Depression is a mental health disorder that afflicts over 350 million people worldwide, and the numbers are growing as it becomes increasingly clear that a whopping 15% of the entire adult population will suffer from depression at some point in their life. While there are different kinds of depression, some lasting only two weeks and others bearing down for an entire lifetime, the good news is most forms of depression and anxiety can be linked to chemical responses in our body. Working hard and effectively to best control these responses can play a huge role in getting you through periods of depression, especially on a long term basis. Mental ailments also affect us physically, causing insomnia, lethargy, fatigue and slows our mind down so that things that once seemed second nature to us can become our greatest challenge, such as keeping your area clean or cooking dinner. But the human mind is resilient and has the strength to overcome all the greatest challenges that come across us. If you, or someone close to you is struggling with depression or anxiety, building up these habits slowly but steadily can help fortify your mind and get you through what feel like the most endless of down days.
1) Have A Morning Routine
Having a healthy and consistent morning routine can be very beneficial to your mental health. It is as soon as we wake up that our minds are most open and prepared to make the most of the day to come. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your mornings are conducive to a more positive day to follow it. Ideally, one should start their day early, and make sure they have enough time to complete theirroutine. Waking up late in the morning and scrambling to freshen up, prepare for work and start your day, can lead to important parts of the routine being skipped, like having breakfast or amorning walk. This can inadvertently set the mood for the day, and that is often when negativefeelings can begin to snowball. A good morning routine can often help avoid the entire ordeal.
2) Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement
Everybody needs a little positive reinforcement every now and then, but in times of depression,
the need is greater and the supply can often feel like its diminished. That’s where self-affirmation
comes in. Make a habit of telling yourself at least 5 positive things every day. These can range
from positive things about yourself to things about your work, your friends and family or life in
general. It is important to constantly remind yourself of the good things and build up self-
confidence. These ideas can be reinforced by simply saying mantras like,
“Everything in life happens for the best”,
“If I believe I can, I can”,
“There are no obstacles too great for me to overcome”,
“I have the strength, will power, concentration and determination to achieve anything I set my
3) Soak Up As Much Sunlight As You Can
Believe it or not, sunlight and mental health are chemically linked. Sunlight absorbed by the
body and taken in through the eyes raises your serotonin levels. Low levels of serotonin have
been linked to depression and is associated with what was formerly known as Seasonal Affective
Disorder (major depression that occurs in a seasonal pattern). The Vitamin D that our bodies
produce when exposed to sunlight also helps to maintain bone strength. Whether as a part of
your morning routine, or a quick walk before lunch, make sure you get a little bit of sunlight
4) Sleep At Appropriate Times
Much like sunlight is linked to serotonin levels of the body, the dark lighting of the night
increases the melatonin levels of the body. This is the hormone in the body that is responsible for
helping you sleep. That’s why it’s important to sleep at night and remain active during the day.
This also helps to avoid excessive sleeping during the day and the general fatigue often
associated with depression.
A little bit of exercise can get the heart pumping and blood flowing. Keeping aside the physical
health benefits, research has shown that practicing any kind of form of exercise or physical
activity can help improve one’s mood and even reduce anxiety. This is achieved through the
release of certain natural brain chemicals that enhance one’s sense of well-being. Further, the
effort put into the activity also proves to be a healthy distraction from all the negative feelings and
impending stresses. Often, it can be a struggle to exercise regularly, which is why its important
to set reasonable goals to reach and to approach whatever physical activity you’re doing as
another tool to strengthen your mental (and physical) well-being.
6) Dealing With Negativity
This is the part that gets tricky. Often the lowest lows hit us when we are facing rejection, losses
or changes to our daily life. These shifts in our lives can devastate us and we become
increasingly vulnerable to smaller infractions committed by others or even ourselves. For
example, having an excessive reaction to an unkind statement made by someone or burying
oneself under guilt for a mistake made. But we all know that life never stays still for long, and
while sometimes that can be overwhelming, it can also be our solace. As each occurrence
happens, it helps to keep in mind, “this too shall come to pass”. Give yourself a regular reminder,
the negative emotions we often feel are by no means permanent. And what can sometimes give you comfort is reminding yourself that the deepest of sorrow can only be felt when you’ve felt the deepest of joy. Our strength often lies in knowing that the true power of happiness is in the sadness that may follow.
7) Talk To Someone
Be it family members, a friend, a mental health professional, or even a teacher, sometimes the best way tosort through the myriad of madness that runs through your mind is to talk to someone else. A
safe outlet for your worries, fears, anger or sadness helps you release a lot of the negativity
building up. However, it is also important to remember that everyone is facing a battle of their
own (or that sometimes people can be just plain insensitive), and many times the responses you are given may not be what you want to hear. But thepurpose of talking through these emotions isn’t for the response, but for you to gain a betterunderstanding of your own inner workings. And thinking out loud is an effective tool for that. Not to mention, it’s always good to remind yourself of the people around you who care for you, even if that care translates into some less than comforting responses.