Everyone has experienced feelings of depression at one time or another. These feelings commonly follow loss or disappointment and they usually pass in a few hours or days. When depressive feelings persist and interfere with one's health and social well-being, then some sort of intervention or professional help is needed.
What is depression?
Depression is a prolonged and persistent negative mood which can interfere with many aspects of one's life. It is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, and self-doubt. Normal, everyday depression can last for a few minutes to a few days. These feelings are a normal part of being human. Depression that lasts for extended periods of time and impacts a person's ability to function socially may be something beyond the "everyday sort." This type of depression can often be helped by working with a counselor.
How to Overcome Depression & Regain a Positive Outlook
Research has proven that depression is best treated with a combination of therapy and antidepressant medication. Therapy involves changing the way one thinks. When people are depressed they tend to think negatively. During counseling sessions, the therapist will help you identify unrealistic views you may hold of yourself, the world, and the future. Therapy will help you recognize depressive thoughts and gain insight and understanding about events in your life which may have contributed to your depression. With growing insight you can often learn more effective ways of coping with your feelings and changing your behavior.
- Try to be aware of your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ideas. Focus on your positive experiences.
- Set realistic goals and make a weekly list of your positive accomplishments.
- Learn to accept that everyone has different abilities and focus on your unique characteristics and positive accomplishments. Try to know and develop your strengths.
- Get socially active.
- Do some volunteer work to keep you active.
- Make a weekly schedule of your daily activities and do not forget to include social activities.
- Find a hobby or two.
- Exercise daily.
- Get adequate rest. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals. Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Use self-relaxation techniques whenever you feel tense. For example,slowly breathe in and out for several minutes until your whole body feels relaxed.
- Express your feelings through talk, journaling, or even art.
- Be assertive when you are expressing anger.
- Do something special just for yourself (when you feel like you deserve it the least is when you need it the most!)
- Call for help IMMEDIATELY if you feel suicidal or are having thoughts of suicide or death.
- Ask for help if the load is too heavy to handle. Get professional help if symptoms of depression persist.