7 Tips for Managing Depression
Depression is a serious thing. I have had bouts with it off and on for over 25 years. If you have the same struggle you know it is not something we want to be. It’s not something we can just “get over” and it doesn’t mean we are crazy (although some days it feels like it). It simply means we have a condition that over 15 million American adults, age 18 or older, suffer from in a given year. That’s a TON of people! You are not alone in your struggle.
There are varying degrees and causes of depression. It is extremely complex and can affect people differently. It is common in people who have grown up in an addicted or dysfunctional family (that’s me), but it is also prevalent in people who grew up in “normal” households as well. If you are not sure if you have clinical depression or not, seek the care of a doctor or qualified professional therapist to help you determine.
Did you know women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men. Maybe it has to do with many of us trying to be Wonder Women (Yep, that’s me, too!) or maybe it is because of our genetic makeup. I’m not sure, but I have years of experience with dealing with the long-term effects of depression. I have learned a few things along the way that help manage it. Keep in mind, these things do not cure depression, but they are helpful in coping with the symptoms.
1. Keep a gratitude journal
I started keeping a gratitude journal in 2017 and this has been so helpful for me. It’s surprising how simply writing down what you have to be thankful for can improve your mindset and your mood. There are many different ways you can do this. I found it most effective by taking each day and journal about one thing in my life I had to be grateful for. Some of them repeat throughout the year, but that’s okay! It’s that daily little reminder that keeps me motivated and helps get my mind off of struggles I am having.
2. Go outside
Studies have shown sunshine naturally improves one’s mood and outlook. On days when I am feeling especially depressed, simply going outside and being in nature really does help. Take a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the solitude of the outdoors. Give it a try and let me know your results!
3. Community and Serving
Listen, Satan thrives in our minds if we isolate from others. Our mind is Satan’s playground and he will remind you of your past mistakes, sins, and failures. Isolating keeps these thoughts swirling around, but being involved in community keeps our minds focused on others. It is a natural need we have as humans to be around other people and have positive relationships. I have found when I serve in my church, I naturally feel better about my own circumstances and feel a sense of purpose. Find somewhere to plug in and get involved.
Now, wait just a minute! Don’t stop reading now. Exercise, in general, is not something I enjoy doing, necessarily. In fact, I tell people all the time “If you see me running, you better run, too!” BUT, exercise really does help manage depression. My favorite activity is riding my vintage bicycle. It’s not a race, it’s just an easy-going ride around my neighborhood. This activity actually kills two birds with one stone (see number 2) and it’s fun!
God loves to hear from His children. Just the act of praying, praising, and worshiping can improve those negative thoughts spinning around your mind. God will replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Remember, Satan loves to remind us of our past mistakes, sins, and failures, BUT GOD reminds us of who we are in Him!
I know what you are probably thinking, “I can’t laugh because I am not happy.” I have thought the very same thing, but laughter is a great way to battle depression. Listen to a comedian like Michael Jr. or watch a funny movie like my favorite,