Practical ways to lift depression
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Sally Klinkenborg, (MNCS (Acc.), Ad Prof Dip PC, MBACP
6th October, 2011
Depression is a common experience in the Western world today. Why is this? There are a combination of reasons. These include an over-reliance on material possessions to bring peace and contentment; a lack of self-awareness; an unhealthy lifestyle and unresolved anxiety/pressure from unrealistic goals.
Material possessions do not bring peace and contentment, particularly if this does not exist already. It becomes necessary to continually update with an improved model and therefore satisfaction is never achieved. It is far more beneficial to possess inner contentment, through having the peace of mind that comes with self-awareness and a healthy lifestyle.
Self-awareness comes from really knowing and understanding oneself. The link between one's thoughts, feelings and behaviour then becomes clear. When these are negative, depression can result. Breaking this negative cycle and introducing positive thinking can help to lift depression. Keeping a reflective journal will promote self-awareness and serve as a record to draw on in the future.
Depression will always have a cause, whether it be an event such as a bereavement or childhood abuse. These circumstances often result in low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, which can then lead to depression. When there is a diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder or schizophrenia, a healthy lifestyle and good self-esteem can greatly improve quality of life.
What is a healthy lifestyle? This involves having a balance between work and leisure. This lifestyle will incorporate enough good quality sleep and a nutritious diet, with 3 meals per day. Regular exercise that is enjoyable to the individual will lift the mood, help to lose weight and improve heart function.
It is good to have a goal to aim for. However, this goal will become a burden if the goal is unrealistic. Thought needs to be given to what one wants to achieve. This can then be broken into steps. For example, one can identify an aspect of the depression i.e. poor sleeping. A plan can be made to promote healthy sleep through the use of herbal remedies, aromatherapy, a relaxing environment in the bedroom and relaxation.
To summarise, there are many causes of depression. However, there are steps one can take to lift the depression. Counselling, either in a group or one-to-one, can provide support and help to identify practical steps that can be taken to lift the depression and improve quality of life.
The good news is that finding ways of lifting the depression is empowering and that reduces depression in itself, making it less likely to recur. And if it does, the tools to help minimise and lift the depression will be there.
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