Do you feel alone despite being surrounded by friends or family? Do you feel extreme sadness or numbness when alone? Do feelings like unwillingness to get out of bed, crying without any reason, irritability or the loss of interest in things which once gave you pleasure define your mood? Although, for a short duration, these behavioral symptoms are not a cause for worry. However, if this is how you have been feeling for days on end, then these could be signs of depression. Today, we’ll talk about some self help techniques for depression.
Self-Care Techniques for Depression
To deal with depression, there are self-care techniques you can apply to heal yourself and live a more fulfilling life.
What is Depression?
Depression is a psychological disorder often characterized by depressed moods which is accompanied by changes in mental processes that significantly affect the individual’s capacity to function. Depression can cause distress and interference in daily life at work or school, and in relationships with friends & family.
Difference Between Depression and Grief
Most people feel similar emotions to depression when they lose someone dear to them. This is referred to as Grief. Depression, however, is different from grief. The intensity of sadness in grief is likely to decrease within weeks and months and occurs in waves, usually referred to as pangs of grief. Depression is more persistent and not tied to specific thoughts such as missing the people we might have lost.
Characteristics of Depression
Depression is characterized in the following ways:
1. Loss of interest and pleasure in activities one liked to participate in the past
2. Reduced levels of energy without any physical exertion
3. Loss of concentration and attention
4. Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence
5. Feeling over-whelmed and always out of control
6. Feeling of unworthiness and self-loathing
7. Disturbance in sleep and appetite leading to extreme weight loss or weight gain
8. Pessimistic view of the future
9. Recurrent thoughts of self-harm and suicide attempts
Causes of Depression
The root causes of depression can be classified into:
Depression has been linked with imbalance in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Depression is genetically vulnerable as scientists believe that 40% of the depressive symptoms are hereditary.
Individuals having a trait of negative emotional reaction for every circumstance could be a risk factor for the onset of Depression, this might lead to depressive episodes in response to stressful life events. Extreme childhood experiences like childhood physical/sexual/verbal abuse, major life changing events like loss of parents might also lead to depression.
Stressful circumstances like a high-pressure work environment, loss of job, divorce, getting married or moving to new home in a new town are also recognized causes of depressive episodes.
Other Medical Causes
Substance abuse, anxiety and borderline personality disorder are among the most common modifiers of depression. Chronic medical conditions like diabetes, morbid obesity and cardiovascular disease may also increase the risk of inducing depressive episodes.
How to Treat Depression without Therapy
There are many ways to help yourself deal with depression using self-care techniques. Some of the ways to use self-care for depression are:
1. Pay Attention to How You Talk to Yourself
How you talk to yourself plays a very big role in your capacity to function in your tasks, so stop that ‘negative tape’ running inside your mind. Remember – you always have a choice to change the channel in your brain when you wish to. Ultimately, you are the one in control of your thoughts.
2. Take Deep Breaths
Depression can be difficult to handle. Taking deep breaths when having a depressive episode might help in realizing your emotional baggage and psychologically helping create control over oneself.
3. Take Your Time
It is irrational to force yourself to feel positive even when your body is saying otherwise and building up all the symptoms related to depression. Know that your body has its own pace to maintain a balance. When it feels difficult to handle depressive episodes, acknowledge your symptoms and do what you usually do to take a break. This could be listening to that your favorite song, going for a short walk or playing with your pet.
4. Post-Pone Major Life Changes
Try not to engage in any kind of important life decisions, like moving to a new home or changing jobs, until you don’t feel in control of your emotions.
5. Have a Peaceful, Relaxing Sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep try to stop working after 8 pm and focus only on relaxation. Make yourself a cup of tea and grab any one of your favorite books or watch your all-time favorite movie. If you find yourself going through a chain of thoughts while sleeping, write it down on a piece of paper or maintain a daily journal. This will require some work but it’s definitely worth a good night’s sleep.
Therapy for Depression
While all the above steps could help you feel better, they certainly are not a substitute for a visit to the therapist for depression therapy. Remember, good emotional health results in good physical health as well. So, the next time you feel the symptoms of depression are getting the better of you, visit your therapist or book an appointment for a virtual counseling session through the United We Care App or website.