Mental Health

 

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Mental Illness Awareness Month has been observed more than any other month of the year since it was introduced by President Jimmy Carter. This day is dedicated to raise awareness about a mental health condition known as depression. According to studies, around two-thirds of people with depressive disorders experience at least one episode per week. Symptoms of depression can include feeling sad or depressed, having feelings of worthlessness and guilt, low self-esteem or worthlessness, weight gain or loss, and feeling hopeless or worthless. These symptoms are experienced for a duration of two weeks or more. While there are many types of depression, such as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, people who suffer from long-term depression may also experience persistent symptoms of sadness, emptiness, irritability as well as decreased interest in activities you used to enjoy. People suffering from depression can exhibit increased fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Depression can have serious psychological consequences and can lead to feelings of worthlessness. It’s important to seek help when experiencing these symptoms because depression can be very unpleasant and negatively affects your daily life and relationships. Taking action now will give you time to get the help that you need.

In addition to the above mental health issues, depression can also cause other medical problems to develop or even worsen. For example, people with depression also experience nausea, anxiety, stomach pain as well as other medical problems. Depression can also trigger other health problems such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. If you’re struggling with the mental health condition, making an effort to find an effective treatment and seeking help can help your mood and reduce the severity of symptoms.

Here are five ways to manage depression.

1. Talk to someone

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Depression can be a symptom that prevents you from getting the support you need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a non-profit organization founded by doctors, therapists and other experts in health care, is working to educate those who suffer from depression. By encouraging people to talk to friends, family members and online communities about their symptoms, we can work together to overcome the stigma surrounding depression. NAMI supports people who are struggling with depression and makes sure people know they are not alone. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or feel ashamed. In fact, it gives you strength and determination to face the problem. Instead of ignoring your problems, talk to someone. You don’t need to tell others how you’re feeling, and they might just get through it and start doing something about it yourself. It’s important to think of your depressed loved ones first, before you make decisions about talking to a counselor. Having a close friend, family member or trusted confidante can encourage and motivate you during this difficult time.

2. Try positive thinking

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Depression often leads to negative feelings, which can lead to self-defeating behaviors and poor decision-making. To combat this problem, try using positive thoughts instead of negative ones. What are some examples? Think positively. Say things like, “When the mood gets dark and my eyes glaze over, I imagine positive energy flowing into them. Even if I’m feeling tired, I imagine my favorite thing being done right now – whether it’s watching cartoons or reading a book, my mind starts to wonder if my mind could pick a moment to stop and consider the possibilities.” Negative thoughts can easily get stored into your brain without you even knowing what to do with them. Positive thinking helps redirect your focus and remind you that you can still accomplish your goals despite when you’re feeling down and depressed.

3. Take breaks

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You’ll be surprised to learn that going to bed early at night won’t make your mood worse. When you take regular breaks throughout the day, the negative effects aren’t likely to continue to last. Most days, as soon as you walk out of the door, you’ll immediately return to your job or social activities. Your mind begins to wander. Some days, you can stay up late reading a few pages of a novel that inspired you while another person is sleeping soundly. That same novel can create more of an emotional connection and bring back memories of happy moments. On the flip side, some days, nothing will ever go wrong. So, you might wake up, brush your teeth, brush your hair, go to class or visit a friend. The next morning will definitely look completely different. All of your bad memories will come rushing back and you’ll only have to remember the good things you did earlier to avoid making the same mistakes. But sometimes, those negative thoughts may be a bit much and turn the corner. Instead of staying focused on the negative aspects, try taking a break and let your mind start fresh. Don’t spend every waking minute worrying about the future, but let your mind refresh. It’s also important to do just enough to do your best work and not too much. Overdoing anything can actually slow down productivity and affect your ability to concentrate. Remember that you’re not busy, so don’t overthink things. Focus on doing the right thing and leave your mind free to explore.

4. Go to sleep early

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Getting enough sleep can help you cope with major depression by giving you extra time to rest and recharge. Sleep helps us better understand ourselves and what we want. We lose track of our dreams during the day and forget where to find the motivation. Our minds become blank, as we don’t think about the things we want to achieve. When you do not sleep enough, your mind starts to wander or can be unable to perform certain tasks at the proper level. Poor quality sleep can also contribute to sleep apnea, which is a condition in which a person breathes less oxygen and has breathing difficulties. Poor sleep not only has negative impacts on the body and brain, but it can also lead to poor concentration when performing tasks. At times, we don’t realise just how much we’re affected by insomnia until our brain is forced to deal with the stress. Poor sleep means you can make bigger errors when you work or face a situation. Just like with everything else, we have to live with them until they fade out. Getting enough sleep each night helps you understand your triggers and helps you identify and deal with your negative emotions. One way you can improve your overall quality of life is to stay up later if possible. Get up no earlier than 8 am and stay active with a healthy routine. A little exercise can make all the difference in creating a relaxing environment and helping you cope with daily stressors.

5. Schedule time to talk about your struggles

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Depression can be overwhelming and isolating if you’re not able to share your story with someone who understands. A therapist can play an instrumental role in helping you discuss your struggles with someone whom you trust. Many people experience similar hardships to yours, so it becomes even more urgent to reach out for help and give yourself space to vent until you can find the motivation to move forward again. Being able to talk about your struggles and difficulties can be challenging, especially when you never know who is experiencing similar issues. So, start by asking those closest to you to reach out for a listening ear. Talk to them regularly and find out why they’re suffering and start to build your confidence in speaking about any issues you’re facing. Speaking up might seem scary, but making a conscious effort to open up and share your fears with someone else can be therapeutic to both you and others. There are great online resources available to listen to mental health stories and help you cope with the everyday stress your mind brings.

By implementing strategies like the ones listed above you’ll be better prepared to handle depression and ensure that you don’t spiral further into despair. Take advantage of these tools, and remember that you can always ask for help when you need it. Speak up and reach out for help. Take control of your wellbeing and lead happier and healthier lives!

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