Low moods are very common in most people, occurring every now and then. If low moods are persistent it can be thought of as depression. It can occur due to difficulties in relationships, death in the family, loss of job, stress at work etc. Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, crying episodes, lack of energy, easy fatigability, loss of interest and pleasure in your usual activities like watching TV, marked decrease or increase in appetite, marked decrease or increase in weight, difficulty in concentration, feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness.
Here are some practical ways to overcome the symptoms of depression and start feeling well again. See which works best for you with a little experimentation.
Practical Ways To Ease Depression
When one is feeling depressed the tendency is to lock oneself up and avoid social contact. Nothing can be worse because social isolation exacerbates the symptoms and perpetuates the problem. Seek out the company of loved ones and friends. Talk out your problems and pressing concerns with them. Just the fact of letting out some steam by airing your concerns and feelings can start to make you feel better. Also, others may be able to make you see the light at the end of the tunnel which you are now unable to see given your mood.
Reduce Stress In Your Life
The simple reason for your depression could be that you are buckling under the pressures and tensions in your life. Such stress can either trigger or worsen the symptoms. Make adjustments at home and work to whatever is the situation that is causing you the stress.
Sort out the personal relationships with love and understanding for the other persons and their points of view. Learn to manage your time at work better. Delegate work in office if you are being overburdened. Talk to your boss about any adjustments that are necessary to allow you to be stress-free.
Lifestyle Changes And Alternative Therapies
Exercise regularly, say either aerobics or 30-minute walk every day. It releases the mood-enhancing feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins which make you feel better and also reduce stress. Get a balanced diet and a good night’s sleep, both of which can help. Yoga and meditation are also helpful.
You could also practice other simple relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Vitamin supplements and acupuncture are of some help. St. John’s wort is a herbal medication that has proven value for mild cases of depression. However it can interfere with certain prescription medicines, so if you are taking any consult a doctor.
Counseling And Psychotherapy
If the above measures fail, it is a good idea to seek the help of a professional clinical psychologist to undergo counseling or psychotherapy. It comes in various forms like individual therapy, group therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The last form of therapy works by correcting your errors in thinking, if any, through graded mental exercises, and has been proved to be very effective.
The Last Resort
If all else fails and the symptoms are persistent for over two consecutive weeks, which are interfering with your normal daily functioning and work, and particularly if thoughts of suicide are occurring it is time to seek the professional help of a psychiatrist.
He will rule out medical causes like decreased functioning of thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and intake of some medicines. Then he will prescribe antidepressants if he has confirmed that you have “clinical depression”. Fortunately, majority of the patients with depression respond to the above measures.