It is now widely recognized that depression is not just a change in feelings for the worse, but is a real medical condition affecting a large number of people in present day society. It might manifest itself in someone causing one or more symptoms that include behavioural, cognitive, emotional or physical in nature. Once a person goes under depression, it starts affecting everyone around him or her including family and friends.
For a long time, a lot of people were shy of admitting and getting help to deal with depression. But, with continued awareness and treatments available for this problem, a lot of people have started coming forward to get help for themselves. However, sometimes the level of depression increases to such a level where the intervention by close and loved ones becomes a necessity to help the affected person deal with it.
Although depression is generally not a preventable condition, lifestyle can play a significant part in its development. Making changes now can offer long-term benefits to your mental health. Here are some helpful hints that may assist you in keeping depression at bay:
1. Stay Active:
Not only is physical activity good for your physical health, but it can also help you fight depression, anxiety, and improve overall mood. And that doesn’t mean that you have to run marathons – engaging in almost any type of physical activity for at least 30 minutes, three to five times a week, is enough to serve the purpose.
2. Stay Connected:
Maintaining a social life helps to keep the mind occupied and fulfilled. Social support is also important during life’s many challenges, particularly as people age. Those who suffer from depression have the tendency to withdraw from friendships and relationships, causing loneliness and isolation. Taking steps to stay involved with the people in your life – and reaching out to meet new ones – can help to prevent this from happening.
3. Find an Outlet:
Sometimes the support of a friend or family member is not enough. Preventative therapy, whether you choose to see a therapist one-on-one, in a support group, or even via online counseling, can give you unbiased insight into your situation, and help you through it. Similarly, finding an activity that you can enjoy without the help of others, such as yoga, journaling, or reading, can help to relieve stress and serve as a welcome distraction from negative thoughts.
4. Care for Your Physical Health:
Being in poor physical health can undoubtedly have a negative effect on your mental well-being. Getting adequate sleep, regular physical exams, eating a healthy diet, and drinking alcohol in moderation are important preventative steps for most health conditions, depression included.
5. Plan Ahead:
Being prepared for life changes can help to create a sense of order, and ease your mind about the uncertainties of the future. Though it is impossible to predict the outcome of every situation you encounter, planning out how you will handle stress triggers, if they arise, will reduce anxiety and allow you to seek preventative support.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.