talking about quitting your job or take a vacation that you cannot afford. I’m talking about taking a weekend off away from your normal environment, even if it means to rent a hotel somewhere out of the city just to take care of yourself, clear your mind and identify triggers for depression as soon as they start enabling you to take preventative steps. Similarly, explore which combination of therapies work for you and work at mastering those. As part of this process, invest time and patience in building greater self-awareness. People have a tendency to use their own frames of reference in interpreting situations and responding to issues. People suffering with depression often become overly fixated on their own internal feelings, beliefs and judgments. This internal orientation can become so influential that it becomes difficult to empathize with others or to see other’s points of view as relevant, particularly when you are experiencing an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Depression isn’t about being weak or troubled, it just happens and it takes a lot of work on your self-awareness to recover.
Try New Things
It’s easy to get in a rut when you are feeling depressed. Anxiety becomes more tolerable when you operate within your comfort zone. The key is to find activities that will contribute to making you feel better about your ability to cope with depressing thoughts and anxiety. Look for activities that break the pattern. Visit an art gallery or museum or a botanical garden. Read a book in the park, volunteer or learn a new language. When we challenge ourselves, we alter the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is linked with pleasure, learning and enjoyment, all great antidotes to depressing thoughts.
A simple way to defuse depressing thoughts is to get out, breath fresh air and explore hiking trails where you can spend time with your friends or love one. You will be amazed how much it will do for you and your mind, the sound of birds chirping and the breeze of fresh air run through your face and not to mention the exercise that you are getting. Need I say more? It makes you forget the things that you are dealing with and just focus on the moment. I wasn’t a hiker myself until my boyfriend and now husband introduced me to the beautiful trails and the fact that it is so peaceful allow me to think and improve on my happiness in life.
Keep Going and Never Give Up
Dealing with depression or not, I think giving up is always an easier thing to do no matter what your state of mind is. Learning how to keep going will help you form great habit and self-discipline to overcome anything that life throws at you. Bad mental habits are easy to form but if we practice to let go one piece at a time, good habits win. So if giving up is your thing like it was for me, it is time to say goodbye because we only have one to life so why not live it well?
Winning Over Depressing Thoughts
Depression is a challenging condition to treat. It’s a complex disease combining biological, psychological and sociological aspects. Depression can drain your energy, your hope and your sense of perspective, leaving gloom, despair and a sense of hopelessness in its wake. Combating depression is neither quick nor easy as the condition’s symptoms makes it difficult for anyone to adopt the changes required to get better. It took me years but I did it and so can you. The key to overcoming depression is to take small steps and build cumulatively from there. Feeling better takes time and there are occasional reversals to deal with but making positive choices each day will contribute to a gradual recovery. Trust me, I was in it and I chose to get out, so I hope you love yourself enough to do the same because you’re worth it.