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Living with Depression: How to Cope with Your Symptoms and Improve Your Quality of Life?

Living with Depression: How to Cope with Your Symptoms and Improve Your Quality of Life?

Depression is a psychological, biological, and environmental problem that has affected millions of people, both directly and indirectly.

Photo: Living with Depression | InStyleHealth

Especially during these times, with the global pandemic still threatening the global population. People suffering with depression often have difficulty functioning normally, and frequently experience problems in their everyday lives as a result.

The emotional toll of depression can shatter families; result in a loss of employment and in some occasions end in suicide. While there is no cure for depression, treatment options are available that can help sufferers of depression lead normal, happy lives.

Depression alters the way in which a person is able to think, feel and view the world around them. These changes yield adverse effects on behavior directed towards others and towards one’s self.

If a person experiences feeling of sadness or malady which continues over a long period of time, it is likely that person suffers from some form of depression. Knowing the symptoms of depression is the first step toward recovery. Those who feel they may have depression should consult their doctor.

Everything feels more difficult or challenging when you're dealing with depression. Going to work, socializing with friends, or even just getting out of bed can feel like a struggle at all.

However, there are some things you can do to cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are eight great solutions for living with depression that you can do:

You Need to Build a Support Network – For some, this may mean forging stronger ties with friends or family. Knowing you can count on supportive loved ones to help, as support network, can go a long way toward improving your depression.

While for others, a depression support group can be key. It may involve a community group that meets in your area or you might find an online support group who meets your needs. There are online support groups that can be found in social media nowadays that offer support to those who are living with depression.

You Need to Improve Your Eating Habits – Research continues to discover clear correlations between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry has become mainstream.

There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. A 2012 study suggests that zinc deficiency increases symptoms of depression.

But before you make any major changes in your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician as it is highly recommended.

You Need to Reduce and Manage Your Stress – When you're under stress, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. In the short-term, this is a good thing because it helps you gear up to cope with whatever is causing the stress in your life.

In the long run, however, it can cause many problems for you, including depression. The more you use techniques to reduce stress, the better because it will reduce your risk of becoming depressed.

You Need to Improve Your Sleeping Habits – Sleep and mood are intimately related. 80% of people with major depressive disorder experiences sleep disturbances according to a study in 2014.

Although you might feel like you just can't fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.

Turn off electronics at least an hour before you go to bed. Use dim lights to read a book or engage in another relaxing activity. You can also resort to listening “meditation music” or “relaxing music” that can be found on YouTube channels.

You need to only use your bed for sleep and sexual activity. Doing work in bed, or even in your bedroom, can cause you to associate your bed with stress, rather than relaxing ambiance.

You Need to Beat Procrastination – The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination a lot more tempting.

It's important that you set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination.

You Need to Get a Handle on Your Household Chores – Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills.

But a pile of paperwork, ​the stack of dirty dishes, and floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of worthlessness.

Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better.

You Need to Create a Wellness Toolbox – A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.

The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it's important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.

You Need to Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts – Depression doesn't just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can help improve your mood.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression.

There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.

Create a list of the activities you might try when you're feeling blue. Then, choose an activity to try when you're having a particularly rough moment. Cuddling your pet, listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, or reading a good book are just a few options or activities you might find helpful in dealing with the condition.

Once a diagnosis has been made and a treatment program initiated, the next step is to recognize the effect that depression has on the mental processes that govern one’s behavior. Understanding the mechanisms of depression can help people who are coping with this often-devastating illness. 

Of the treatment options available today, all involve either talk therapy, medication or a combination of both. It may take several weeks or even months before a treatment plan can produce any obvious positive results. During this period, having an understanding of the nature of this condition can be highly beneficial. Realizing that depression is a treatable disorder can promote rational thinking and a diminished emotional response toward the symptomology of this unfortunate condition.

There are several resources available on the Internet which can help sufferers recognize the symptoms of depression and give advice on how to cope with it once a treatment plan has been established. Through treatment, understanding and the support of others, living with depression can be made substantially less difficult. Many who have suffered from depression continue to lead healthy and productive lives.

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