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Depression and 5 steps to fight it

Depression can be overwhelming, draining your energy, drive and hope. Family members and friends who have not suffered from depression may have difficulty understanding why you can’t just “snap out of it.” But the good news is it may be possible to help yourself feel better by making small positive changes each day.

Although you might not feel like spending time with friends, exercising, getting out of bed or going for a walk, simple steps might be just what you need to help you move forward. Let’s look at five steps that can help you combat mild depression.

1. Take small steps to combat depression


Whether it’s losing weight or ending a difficult relationship it’s always better to think of making simple small steps. If you are depressed you might not have the energy for a two hour workout session at the gym doing Insanity, but you might be able to force yourself to make one lap around your block. Think about what you can do for one minute instead of two hours or for a whole week.

2. Create supportive relationships


Intuitively we know that isolation and loneliness are a recipe for depression, but if you are depressed the thought of going out and making friends or even a night out can seem exhausting. There are a variety of reasons depression may cause you to avoid relationships, but one key to eliminating depression is building new friendships and improving your support network.

So what are some simple steps to improving relationships?

  1. Find one trusted family member or friend you can talk to.

  2. Attend social functions even when you do not feel like it.

  3. Join a support group with other people who are struggling with depression.

  4. Socialize with other positive people.

3. Take care of yourself


People who are depressed have several common characteristics, but one of the most common is their failure to take care of themselves. So whether it’s maintaining adequate sleep patterns, getting out in the sun, exercising, caring for a pet or practicing relaxation techniques, taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is critical to eliminating depression.

4. Find activities you enjoy


My mother used to talk about acting your way into feeling. This means doing things you don’t want to do and hoping the feeling follows. If you are depressed it’s important to pick an activity or hobby and do it, even if you don’t feel like it. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark. Sometimes you’ll find that after you are engaged in the activity you’re really glad you made the effort to do it.

5. Get regular exercise


Scientists are just now starting to publicize and tout the benefits of exercise for combating depression, but studies are now suggesting “regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.” Scientists are still debating why exercise is so beneficial, but some are arguing it must generate natural endorphins, relieves muscle tension and reduces overall stress levels.
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