Depression is another mental condition that is debilitating and disruptive. It also comes with a social stigma making it difficult for the sufferers to have open conversations about it. Depression can be confused with sadness and can go undetected. If left unattended the symptoms progressively get worse to the point where one starts having suicidal thoughts and a few unfortunately even go through with it.
According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from various levels of depression. The cause of depression is varied as in faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems, making it a hard to treat condition. Depression can occur at any point in our life. It is important to start paying attention to it especially if feelings of sadness last for prolonged periods draining the energies, causing loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed.
While going through depression one experiences hopelessness, anger and irritability, low energy, loss of interest in life and activities, feelings of worthlessness, self blame, suicidal thoughts, unexplained aches and pains in the body etc.
Unfortunately there is no magic pill that can make it go away. It is a daily reality for those who suffer from it. Taking pills on a regular basis increases the dependency on them. However, there are also things you can do to manage it on a day to day basis and eventually wean off the pills. For this to happen, you have to be willing to make the needed effort, because nothing comes easy.
Before we go into how to tackle it, let us understand what happens during a depression episode. Simply put you are feeling mentally and emotionally low and your energy is drained. You also know by now that the breathe is the link to your mind and body and is easily available to you at any time, even when you are lying down. The way you breathe is the way you think. Every thought that you produce has a corresponding chemical reaction in the body. Negative thoughts generates toxic chemicals causing aches and pains and happy thoughts makes your body feel light. Now that we understand this basic fact, we can delve into a few tips that can get you on the road to feeling better.
1) Become aware of your breath. As your breath controls your thoughts and vice versa, do deep breathing exercises regularly. This sends the much needed oxygen to your body and to your brain. It is well known that viruses don’t survive in a oxygen rich environment. Similarly, sending your brain more oxygen makes the brain cells function better. Just this simple activity of deep breathing can lift your mood. This has a positive impact on the body. Consequently, you feel a little bit more energized to be up and about.
2) Make sure that your fridge is stocked with nutritious and wholesome foods – fresh fruits, veggies, nuts etc. Eat freshly cooked meals as much as possible. Our body is chemical soup. The more foods with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins and healthy carbohydrates that you consume the better the body feels. It is also well known that a healthy body houses a healthy mind. So diet is a very important lifestyle change to introduce.
3) Adding simple yoga and meditation practices is very beneficial. Yoga deepens and strengthens the mind body connection and meditation enhances awareness of thoughts and emotions. Doing even simple yoga can bring stability and resilience in the body and mind which will help dissipate depressive moods. Meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day calms and soothes the mind reducing negative feelings.
4) Spend more time in nature either by taking walks or simply sitting and breathing deeply. Depression makes you feel lonely. To counter those feeling, make the effort to spend time outside feeling the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze, watching the trees, flowers etc. Feel that you are very much a part of this larger existence. Stay with this feeling for some time. Do this as often as you can.
5) Always have a good support network which may also include friends and family with whom you are comfortable sharing.
Make it point to write down all the things you were able to do and how well you did them. Feel good about the progress you make. This experience of feeling good is an anchor to getting better control over this condition. Expressing gratitude to everything that went well for you greatly helps connect you to the universal energy that is there within all of us. This can be quite empowering.
Especially when feeling down and low, the first thing to remember is to take deep breaths. Once you deepen the connection with your breath, it will just become regular practice to keep taking deep breaths. After you have done this regularly, chances are high that your mood starts lifting which will allow you to do engage a bit more effortlessly in day to day activities around your family, friends and work.
Depression may not yet be in your control. When you do your part and create a strong Desire and Will to overcome it at all costs, there is nothing to stop you from achieving this goal. The Universe will respond in ways you never thought possible.
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