Depression is not just the occasional feeling of sadness, it’s much more than that, those feelings can be long-lasting and substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments.
If you are feeling any of the following symptoms you should seek help as soon as possible:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Learning how to relax is a great skill that will help you reduce stress, cope with depression and promote good sleep, is a key life skill. Relaxation techniques and are often overlooked in today’s busy, demanding and hectic society.
By learning and applying the following techniques your journey to fight depression will become much easier:
Regular exercise (20–30 minutes a day) is extremely important for staying healthy and releasing tension. Most exercises are very cheap or free. Group sports are fun, but individual activities like walking, running, swimming and cycling are also very good for clearing the mind and releasing physical tension. The important thing is not to overdo it and injure yourself.
- Creative Visualization
This is a technique where you imagine a scene, place or situation you regard as safe, restful, and happy. Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Breathe gently through your nose, eyes closed. Picture in your mind the place you like – a forest, the beach, a field. Try and smell the aromas, taste the air, hear the sounds. Feel your body relax. Continue for at least 10 minutes.
Sit comfortably in a quiet spot. Close your eyes if you like. Breathe in through your nose. As you exhale, say the word ‘One’ silently to yourself. You might like to focus on the sound you make exhaling (like the Sanskrit word ‘Om’). Or, if your eyes are open, focus on an object, exploring its colors and textures. Spend at least 10 minutes meditating, but stay focused.
- Helpful Self-talk
Your inner voice can help you relax and cope with depression. Encouraging yourself can be just as important – and often even more important – as having others encourage you. Practice saying helpful things to yourself like, ‘It might be tough but I can have a go’, and ‘If I take this calmly I can do it one step at a time’. Always challenge unhelpful self-talk.
- Deep Breathing
Sit with your legs uncrossed, good posture, and place your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes. Inhale deeply through your nose into your abdomen for a long count of five seconds (your chest should move only a little). Hold for a long count of two seconds, then breathe out slowly through your mouth for a long count of five. Repeat for 10 to 15 cycles. Stop briefly if you feel light-headed.
Where to find help?
- Doctor’s office or health clinic
- Family service or social service agency
- Counselor or social worker
- Counselor or social worker
- Local hospital
- Community mental health centers
- Joining a support group
- Taking to your family and friends