Have you or someone you have known experienced long-term bouts of sadness? What about loss of interest?
When you have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities or start to feel that life isn’t worth living, you may be experiencing more than the blues. You may be experiencing depression.
Being depressed all of the time, without any motivation to do anything, sucks the life out of you. You can’t move, eat or sleep. And depression hurts not only you, but your loved ones, too.
Depression is known as major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression. When it’s not treated, it can affect how you think, feel and behave and lead to emotional, mental and physical problems.
Below are 10 warning signs that you or someone you know may be dealing with depression, symptoms vary by individual. All 10 signs may not occur at once — severity can fluctuate. Whether mild or major, depression can be treated naturally and with medical care.
10 Warning Signs of Depression
1. Sleeping too much or not enough. 2. Interest in death and suicide. 3. Poor nutrition. 4. Loss of interest in life. 5. Decreased or lack of energy. 6. Persistent feeling of sadness. 7. Feeling helpless and hopeless. 8. Crying all of the time. 9. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions. 10. Aches and pains that don’t get better with treatment.
How to Eliminate Depression from Your Life
1. Start a daily routine. Create a daily schedule. For example, you can wake up at 6 a.m. every day, meditate, work out, take a shower and eat breakfast. A schedule gives you control over your life, because it’s up to you to make and stick to it. When you feel stuck, change your routine.
2. Change your diet for the better. When you don’t eat a balanced diet, you can feel lethargic and emotional. Go through your refrigerator, freezer, pantry and cupboards and toss out the junk. Replace foods with whole grains, fruits, healthy fats (avocado) proteins (salmon), vegetables and whatever foods your doctor recommends.
3. Exercise does your body and mind good. Humans were meant to move. Working out five to seven days a week is good for your mind, body and soul. Has it been some time since you’ve exercised? Start off slow. You may want to join a gym and work out with a personal trainer who’ll create a workout routine for your body.
4. Challenge negative thought patterns. How often do you challenge negative thought patterns? For example, if you feel worthless, how do you know you’re worthless? Did someone tell you that you are? If they did, how do you know it’s true? Whoever put you down most likely had issues themselves and passed their “stinking thinking” onto you. Question your thoughts before you accept them as truth.
5. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Take a pottery class or join a hiking group. Sign up for a half or full marathon. Go to the art museum or eat at a new restaurant. When you do something new, it changes the chemical makeup in your brain — dopamine levels are altered. This is associated with pleasure.
6. Go and have some fun! Reconnect with your inner child and snap out of a depressed state. Think back to your childhood. What did you do for fun? You can go to the park and swing on the swings. Or go to a fair or festival. Even if you don’t feel like having fun, push yourself. You must try to have some fun.
7. Seek help from your doctor and/or a counselor. Admit that you need help and speak with your doctor and/or a counselor. Do not allow “shame” to hold you back. You have nothing to be ashamed about. Depression affects millions of people each year and is treatable. But you must be willing to ask and accept help.
Say NO to depression You don’t have to live with depression. Seek treatment right now and take your life back. And don’t allow your emotions and thoughts to control your life. Whenever you feel as if you’re about to slip into a depressed way of thinking, you want to challenge it. You can choose better feeling thoughts. You can choose to be free.
This article first appeared on the Huffington Post on 13 February, 2014.