Wednesday, December 8, 2010

10 Happiness Helpers You'll Want to Try

It is the most wonderful time of the year!  We hear that a lot right now....but what we don't hear is that November-February is the time when DEPRESSION is the highest.   I found this article from Everyday Health that might help if you are feeling depressed or if the hustle & bustle of the HOLIDAYS has got you a little blue.


 Use these strategies to manage the symptoms of depression, promote positive thinking, alleviate stress, and boost your self-esteem.

1-Fighting Depression.  When you have depression, you can find ways to take control of your life and manage your treatment even beyond medications. Making some lifestyle changes can boost your mood and help alleviate many of your symptoms, including low self-esteem. "Minimizing stress as much as possible is a good idea when you're depressed, especially unnecessary or avoidable stressors that people can be pulled into when they're depressed," says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. 

2-Talk to a therapist.  Working with a therapist is often an important part of successfully managing depression. "Psychotherapy will focus on helping people adjust their lifestyle in ways that are possible, minimize their stress, and cope with stressors," says Dr. Nelson

 3-Write in your journal.  Writing in a journal is great therapy and can help you manage depression. You can relieve stress by being open about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your writing — and stress management is an important part of living well with depression. Be totally honest in your private journal. Writing down your feelings and challenges with depression can release pent-up emotions. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel after putting pen to paper for just a few minutes each day. 

 4-Boost your self-image.  People with depression often experience low self-esteem, so finding ways to feel better about yourself is an important aspect of treatment. Practice positive thinking by focusing your thoughts on your best qualities. You can also make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are. 

5-Stick to a schedule.  Maintaining a healthy and regular routine is very helpful for people with depression, says Nelson. "Many times with depression, people's motivation drops," he explains, making them feel unproductive and fueling feelings of low self-esteem. Schedule an activity that you have to do every day — make it one you really enjoy — and aim for as much balance as possible in your life. 

6-Stay Involved.  If you’re experiencing depression, you may feel like you want to withdraw socially and keep to yourself, either because of low self-esteem or a lack of interest. "Social life is important," says Nelson. Push yourself to stay involved with your friends. Social connections can help keep you from spiraling downward into deeper depression and from becoming isolated and alone with your thoughts. Go to the movies, share a brisk walk, or just catch up with a close friend — it might lift your spirits. 

7-Depend on others.  Friends and family can help you feel better about yourself when depression brings you down. Allow yourself to lean on loved ones when you need them. They can encourage you to follow your treatment plan, exercise, eat a healthy diet, and generally take care of yourself — all steps necessary to get better.

8-Get enough sleep.  Getting plenty of rest every night is a must for your mood. People with depression often have noticeable sleep disturbances — they either sleep too much or not enough. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule, and never skimp on your ZZZs. Feeling run-down will exacerbate your symptoms of depression and make it more difficult to be social, get exercise, and manage stress. 

9-EXERCISE!  Exercise offers physiological benefits that can help people going through depression. Physical activity relieves stress and can make you feel great. Plus, the satisfaction you get from finishing an engaging and challenging workout can boost your self-esteem as you get stronger and more physically fit. When you fight depression with a regular exercise routine, you’ll feel better emotionally and physically.

10-Make the Food & Mood connection.  "Diet and nutrition are very important," says Nelson, and cites omega-3 fatty acids as an example. Some studies have shown that a higher daily intake of omega-3s, which you can get in fish like salmon or through fish oil supplements, can improve mood. There are many connections between elements of diet and good nutrition and depression, adds Nelson. Eating a healthy diet can make you feel healthy, fit, and attractive, which improves self-esteem, while feeling unhealthy can worsen depression and play into negative self-perception, he says. 

~Everyday Health

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