Lighten the emotional load

By Sadaf Jabeen
Tue, 03, 17

Depression can be debilitating and is very different from just feeling unhappy. While sadness is a normal human emotion that comes and goes and is usually caused by certain events, depression is a constant feeling of sadness and hopelessness.


Depression can be debilitating and is very different from just feeling unhappy. While sadness is a normal human emotion that comes and goes and is usually caused by certain events, depression is a constant feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Depression drains your energy, hope and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. While overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, there are ways to beat it. Even if your depression is severe and persistent, small steps like avoiding isolation, exercising and learning relaxation techniques can help ease the symptoms.Lighten the emotional load

Tip 1: Stop the negative self talk

Depression reinforces self doubt and feelings of worthlessness. Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Shifting the focus of the mind is key to getting perspective on the situation and reclaiming your power.

Tip 2: Sleep tight

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone but especially for those suffering from depression. Aim for eight hours of sleep. Inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. Studies have shown that regular sleep routines have a positive effect on mood and actually reduce depressive symptoms over time.

Tip 3: Use more sun-light

Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Certain people have a disorder, in which, due to a lack of sunlight, they experience seasonal sadness. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day to boost your mood.

Tip 4: Do things that make you feel good

In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. If possible, do your best to distract yourself from over thinking. Your thoughts are your enemy when depression sets in. Play with a pet or go for a walk. Read a book if you are able to concentrate or finish a puzzle. Do anything that takes your mind off your fears and worries. Keeping busy is an effective way to overcome depression.

An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.

Tip 5: Exercise is the key

When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone working out! But exercise is a powerful depression fighter - and one of the most important tools in your recovery arsenal. Feel-good hormones such as dopamine and endorphins which are produced during exercise can improve mood in individuals with mild to moderate depression.

Try to go for outdoor exercise as it increases vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem while lowering tension and depression.

Tip 6: Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Research has shown that depressed people often lack an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) known as Omega-3 which has a positive effect on mood. Get omega-3 through walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish like salmon or tuna.

Also, people with depression should avoid alcohol and caffeine that can adversely affect your brain and mood. Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours. Minimize sugar and refined carbs. Boost your B vitamins as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression.

Tip 7: Stay connected

When you’re depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate. However, staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they don’t replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. When depressed, try to spend more time with family and friends. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away.

Tip 8: Practice meditation

It is an established fact that regular meditation is one of the best ways to heal depression.  Deep breathing and relaxing the muscles are the basis of all relaxation techniques and these two physiological actions work very effectively to help the psychological aspects of depression. Breathing should be slow and rhythmic, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Deep muscle relaxation is an excellent technique for everyone to master - not just those with depression - as it can be used anywhere to help deeply relax the body.

Yoga and tai chi are also great ways to help relax the body, and can provide the individual with much needed connection if done in a class.

Tip 9: Develop an attitude of gratitude

 Gratitude and depression seem to be inversely proportional. Many a time when we complain we can cause ourselves to be sad. Complaining is just a factor of not taking into account what we’re grateful for. Sit down and make a list in a journal of things you’re grateful for. Sometimes, having an outlet in this way can be soothing and ease your mind. Incorporating a daily practice of gratitude can improve your health, relationships, self-esteem, and sleep.

Gratitude may work by reducing underlying toxic emotions such as envy, frustration, resentment, and regret. If you can’t think of anything, it’s OK to start small. Oprah Winfrey, an enthusiastic supporter of gratitude, recommends starting with basics like having a bed to sleep in, if that’s all you can think of.

Tip 10: Forgive others

When we hold a grudge, we are the ones that feel the anger. The person whom we are angry with is probably merrily going about their business completely oblivious to your feelings. Don’t allow others to have this power over you. They may have caused you grief in the past, try not to allow that grief to continue - it only affects you, not them. Find a way to forgive - they are not worthy of your time. Lighten the emotional load and you will improve your mood and help you to overcome depression.