Helping others is not only a great way to give back, but it also helps us to feel better. Volunteering our time reduces stress and anxiety. Using your skills to work within the community also helps to create new and lasting relationships which helps to battle depression. Being able to give back your time in a meaningful way also helps us to get a better sense of fulfillment and joy out of life.
Especially during the winter months, bright light therapy (BLT) can be a great way to cope with depression. The decrease in daylight hours can wreak havoc on our moods. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal depression caused by a change in serotonin due to decreased light and vitamin D. So, by using bright light therapy, we are able to mimic the suns rays to counteract the negative effects this has on our bodies and brains. Bright light therapy takes place by sitting in a light therapy box, this box gives off filtered light to remove UV rays while providing artificial “outdoor” lighting. One of the most beneficial things about BLT is that is helps to reset and control circadian rhythms. If you struggle with irregular sleep or too much sleep as a side-effect of your depression, BLT might be a great addition to your treatment plan. In addition, BLT can be used with many other treatment options as it is chemical free. This means it is safe for pregnant and nursing women! And can be used to increase the effects of medications with no chemical interaction. Although BLT has been shown to be most effective on SAD, studies have shown it to be beneficial for other types of depression treatment as well.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that is a short-term, hands-on, and based on problem solving. By working with a CBT therapist you can change the thought patterns and behaviors causing your depression and anxiety. CBT has been in use since the 1960’s and has been proven to help those suffering with depression and anxiety. By working with a therapist you will learn how to handle stressors in a healthier more balanced ways. We cannot prevent negative things from happening in our lives, but CBT therapy can help us change the way we feel about these events. This type of therapy has become so popular that you can now get treatment online through sites like Betterhelp.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from depression greatly benefit from routine. Creating an easy to follow morning routine that incorporates self-care and things you enjoy will help you to start each day off on the right foot.
Getting out of your own head can be a great distraction from depression. By reading a good book we are able to connect, dream, and imagine. This allows us to separate ourselves from our current stresses. Whatever genre you enjoy can be a great escape. Self-Help books are another way to cope with depression because they teach us more about mindset and mental illness. Also, we can learn techniques and tips for improving our mood, changing our mindset, and finding happiness.
There are many different types of hobbies we can participate in. Some are creative, physical, or relaxing. But, hobbies differ from just doing something by how engaged we become in the activity. If you find yourself searching for a phone or looking for a way to avoid the task, it might not be the hobby for you. I.E. Binge watching “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” while playing candy crush on your phone, and texting your BFF might not really be a hobby. Although you might enjoy this activity the level of engagement is spread out. It would make it hard to set goals and feel accomplished.
Keeping up with the joneses is a sure fire way to end up unhappy. By watching other peoples highlight reels on social media we decrease our overall happiness. For instance, it can cause us to struggle with self-esteem, body image, worthlessness, listlessness, etc. As a result, taking a break from social media, can allow us to find more joy and satisfaction in our lives.
It’s no secret that exercise improves mood. The trick is getting moving in a way that feels good to you. That serotonin is no joke. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that contributes to happiness and wellbeing. Depression is caused by an issue with your brains neurotransmitters, serotonin is one of these. Exercise helps to boost serotonin and overtime can help your brain to become more balanced. Moderate exercise does two different things to help fight depression.
Journaling helps us to clear our minds, problem solve and work through our emotions. In addition to this it acts as a record keeper, to help us revisit past experiences and identify our triggers. Journaling is often incorporated into therapy for treatment of depression and anxiety. Spending just 5-10 minutes recording your day is a great way to get started. The below list of prompts can help you get started. For more Journal Prompts to help you get started click here.
Sometimes we get so comfortable in our own home and space that we don’t want to leave the house. You’re not alone there, but getting out of the house is very good for your mental health.