Rediscovering your Happiness – Managing Depression

Thursday, February 28, 2013 3:26 PM comments (0)

Managing-DepressionIt’s one thing to occasionally feel down, unenergetic and tired out, especially given the busy lives so many of us lead. However, consistently experiencing feelings of sadness, exhaustion and anxiety to a point where it affects the rest of your life can be cause for concern.

Depression is a very common mental illness and impacts people in various ways. It is estimated that one in ten adults suffers from depression at some point during their lifetime.

Frederick Miller, MD, PhD, Psychiatrist at NorthShore, recognizes that living with depression can be a challenge. He offers the following tips for managing and coping with depression:

  • Don’t be afraid to seek help.  It may be hard to admit feelings of depression to others, but you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Family members and friends may be able to help brighten your spirits, and encourage you to stay active and positive. It can also be helpful to talk with your physician, therapist or a support group for additional assistance.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help relieve stress and provide a positive boost to your emotional and physical health.
  • Keep a positive mental attitude. It's not just our experiences that influence our mood but how we interpret them. Are you prone to "personalizing," that is, taking blame for bad things that happen? If something runs amok, do you "catastrophize" and conclude that everything will always be doomed? You can actually train yourself to be more positive. Try journaling. Pick one event that generated negative feelings and force yourself to write down a more positive or at least balanced view of the situation. Over time, thinking more positively will become habit.
  • Seek out positive relationships. It may be hard to "reach out and touch someone" when you're feeling down but it can make a major difference. Call an old friend or send an email to a relative.
  • Find something meaningful to do. Helping others will make you feel good about yourself.
  • Consider getting a pet.
  • Plan a trip or to commit to a new hobby. Being goal-oriented helps to keep your spirits up.
  • Practice being mindful. Often, folks who are depressed spend too much time "in their heads." Take a walk and just "be." See how much you can notice using all of your senses: sight, sound, touch and taste.
  • Play some inspiring music.

What makes you happy? How to you manage feelings of sadness and/or depression?

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