Dealing with depression
Dealing with depression
Unlike other mental health disorders, people living with depression may in the initial stages find that they just “shrug off” any negative thoughts or feelings in a bid to convince themselves that being sad is just a normal part of life. Yes, an average person will experience sad feelings sometimes but how long do those feelings last and how can we really tell the difference between just being sad and the onset of depression? Common signs of depression include, but are not limited to- feeling sad, lost, being generally unhappy, losing interest in activities one previously enjoyed, disruption in sleep pattern, exhaustion and lack of energy that makes it almost impossible to carryout everyday tasks, difficulty paying attention, feeling of guilt about things that are not one’s fault or out of one’s control.
Dealing with depression involves a commitment to accepting change, training one’s mind, body and soul. Battling depression can be tough; thankfully, there are many ways you can fight depression, some of which we have shared in this article.
- Connecting with God
The decision to accept Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you can ever make in your life. The presence of God brings light, peace and clarity. Perhaps you already gave your life to Christ and you feel you just can’t seem to get it right, this is the time to immerse yourself in the word of God and prayers like never before. The word of God is food for the soul, it keeps us nourished and refreshed and give us the courage to keep going.
Psalm 40:1-3 says “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”
John 16:33 says “I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand”
These are only a few verses of the scriptures, which assure us that our only hope and help is in God. Believing and imbibing the word of God in our daily lives will have an undoubtedly positive impact on our perspective of life.
- Challenging Negative Thinking
A condition does not define who you are. Depression is not only a feeling of sadness; it most often causes negative thinking. A series of negative beliefs about oneself, the world, or other people can induce and maintain depression. Changing these negative thoughts can go a long way to improve your mood. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves changing negative thoughts into more balanced ones to alter feelings and behaviors. The next time negative thoughts like “I am not good enough”, “I am a failure” or “I am a disappointment” floods your mind, alter them to positive statements such as “I did my best, but sometimes things just don’t go your way”, or the Nigerian slang- “I cannot come and kill myself”.
- Stay Connected
Although depression can result in being a bit withdrawn or detached from family, friends, and your church family, one essential step in dealing with it is asking for help. Consider sharing your feelings with family and friends and asking for help where you need it. You can also join a support group for people with depression; it might be beneficial to talk to others who are going through the same thing.
- Set Small Goals
Depression can make basic tasks almost impossible so it might be useful for you to break things down into small and concrete steps. Give yourself credit for every step you complete. This is because, a task as mundane as getting out of bed in the morning can be a huge accomplishment when dealing with depression. So give yourself credit for the small stuff.
- Develop a positive routine
Developing a good routine can help you stay active and out of the slippery slope of depression. For example, you can start off every morning by reciting positive self-affirmations and jot down things you are grateful for or events that made you happy over the course of the week.
- Seek Professional Help
Talking to a therapist about depression is just like visiting the doctor when you are ill. If you want to get the best strategies for dealing with the condition, you need to commit to seeing an expert.
- Avoid Alcohol and Other Substance Use
Alcohol is a depressant, which can often trigger episodes of depression or make episodes worse.
- Add Some Humor to your Life
Finding a way to make yourself laugh is a practical way to give your mind an escape from all the negative thoughts depression brings. Either by watching funny videos or movies, following comic pages on social media, or simply conversations with friends; laughter is good for you.
- Eat Healthy
Research continues to unravel clear links between diet and mental health. Studies have shown that adopting a healthier diet can prevent and treat mental illness. There are many essential nutrients, such as Zinc, that can affect depression. So it might be important for you to switch up your diet a little bit and adopt healthier eating habits.
Exercise is beneficial for people with depression. It releases endorphins that improve overall mood.
Dealing with depression is an enormous challenge but not one without solution. One can approach depression in many ways. By taking up one or more of the above methods, you are taking the first step towards a positive happier life.