Depression is most commonly described as a state of being associated with low mood, feeling “flat” or lacking emotions, low motivation or energy, irritability or feeling “cranky”, or having lost interest in hobbies or activities that in the past one has typically found interesting or fun. Depression can also be a period where someone may experience changes in sleep patterns or weight and feel mild to severely sad or suicidal. Depression also can often times impact our thinking, making it difficult to concentrate or make decisions.
Most people experience some degree of depression at some point in their lives, sometimes due to typical life events such as a death of a loved one, transitions such as loss of a job or divorce or other daily circumstances that bring up feelings of hopelessness or overwhelm. Talking with a family member, friend or a professional that you can trust is important in not only managing depression, but preventing a “downward” mood spiral where depressed feelings may become increasingly unbearable.
#1. Talk to a family member, friend or professional who you can trust. Let them know how you’ve been feeling, what you have been thinking about and any worries or concerns that you may have. If possible, create a support network.
#2. Identify a positive activity that you can engage in on a regular basis (at least once/week) such as going for a walk, exercise, art, yoga, listening to music or playing a musical instrument, etc.
#3. Increase time socializing.
#4. Identify things that have meaning for you or are interesting to you and invest time in pursuing those subjects of interest.
#5. Journal about your thoughts and feelings. Begin a thought journal and make a daily list of thoughts that often lead you to feel more depressed afterwards. Have 3 columns where you write a column for thoughts, feelings and positive, reality-based replacement thoughts. Becoming more aware of negative thought patterns and consciously replacing them with healthier thoughts can help change negative patterns of thinking and feeling.