Do you suffer from depression?
Pain is pain. Mental pain can lead to physical pain, and sometimes mental pain, on its own, is bad enough. And while some depression patients very much require medication, medication alone doesn’t always help.
Sometimes, you need a little something more.
Take these three steps and you might just see some real symptom improvement.
Studies show daily exercise is almost as helpful as an antidepressant. You don’t have to go crazy here. Even taking a ten-to-fifteen minute walk each day can get your blood flowing.
Keep in mind it can take up to four months of regular exercise to see the results you’re looking for. You’re not going to reap all the benefits of exercise overnight. It takes regular, persistent effort, even when you feel like doing just about anything else.
Did you know performing any act of kindness can act almost like a dose of antidepressants? Every time you help someone you trigger a dopamine release.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in your brain that lets you know when you’ve done something that makes you happy.
Of course, helping other people with their problems can help you with your problems, too. It will get you out of your head, get your mind on something else.
Things might be really rough right now. But you might gain some traction by reframing all your problems in terms of gratitude.
Your house is a mess? You have a place to live.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend left you? You’re free to seek someone who values you.
Your job is a drag? You have a job, which not only means money is coming in but that you’re well-positioned to get a new one. Unemployed people, by contrast, can have a harder time.
You’re unemployed? Now you have an opportunity to figure out what you really want to do.
Everything can be bad or good depending on your perspective.
When we suffer from the dis-ease of depression, it can be a sign we’re not taking care of ourselves and our bodies in a loving way.
Self-care isn’t about bubble baths, massages, and aromatherapy (though these things have their place in a solid self-care regimen.
It can be honoring your body by eating right, practicing good sleep hygiene, and visiting the chiropractor on a regular basis. It could be walking away from toxic people and situations that no longer serve your highest and best.
It could mean taking a good, long look at your schedule to see if you’re taking on too much, then taking steps to deal with the problem.
Even if you’ve never managed to do any of these things in the past, they are not innate things. They’re all something you can learn to do. They’re all habits you can build.
It takes practice to feel comfortable serving as a volunteer. It can take time to reframe your experiences automatically, so you’re not burdening your body and mind with negative thoughts. Self-care definitely takes some training, because our society does not, in general, structure itself in a way that supports it.
But when you take the time to let your body and mind optimize themselves you may just find you’re getting more done than ever before…and you may find you suffer a lot less, too.