Exit depression. When you or your loved ones go through a period of depression, it can become hard to muster the energy to look after yourself. But remember, self care is community care. Taking an active role in your self healing is practical and necessary.
Unlike what common knowledge says today, you are not in a battle with depression, nor are you fighting it. Instead, you are learning about yourself. Slaying depression is the wrong paradigm; you are noticing and then recognizing cycles, patterns and habits. When you identify them you can change them.
Here are a few concepts to add to your daily life that have helped others exit their depression.
- Recognize depression is a global problem
- Practice caring for yourself in a different way
- Notice what works
- Record what to change or avoid
- Note what actions to increase
- List day-to-day activities
- Don’t shy away from treating yourself well
- Observe your emotional states
- Keep yourself active
- Create new goals for yourself
- Make new or renewed connections
- Be Consistent with your Health Habits
Recognize depression is a global problem
You are not alone in feeling depressed. The world health organization estimates more than 300 million people are affected by some form of depression. Realizing that there are lots of things in the world which are depressing but you can not change may help with a more positive perceptive. Remember depression is different from mood fluctuations and emotional responses to daily challenges. Research shows that other people are feeling just like you, so no matter how isolated you feel, remember, you are not alone.
Begin to love yourself
Love yourself exactly as you are right now. You are loved, although I did not figure that out until I was in my 30’s. It can be hard to believe this when you are depressed. Likely, you do not feel self love but you are your own lover in life. Become your own empowered guide, advocate and constant companion. Unfortunately, others will try to find out if you love them more than you love yourself. Make a commitment today to always stand by your side. When you love yourself you can love others.
Notice what works
Figure out what works for you. Ask yourself, what calms and soothes you? Find those activities, experiment with different calming methods such as aromatherapy, boxing, yoga, or other actions that give you a release. Take these strategies and notice what lessens feelings of fear, anger and being upset.
Record what to change or avoid
Start by making a list of activities, places and people that worsen your depression. For example, every time you walk into a particular room and you feel terrible, notice that. Likely the room (the environment) or a person in that location is triggering you.
A trigger is something that upsets a person (usually a stressful situation) by stimulating a memory, such as a sound, smell, person, object etc. So, why do we get upset? At every moment information is coming to us through our senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. This data stream is immense and our brains have to make sense of what should be paid attention to and what should be ignored?
Although this is a rather simplistic explanation – essentially our brains take the information and compare it with a database, looking for things worthy of an alert. This database has information on standard troubles. For example: if we touch a hot pan, the brain classifies this information – extreme temperature – as problematic and automatically initiates a response through our nervous system telling our muscles to “pull back!”
This database also has information collated from our past interpersonal experiences, which forms the basis of our beliefs. For example, if our boss walks through the door and past experiences may have shown that walking towards us leads to him yell, our brain pays attention. We react out of past experiences unconsciously.
Our brain tells us to be on the “Alert!” In this case, our brain chemically prepares us for action – sometimes referred to as the Fight or Flight or Freeze or Fawn or other responses. Although depending on various past situations the reactions can be quite individual.
The Reference System
An important concept for the Pain Processing Practice is the reference system. The reference system reveals/recalls the interconnectedness of past and present – an interwoven web of different threads both biological and neurological that connect our different experiences, programming, the memories of past. Those threads that are most similar and pertinent to the current internal and external conditions are recollected.
In short, our reference system requires searching the past, checking each time a trigger or insult happens. There is a constant interplay between the conscious and the unconscious.
Some people like, Joe Dispenza, even refer to the unconscious as the body, which, I believe, is a shorthand for muscle memory, autonomic functioning, and habits actions that do not need conscious thought focused on them to complete.
The unconscious contains knowledge accumulated in various ways throughout life. This vast storehouse contains past experiences of finding gratification for your needs, the consequences of these past efforts, and the emotions and feelings that are aroused. It is a reservoir of total memory and intuitive judgment.
We are often not aware of what triggers us. We may suddenly find ourselves in a bad mood, or feeling upset, accompanied by a headache, but have no clue what triggered it. In this case, we say the trigger has caused an unconscious response – meaning, it’s not something of which we are aware. It affects the emotions you have.
Note what actions to increase
Now that we’ve identified the bad, let’s focus on the good. Make a list of activities, places and people that spark good feelings.” Co-regulation of yourself and others is important. Co-regulation is what happens between people without any conscious thought. It is a healthy by-product of being together because we are naturally social beings. We do not have to be empathic in order to co-regulate. This comes from our nervous systems “feeling & talking” to each other, picking up on each others’ energy and feeling what each other is feeling. A profound connection to another person is an experience of a sense of oneness with him/her.
Sharing could be an easier word for what occurs in most cases of co-regulation, for example, a friendly offering of strength at the time of need. Unfortunately, when humans transfer and absorb energy, they aren’t always aware of it.
Co-regulation is an important form of interpersonal emotion regulation, but there is confusion in the literature from a lack of precision in the usage of the term. Those people who can help change your emotions are key to healing. Because you can model from them and copy that feeling for yourself. Most importantly, you can understand what lifts your depression and recreate that feeling yourself.
Compare your day-to-day activities.
This is not all theory. Avoid what needs to end in your day-to-day life and increase what needs to be added more to slowly or even quickly change your daily life. It is going to be difficult to include all the things that make you happy in the list, but find ways to incorporate the happy things, people and places in your day-to-day activities. For example, you might enjoy playing the guitar. Take time daily to ensure you play your guitar. Or if reading or watching a movie help then do that. It does not matter what but that you do things to make your mood change. Once your daily activities begin to change your happy biochemicals can kick in.
Don’t shy away from treating yourself well
This could mean taking long walks in nature, baths, spending quality time with your pet or your family and other activities that release serotonin. You can read uplifting quotes or inspirational books. An old trick is to write letters assuring yourself that this storm of sadness will pass and there will be brighter days soon. Do not forget to be kind to yourself and others. If you need your “me time,” let nothing stop you from taking it.
Observe your emotional states
Maintaining a feeling or mood diary can assist in keeping track of your mood changes. Once you begin to observe yourself you will recognize patterns. Then you can work on changing what needs to be changed. If you are using a healthcare professional, sharing what you learn will assist them in helping you. There is no need to let a momentary mood dictate the outcome of your day.
Keep yourself active
Go ahead, it is ok to get out of bed and join a group, any group. The group can be a prayer group, sports team, a community project, gaming or a hobby group. If you are accountable to others you will have a reason to get up and get dressed. You will have something to look forward to. You don’t even have to join a group if it makes you too uncomfortable, just trying different methods of therapy will keep your body and mind active. The important thing here is to keep yourself occupied with positivity and fun. Laugh and enjoy creating memories. This will leave you less room for self doubt, anger and fear. When you think you are not excited by any of the old things you used to enjoy, take a leap of faith and try new things like starting a new hobby or volunteering. Write down what you are grateful for. This will assist you in breaking unhelpful patterns and boosting your happy chemicals.
Create new goals for yourself
Learn a new skill like laughing on demand to help with depression. Make sure the goals are realistic though. Smile at yourself in the mirror while you brush your teeth. Say to yourself “I am healing.” Eat something that makes you happy. A piece of dark chocolate daily works for lots of people to have a happy moment.
Practice reframing what you tell yourself – the glass is half full. Or notice the silver lining. Optimists live longer.
Reframing is seeing things from a different perspective and saying things to yourself differently. Change the context or representation of a problem.
Setting unrealistic goals will mean failure. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, “See I am depressed because I could not…” you become disappointed and angry when goals are not met. The last thing you need when depressed is to harbor more negative feelings.
Make a new or renewed connection
Connect with people more than you’re used to. Keep in touch and keep talking. If you think meeting people in person is too difficult at this time, at least phone someone. Send people you like a text, an email and even a letter. It might be hard to share how you feel inside, but it is a healing practice. Look for someone who will listen.
It is proven that many people have found comfort in sharing their experiences. If you think your friend or family member will not understand, try them. If you’re still apprehensive, consider joining a peer support group. Being with people who face similar challenges and who understand the journey of self-recovery will benefit you greatly, especially from their experiences and learnings. You will find joy in knowing that your experiences have helped a fellow human being.
Be Consistent with your Health Habits
Good quality sleep is necessary.
One of the side effects of depression is the lack of sleep or too much sleep, either way, it’s not helpful. Making a conscious effort to get good quality sleep has shown drastic improvements in people battling depression.
Do not forget to eat well.
A healthy and nutritious diet adds physical and mental strength which, in turn, helps in the recovery process by helping you think clearly, improve your mood and increase your energy. Along with eating well, it is essential to ensure your hygiene is dealt with.
The little things like taking a shower before you leave or dressing up well can act as a huge catalyst in recovery and keeping bad mood at bay!
You may even find that wearing bright colors has a positive effect upon your state of mind. Good things like pleasant smells, tastes, music, beautiful art, and hugs will benefit your body and mind.
The next time you hear the phrase, “I am so depressed, you have no idea!” you now know what it means. You are also equipped enough to identify if the person using this phrase is a person with depression or is yet another person who needs to empower their self healing.
Depression has been and is thought to be one of the biggest concerns of humankind. There are studies that prove depression does not start and end with humans. Animals are prone to it too. With so much possibility and danger of depression looming, it is always best to be self-aware.
Notice, observe and recognize patterns, cycles, and habits in yourself and others.
You might be the one who saves a life!
What if you could…
✓ Wake up every morning pain-free and full of energy?
✓ Feel confident in your own abilities to control your own life?
✓Address the reasons that your pain, sleep, digestion, energy, weight and mood aren’t where they used to be?
Our focus is understanding WHY we lose the pain-freedom we once had. We help understand the causes behind your particular health situation.