10 Tips for Beating Depression.
I'm a little wary, skeptical even, about the 10 tips approach to something. What if only one significant tip is required? Then again, 10 tips out of how many possible tips? Might I be missing out on something? But the approach is popular and it can be helpful.
Depression isn't the same for everyone, so what works for one person may not for another. There are however a few consistent themes to emerge from studies on depression and this forms the basis of my 10 self-help tips Sharepost.
Tip 1. The simplest tasks often seem overwhelming during depression so break them down into smaller parts and do what you can. If you absolutely can't avoid doing something give yourself permission to put other things off.
Tip 2. Goals need to be realistically set. Don't try to set a goal for recovery; depression doesn't work that way. Not achieving even the simplest goals becomes self-fulfilling in feeding negative feelings. ‘I can't even boil an egg - make coffee - etc'. Equating your mood during depression with your mood when you feel better is not going to help simply because the two never equate.
Tip 3. Avoid isolation. This is difficult because you will feel motivated to curl up and push the world away. It can be difficult but try confiding your feelings in someone. It can also feel therapeutic to write your thoughts and feelings down in your own log.
Tip 4. You are unlikely to recover quickly from depression so don't become anxious over the fact that it can feel like it's dragging on. Maintain your routines, especially anything that makes you look and feel better.
Tip 5. Except in the most severe cases of depression there is usually something the person enjoys doing. Keep doing this. The negative you might be saying, ‘you're supposed to be depressed,' so it may feel like a guilty pleasure that you should avoid. Allow the positive you to get the upper hand. Anything that evokes a sense of pleasure and reward is worth keeping hold of.
Tip 6. Exercise daily. If you've ever cast an eye over my other Sharepost's you'll know how I advocate a little exercise. The literature on depression consistently points to exercise as a mood enhancer. Just a little daily walking or cycling or whatever pleases you will do.
Tip 7. Put off the big things. When your thinking is cloudy and unfocused it is not a good time to make big decisions about business, career, major purchases, and so on. During depression you may lack the objectivity to weigh up the pro's and con's of big decisions. Don't be drawn into something because it seems to much hassle to question it. Try to postpone the big decisions until your mood improves.
Tip 8. The road to recovery tends to involve a slow but steady shift from black-and-white thinking where future plans seem pointless, to a more balanced picture. Negative thinking gradually moves into the background as positive thinking starts to re-emerge.
Tip 9. Seek treatment and stick to the treatment plan. Antidepressants may help to take the edge off the symptoms while psychological treatments will help to reconstruct the thought processes that reinforce depression.
Tip 10. Look at your lifestyle in its broadest sense then set about changing things that may influence your mood. Things to consider are smoking, alcohol, diet, exercise, improving social contacts, acknowledging stress and coping with it, learning more about depression and the influence you have over its onset and recovery.