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9 Ways to Relieve Depression

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Depression can make you feel worthless and alone and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Here are 9 ways to relieve depression.

Exercise

Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day can significantly improve your mood. Chemicals in the brain are released when you exercise. These chemicals are endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoids and are known to instill feelings such as happiness, confidence, and reduce stress and anxiety. Exercising outside can lift your mood even more as sunshine gives us vitamin D. Studies have shown that a lack of this vitamin can lead to depression.  Sunshine can affect our sleep patterns as well, and disrupted sleep patterns can cause low mood. If you become depressed in the winter months, you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can be helped by purchasing a lightbox. 

Find Religion

Religion gives people something to believe in, a meaning to life. Regular church attendance can provide people with a routine and a sense of belonging. They will also meet new friends and create a social circle. Any religion can offer comfort. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and other Mormon churches believe there is evidence for the book of Mormon. It is thought that the book contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD.42. Part of the book, 3 Nephi 11-26 even mentions the darkness of depression:

“The tiny spark of light that can get through even in the midst of utter darkness is the light of Jesus Christ. Christ declares himself that he is the light of the world. With that spark of light, we can find the strength to seek the professional and spiritual help we need. Anyone, including those with mental illnesses, can hold onto the promise that if we turn to the Savior of the world, we will be delivered from darkness.”

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Your brain, like other organs, responds to what you eat and drink. It needs several vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. If you deprive your brain of these essential nutrients, it can’t function properly. This can raise your risk of mental health problems. Although no single nutrient or eating plan can cure depression, good overall nutrition is essential for your mental well-being. Eating foods that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, protein, and fatty acids is key to keeping your brain in good working order.

Stay in Touch

Ensure that you do not cut yourself off from friends and family. Depression can make you want to withdraw from the world and shut it out. It is essential that you do not alienate people – nothing can lift your mood more or make you feel loved like being with those you love can. 

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is a known depressant. It might feel good at the time, but the next day your mood will plummet. Alcohol changes the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. In fact, you may feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours or even for an entire day after drinking. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so when drunk, you may do things you wouldn’t normally do – embarrassing or dangerous things. The next day you will start to remember these things and become extremely anxious and depressed, brought on by shame and embarrassment.

Volunteer

If you cannot manage to cope with a full-time job, it might help to volunteer. When you volunteer, you commit to making yourself available to a person or an organization for a period of time on a regular, ongoing basis.  You do it in small steps, not all at once.  You become accountable to others for showing up on time and ready to function at some moderate level.  

Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment that perhaps you may have forgotten.  You feel better about yourself, and your self-confidence improves. You come to feel needed and appreciated for what you do for others. If you volunteer your help, it gives you a sense of achievement and purpose.

Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts 

Depression can alter your way of thinking as well as making you feel bad.  Learning how to change your thought patterns is important, and this can be done through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that affect your feelings and behavior and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems. It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behavior therapy (examining the things you do). A therapist will look at how you deal with situations now and review your past and how specific situations may have formed the person you are and how you react to circumstances.

Do What You Love

It might sound obvious, but doing things you love will lift your mood. Make a point of doing something you love at least once a day.  Listen to uplifting music, take a dog for a walk, paint, dance, or cook.

Create Happiness

Make something to look forward to, such as a lovely day out or a holiday. If you feel depressed with everyday, mundane life, this will give you a light at the end of the tunnel.  Try to create happiness goals throughout the week. Treat yourself to a tasty takeaway one day, buy a new book or cd the next.  Set yourself goals and reward yourself for achieving each goal. Ensure the goals are easy to attain and that the journey to reach them doesn’t cause you even more stress. A goal could be something like cleaning the bathroom or walking to the shop for some milk. As you become more confident and less anxious, you can increase the goal’s challenge and frequency.

About the Author

Amanda Acuña an influential Mom Blogger created MommyMandy as an online resource to the parenting community. She has four children and they currently reside in Texas.

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