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Have you ever felt an especially strong wave of sadness that didn't seem to go away?
Most of us can say that we have.
But for some people, this sense of sadness is so strong that it interferes with their activities of daily living.
This sense of persisting sadness can be referred to as major depressive disorder.
Depression, while seemingly difficult to manage, has many possibilities for coping strategies that make the illness far more manageable.
The following are ways of battling depression that you can deal with if you ever struggle with the disorder:
Set Realistic Goals
Living with the effects of severe depression can be quite debilitating.
While to the outside, you may seem fine, only you know what is truly going on inside your mind and heart.
That is why it may be helpful for you to set realistic goals for yourself.
This way, you'll always have something to look forward to, rather than wallowing in misery all the time.
You don't need to conquer the world all at one time, or to take on too much at one time, however
.That is when it would be helpful for you to make up a list of constructive goals for yourself that are much smaller and more realistic.
An example of a goal that you can make for yourself is following through with common household chores, such as paying the bills or doing laundry.
If you wait until your dishes pile up or your entire floor is covered in dirty clothes, then you will likely feel even worse about yourself and your life circumstances.
It would likely be wisest to observe your gradual progress in various areas of your life, and take it one day at a time, rather than tackling too much at one time.
Maintain a Self-Care Routine
Battling depression can be quite challenging, especially if you do not have a strong support system, or if you feel isolated in some way.
But battling depression, even on your own, is very possible if you maintain a good self-care routine.
Some specific examples of maintaining a good self-care routine would be keeping a healthy diet, avoiding drinking too much alcohol, maintaining a regular exercise routine, and so on.
If you are battling depression, then you will experience a likelihood of either gaining weight or losing weight.
This is because, depending on the type of person you are, you will either find comfort in food or feel put off by food.
It is especially important for you to maintain a regular sleep schedule if you're fighting the effects of depression.
If you are susceptible to any type of depressive disorder, then you'll experience more of a likelihood of falling into unpredictable sleeping patterns, such as staying up too late or sleeping during the day.
It would be most helpful to have a routine when it comes to sleep.
It is also important to avoid alcohol or illicit drug usage if you are battling depression.
Since alcohol is a depressant, it will cause you to feel even worse about your situation.
As far as physical activity is concerned, it is important for you to remember to exercise in some way by walking at least 20 minutes per day, going to the gym, or participating in some type of outdoor activity.
Since exercise releases endorphins, it will likely lift your mood or make you feel more in touch with your emotions.
Psychotherapy and Medication Management
Although it may be difficult for you to admit that you need help when battling depression, it can sometimes be a strength rather than a weakness to rely on others when you are feeling unable to care for yourself on your own.
Turning to the guidance of a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist can be incredibly helpful if you are battling depression.
Although therapists certainly do not have all the answers, they can offer a good deal of insight when it comes to dealing with life's most challenging problems or stressors.
Some specific ways that a psychotherapist would be able to help you are by encouraging positive self-talk, helping you find ways to enhance your self-esteem and self-worth, or teaching you how to implement effective stress management techniques.
It may additionally be helpful for you to seek the guidance of a psychiatrist.
He or she may prescribe you antidepressants or other such medications in order to help you feel less depressed and more involved in life.
Write Down Your Negative Thoughts
While it may be beneficial for you to reach out to social support while battling depression, you may not always have the convenience of being able to do so if they are busy or unavailable.
That is why it is important for you to learn self-help strategies for battling depression on your own.
One potential self-help strategy for managing depression is journaling or writing down any negative thoughts.
This technique may prove to be effective when it comes to combating self-doubt or feelings of worthlessness.
You will be able to see how much you have improved from that point just by looking back to reread your past thoughts, and by building on more positive thoughts and feelings.
Take On a New Hobby
Whenever you are battling depression, you will naturally feel as though you do not have any motivation to try any new activities.
But if you push yourself to take on a new hobby, then you may feel a bit more motivated.
Some examples would be taking art classes, reading a book series, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or taking up a new language.
According to Ian Cook, MD, psychiatrist, and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, "When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain. Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning."
Although it may be quite difficult for you to deal with daily life when battling depression, there is a strong possibility of hope of overcoming its debilitating symptoms.
A few coping strategies that we have outlined are taking on a new hobby, journaling, psychotherapy or medication management, maintaining a self-care routine, and learning to set realistic goals.
If you learn to manage your symptoms by trusting in the process of personal healing, growth, and renewal, you will be able to lead a meaningful life in spite of the negative impact that depression has on you.
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Many of us are often faced with struggles and hardships and finding help can be difficult. However, at Overcomers Counseling, we are here to help you in your time of need. We are passionate about people and we believe that ANYONE can be an overcomer if they are willing to pursue it. Don't let another day go by without getting the help you desire.
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