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Top Tips to Cope with Depression


Over the years I have had my share of ups and downs. However, sometimes the times I have felt down seem as if they are the darkest depths. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. With it came severe depression that stemmed from a lack of purpose and direction when I should have been starting to make my way in life.


Over the years that depression has come and gone whenever I felt like I wasn't living up to my true purpose. There were days when getting out of bed just seemed 'too hard' and food was non-existent. When I began studying natural health I started to understand these deep emotions better, triggers and treatments. In modern society there is commonly stigma for sadness and depression with people expected to "be happy". However, we are human beings not robots and emotions are a normal part of life. It is commonly the rejection of sad or unhappy emotions that causes prolonging of our suffering. With this blog post I am going to impart some knowledge onto you to better manage your depression and be all that you can be.


What is depression?

Depression was named after the Latin word Deprimere meaning "to press down". Jeff Foster likened it to "deep rest' where your body and mental state are going into down time to recover vitality after being exhausted by the weight of our own identity.


Symptoms of depression

Symptoms vary massively and can last a few hours to a few weeks or months.

  • Emptiness

  • Sadness

  • Hopelessness

  • Worthlessness

  • Crying (more than usual)

  • Irritable

  • Loss of interest in hobbies

  • Fatigue

  • Forgetfulness

  • Insomnia, oversleeping, waking early

  • Appetite or weight changes

  • Chronic pain

  • Thoughts of self harm or suicide (it is important to seek help immediately if you are having these thoughts)


Causes of Depression:

  • Brain changes causes by hormone imbalances, remodelling of brain and inflammation

  • Female hormone fluctuation as part of menstrual cycle or menopause can increase risk of depression

  • Family history increases risk of depression

  • Childhood trauma can increase risk of depression

  • Illnesses such as chronic conditions and chronic pain can increase risk of depression

  • Alcohol use can increase development of depression

  • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression

Treatment for Depression:

  • If you have severe depression you should seek help from a qualified psychologist. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been found to be beneficial as it helps you to understand harmful behaviours, thoughts and reactions and introduce more positive thinking. Dialectal behaviour therapy is very similar but it focuses on accepting negative thoughts rather than fighting them.

  • Light therapy has also been shown to be helpful at reducing symptoms of depression as it increases your exposure to white light. This is especially beneficial in Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that comes on in winter due to a lack of sunlight.

  • Meditation is a great tool as it helps to understand triggers, emotions and thoughts and alter our reactions. Insight timer has an app you can download onto your phone with some great meditations for depression, so be sure to check it out next time you are experiencing depression.

  • Acupuncture is another great tool for reducing feelings of depression and has been shown to be as affective as counselling.

  • Learn what your triggers are: an awareness of things that draw you into your depressive states will help you to manage these states better.

  • Learn how to set limits on your day to day life so that you don't get overwhelmed and drawn into depression. For example, scheduling rest time or fun time away from work.

  • Get enough sunlight (this is a must) at least 10-20 minutes a day between 10am-3pm.

  • Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, avoiding toxic people and participating in fulfilling enjoyable activities.

  • Sometimes using coping mechanisms such as journaling your thoughts and feelings or art therapy can help to process and understand them better.

  • It is important at this time to accept negative thoughts rather than getting stuck in a pattern of feeling unhappy because you are unhappy. This allows you to process them better and allows them to move on quicker. Resisting 'negative' emotions can cause disharmony and lengthen sad states.

  • Get enough omega 3 (can't stress enough how beneficial this is) eat salmon 3 times a week, a tablespoon of linseed a day or supplement. It is vital for brain health, mood and anti-inflammatory.

  • Exercise is of course preventative for depression, however, it may be hard to move when deep in this state. Therefore, ask a friend or family member for help to motivate you to start exercising or spend more time outside. Nature and green spaces also shown to have a positive affect on our emotions so the more outdoor time you get the better.

  • It may be a challenge to think about the true meaning and purpose of your life but this may assist you to improve your mood. This is your overarching goal that drives you through life's ups and downs. You may be driven to help others, teach children or love looking after animals. So take some time to reflect on what is important to you and brings you joy in this life.

  • Be aware of your self talk and consider would you talk to a friend that way? Try to communicate with yourself like you would a true friend.

  • Remember to reach out for social connection with friends and family. This is key - reaching out and connecting with others can be quite difficult but is one of the best treatments for depression.

  • Seeing a qualified health practitioner is beneficial in order to discover treat the cause of depression, whether it be inflammation or hormone dysregulation. If you are struggling and wish to connect I am available for free 15 minute appointments via my website.



I hope this helps you all to understand your depression better and live your best lives.


Love and light,


Branwen



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