My Three Strategies for Battling Depression

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For anyone who has suffered from depression in any degree you know how debilitating it can be to get up and go through the day. It’s difficult to even talk yourself into why you should care in the first place. A lot of times as a population we worry so much about our physical appearance and being bikini ready that we forget about how important our own mental health is. Instead of just going through the motions we need to look deeper and get to the root of it all. We cannot physically meet our goals without ten times the effort if we do not mentally take care of ourselves. So much requires a balance of mental and physical. For me, one big thing is lists. So much goes on in our minds. Our thoughts can be so all over the place or in our heads it makes sense when spoken out loud we realize it was blown out of proportion. By making a list, it’s easier to organize my thoughts and work through the rough things.

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Stop Avoiding Feelings

So often when those depression emotions threaten to overwhelm, it becomes a mode of protection to stop trying. We lay in bed and become despondent, unable to express anything that we feel. A lot of times we wouldn’t even be able to vocally express what’s wrong. There is a continuous weight pressing down on your chest and it is hard to breath. How do we address this? This is where my first list comes into play. It is important to address the feelings that we have. Writing down what we have felt throughout the day or week, and if we can pinpoint something that triggered that emotion. The point of this exercise is not to dwell on the emotions, but to accept and validate them. Every feeling or emotion that we have is a genuine emotion. We shouldn’t ever feel ashamed that we have them but use them to help us move forward. Pinpointing triggers for those emotions can also help to manage those triggers going forward.

Know You Have Strengths

A key strategy to being able to overcome a weak moment is already having the mental game in place. Being prepared beforehand will make clawing yourself out of your depression that much more realistic. This is where my next list comes into play and it’s a tricky one. Write down your best qualities. The things you like about yourself both physical characteristics and personality characteristic. Pinpoint all the times throughout your life where you showed strength. Write down the things that you overcame or accomplished. Compile a list so that you can recognize how strong of a person you are. Most of us have a really hard time seeing those strengths in ourselves. The last time I had someone take this step, she took a couple weeks to really get a good list going. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it took you just as long if not longer. Keep thinking about it as an ongoing discovery. I’ll even help you start that list right now. You are battling with depression, and yet you are still standing. You have continued to push forward and accomplish daily tasks. You have spoken to people, shown up for work, got out of bed and more, even though you didn’t want to! Even though there is a biological response in your brain screaming at you to stop trying. That is strength!

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Get Out of The House

The last step encompasses a few different things. However, it’s something you need to feel out in how far you push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out of bed and go for a run. Go for a walk if that’s better. The fresh air is so good for you! Moving your body and allowing the endorphins to do some work, will give you a boost. Talk to or call a friend. One of the hardest things for me was to let someone into my dark world. I had so many emotions about involving anyone else. Shame that I needed the help, guilt to put any kind of burden on others, and fear that I wouldn’t be accepted, or my feelings invalidated. However, releasing some of that swelling emotion will relieve some pressure. Have a good friend or family member, that you know will support you and push you to stretch your comfort zone when needed. If you can’t think of someone that you’re that close to, there are other resources. Support groups whether physically or virtually. No one with depression wants to take that step but we usually need it. Lastly, give yourself projects. Have something to work on with your hands and focus on with your mind. I once heard someone say that our minds are like a stage. There are always things going on stage right and left and backstage but there is only one thing that can be going on center stage at one time. Projects or hobbies very often can push itself to center stage and the other emotions can take more of a backstage position. Every person on this earth has to work to gain control of their mind and emotions. With depression, it just means that we are working harder than most to do that.

Rose Root (aka rhodiola rosea) – Can help reduce physical and mental stress. Research has shown it may increase serotonin and dopamine levels.

Fish Oil – Can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by increasing the omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.

Vitamin D – The equivalent of sunlight. naturally stabilizes the mood and help ward of depression. I always take higher doses of vitamin d during the winter months.

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