Moving Past Depression
Depression, however, can also become a pervasive mood that slowly destroys our lives. It erodes our health and well-being, diminishes our self-esteem, and destroys our relationships.
While chronic depression is a clinical problem, requiring professional intervention, there are a few practical things we can do to snap out of feeling blue. Thus, although pervasive feelings of despair are due to past trauma, it is possible to take care of reactive depression that arises from circumstances by taking some practical measures.
Exposure to Light:
A common form of depression arises from deprivation of light and sunshine. This has been called S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Insufficient exposure to sunshine triggers the secretion of a hormone called melatonin. When this is low in our bodies, we feel lethargic and uninterested in anything.
Since the nights are longer in winter than in summer, more melatonin tends to be secreted. This lowers our body temperature and makes us feel sluggish.
Simple remedies include lighting up the room better, especially with light bulbs that simulate natural light, walking more outdoors during the day, and spending more time exercising.
Busy people are often inspired people, and they are less likely to feel depressed. Doing what you love, taking inspired action, and associating with lively people is a sure-fire way to overcome feeling down.
Passionate action arises from creating goals. Intentions give meaning to our lives. As we act on them, we develop an unshakable belief in our own self worth. A positive attitude emerges from meeting and overcoming challenges.
Occasionally, fatigue causes a drop in our mood levels. When we are stressed, our minds become frantic and our bodies get exhausted. Taking hot baths, getting a massage, or just doing something fun can rapidly shift our moods.
Eating right can improve our mood. While caffeine and sugar may give you a temporary energy spike, they also stimulate anxiety. And while alcohol may be considered a way to forget problems, it is actually a depressant.
Exercise stimulates endorphin and catecholamine, which are stress-reducing natural chemicals. Similarly, neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are exercise-induced natural chemicals that make you feel optimistic.
Finally, a lot of depression is simply due to isolating ourselves. Many jobs are object-related with little social interactions. With a warm circle of friends, we tend to view life in a more optimistic way.
Besides, the possibility of partaking in social engagements, words of encouragement, timely advice, moments of camaraderie and high humor can do wonders to lift our spirits.
Finally, of course, intimacy is the highest form of friendship, where the power of touch has a way of soothing and relaxing us. Experiencing respect and care is essential to being human. Love is the ultimate cure for depression.
Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you’d like more information on how to finally win the never-ending war against depression and its dangerous threats, you can find it at http://theempoweredsoul.com/SelfImprovementBooks/depression.html