Depression is a condition that is very treatable with the right support and lifestyle choices. Whether you’ve got a diagnosed condition or just want to improve your emotional health, here are some important tips for reducing the symptoms of depression.
Build a Strong Support Network: A support network doesn’t have to be an army of friends and family. It could be just one person who you can talk openly to about how you’re feeling. It’s important to have that person you can call if you’re having a particularly rough day or be honest with when things are overwhelming. For some people, that person may be their counselor or doctor. The important part is that you aren’t holding it all in and that you have that support system in place.
Challenge Negative Thoughts: A big part of depression or anxiety is those thoughts in our heads that tell us things are bad, we are hopeless and that it won’t get better. The simple exercise of checking those thoughts and challenging them can do wonders for your state of mind. If the thought floats through your mind that everyone is judging or looking down on you, counteract that with the reality that most people are so focused on their own problems that they have little time to think about yours.
Take Care of Yourself: It sounds so simple, but little things like getting enough sleep and eating as healthy as possible can make a huge difference on how you feel emotionally. Lack of sleep can, in and of itself, cause problems with depression and anxiety. Also, exercising has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression. So if you’re feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed, take a walk or head to the gym for a little while.
Use Moderation: We all know that drinking too much or abusing drugs can actually make you feel worse in the long run. Moderation is important when it comes to partying, but it’s also important in other aspects of our lives. If you’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed, you may have to say “no” to certain activities or opportunities. It’s more important to rest and take care of yourself than it is to do everything.
Most importantly, be proactive and go talk to a counselor on your campus or in your community if you are worried about your thoughts and feelings. Between 80 and 90% of people who are treated for depression experience significant improvement, and almost all individuals gain some relief from their symptoms. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you’ll feel better.