Work Related Depression

Work Related Depression: Is Your Job Making Your Miserable?

How much do you love your job?

Are you one of those lucky people who love their job? Do you bounce out of bed in the morning, full of energy and eager to face the challenges that work has to offer? Are you cheerful, and smiling and enjoying everyone you meet? Do you feel stimulated, elated, and satisfied by the work you have to do? Does your work feel like play? Do you feel that you are making a meaningful contribution to society?

No? This doesn’t sound like you? Don’t worry you are not alone.

Perhaps you are one of the millions who are doing the daily grind, to earn a living and feeling weighed down by the hopelessness of your situation?

Is getting out of bed hard for you in the morning? Do you drag yourself into work each day and force the corners of your mouth to lift upwards? Are you unhappy with the work you do or is your boss a milder version of Hitler? Do the people you work with complain all the time and gossip?

Could that mean they gossip about you? Do you feel isolated in your job? Do you find yourself longing to be somewhere else, doing anything but the job you actually have?

If you answered mostly “Yes” to the second scenario, above, then you may be suffering from workplace related depression.

This is known as circumstantial depression, because it is brought on by the circumstances around you.

The good news is that if you had happier circumstances, which in this case means, if you had work you loved, you wouldn’t be depressed!

The bad news is it is not so easy to change jobs these days. It is a possibility though and maybe it might be worth giving the idea some serious consideration. Before you initiate such drastic change, here are some ideas to help you cope so that maybe you won’t need to switch jobs.

Things you can do to improve your workplace experience and decrease your work-related depression

I understand that everyone’s circumstances are different so you might not be in a position to do all of the following. However the more you can do the better you will feel.

Eat a filling and healthy breakfast. This will give your body and mind the fuel it needs to work at its best throughout the morning keeping your mood elevated.

Bring a healthy lunch to work with you and drink plenty of fresh water. Avoid any sugar-laden treats as they can cause a crash in your blood sugar levels leading to a depressed mood.

Walk or cycle to work. The fresh air and exercise will elevate your mood, get your blood circulating, and keep you fit in the long term. You won’t be stuck in traffic jams feeling frustrated. Instead, you can arrive at work already feeling satisfied that you are accomplishing great self-care and fitness levels.

Feel-good endorphins are released when you exercise, making it easier for you to step into the office with a genuine smile on your face.

Pretend everybody you meet is an embodiment of a divine teacher. Imagine that they have something important to teach you. Be grateful for whatever they teach you today, even if that is how to be more patient with them!

If you can, talk to your boss about how you are feeling. Is there room for increased responsibility, more variety, or tasks that are more challenging? If you don’t ask, you won’t know what the answer might be.

Try not to take your work home with you. Leave it at work at the end of the day and do something to nourish yourself in the evening. You need time to decompress and recharge your batteries.

Yoga, mindfulness or meditation can all help to elevate your mood and help you disengage from negative thoughts you may have circling around in your head.

Get enough rest and relaxation.

Rest, relaxation and healthy sleep habits contribute to an increase in happiness. It is important for our mind and our bodies to get enough solid sleep each night in order for us to function at our best. Our bodies need this time to shut down and recuperate from our daily activities. It is also the time that our subconscious mind works through any problems that we have to find solutions.

Engage with friends and make sure you have a social life outside of work, even if you don’t feel like it at first. A sense of being a part of community is crucial to a sense of belonging and connection, all necessary for our mental health to improve.

Laughter makes you feel better, so watch comedies and laugh with friends as often as you can.

Singing is very good for your physical, mental, and emotional health. If you are able to, listen to uplifting music at work to keep you motivated in the right frame of mood.

Some of your work colleagues might not be nice to work with and they might very well be the reason for your unhappiness at work. It pays to understand that we are all on our journey in this lifetime. People act the way they do because of the experiences life has thrown at them. They are responding to life the only way they know how. If we can accept each other for who we are and understand there might be reasons behind someones behavior that we are unaware of. Maybe they have had a troubled life or their partner just left them. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is for their behavior, they are only acting the way they do from their point of understanding. If we can learn to accept that and remove any judgement it makes our own life more enjoyable.

There are ways to feel happier and healthier in your workplace. The small steps you take towards your own well-being will positively affect not only you, but also those around you. Making work a better place for everyone.

Depression and Helplessness

Depression and helplessness usually go hand in hand. However we all come across feelings of depression and helplessness to some degree or another at some point during our life. This is normal and perfectly fine as long as we get back on track and overcome these feelings. However for some, feelings of helplessness set in and begin to affect our way of thinking. This in turn then affects the quality of our life. Here are some helpful tips to help you understand those feelings of helplessness and how to overcome them.
Begin by identifying the problems, fears, issues and obstacles which make you feel helpless and try to discover why they make you feel this way. It is a good idea to write these down as they come to you, so you know what you need to work on. Also by writing things like this down it brings the awareness of the issue to our conscious mind. When we do this our conscious mind acknowledges the problems so then the subconscious mind can help us to find solutions. These issues then become easier to deal with.

Learn Ways To Cope

Work on ways that encourage you to take on new beliefs. These new beliefs can be that you can be independent, self-confident and are capable of dealing with anything that crops up in the future. Daily affirmations can help you to instill these new beliefs. Come up with your own affirmations that will keep you inspired to change.
Learn new ways to deal with these feelings of helplessness when they crop up. Make a list of different ways that you could handle these feelings.
Practice ways to deal with conflicts and problem solving when they arise.
If you start to get yourself on track and then begin to doubt yourself again, remember that this is only normal and pick back up from where you left off.
Make a small list of small daily goals that you know you can accomplish. Such as getting up by a certain time. Making your bed as soon as you get up. Whatever the success, however small be sure to reward yourself. If you don’t get through all of your list don’t beat yourself up about it. Just try again tomorrow.
Realize that change does not happen overnight. All good things take time. It will take time to change your thoughts and feelings of depression and helplessness so always strive to do the best you can, one day at a time.
A big mistake a lot of us make is aiming for perfection.  Please don’t aim for perfection all the time.  None of us are perfect and no one ever will be. It is just an illusion. We all make mistakes and that is just part of the journey. When we can learn to accept that, we can stop being so critical of ourselves.
Identify what you need to do to grow in the skills of self-coping, self-healing and self-confidence. Feelings of helplessness can cause us many problems in life, the longer you feel helpless, the less control you have over your own life.

Common experiences that occur through feelings of depression and helplessness.

You begin to feel that no matter what you do or how hard you try you
cannot succeed in life
Become over dependent on others around you to help you overcome your problems
See yourself as totally incompetent
You develop a deep-seated fear that you are unable to handle any situation
Become miserable, unhappy in life and depression sets in
You think of yourself as a victim that always needs rescuing from situations
Your outlook of life becomes very pessimistic in general
Your are afraid others see you as being frail and weak
You become despondent because you run out of people who are willing to look after you by solving your problems for you
Then you resign yourself to the fact that you will always be helpless, that you cannot possibly change.

I am here to tell you that you can.
Anyone can take back control of their life at any time they choose. No one else can help you or fix you until you make the decision to help yourself.

There are many ways you can help yourself overcome these feelings, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone. You can take back control over your life and make important decisions again to successfully solve your problems. All you need is to have faith in yourself and dig deep and find that faith and bring it to the surface. While we all have the ability to overcome our problems ourselves, it doesn’t hurt to get advice from friends and relatives as long as you aren’t relying on them totally to solve your
problems for you.
There are many articles and natural remedies on our website that have helped others and can help you on your journey to overcome your depression and feelings of helplessness.

Dissociation and Depression

Overcoming dissociation and depression can be a challenging thing. But there is a way to get through it. Always remember that you are not alone.  Dissociation causes us problems with our emotions, physical sensations and how we feel about ourselves as well as the world around us. It is often
associated with depression and anxiety or when a person has gone through a
traumatic experience. People suffering from dissociation often have feelings of life not being quite real. They also often fear they are going insane or that they have some incurable illness. Talking with, and being around others becomes almost impossible. Deep anxiety that is caused by these feelings can develop into a social phobia.
The feeling of dissociation can vary from person to person depending on the
circumstances that brought it about, but common thoughts and feelings
associated with dissociation include:
The world around you feels and seems unreal
A feeling of not belonging in the world
A grey fog covering your vision like having a veil over your head
The world feels like it is moving at a faster pace than normal
Confusion
A terrible feeling of not being able to cope
Unsure of yourself
Others find happiness but not you
Extreme anxiety
Feelings that everyone is against you
Feelings that everyone is talking about you
These are just some of the feelings caused by dissociation and these feelings eventually cause the sufferer to believe that they have to turn deeper
inward to themselves in order to get back into reality. They continually watch
themselves for any brief glimpse that reality as they knew it is returning. Of
course the more they turn inward and worry the worse the symptoms become.

There are many different strategies that we can use to overcome dissociation and depression.

Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is one of the most important things. Allowing yourself to breath and just be in the moment. Learning to let our thoughts just pass through our minds instead of compounding them with the chatter. It is the chatter and self talk that goes on in our heads that just makes our dissociation and depression worse. Step out into nature and just breath in the fresh air. Listen to the breeze in the trees. Take in the smells of the flowers. Concentrate only on what is in this very moment, breathe and just be.

Meditation

Meditation has shown to have great success with people who suffer from dissociation and depression. It has so many benefits for our mental, emotional and physical well-being.  Meditation balances the right and left hemispheres of our brain to bring about a sense of calmness. It reduces the feelings of stress and gives us a greater mental clarity. If practiced regularly it will help you to learn to focus your thoughts in a more productive manner to help you get past the feelings of dissociation.

Natural Alternatives

Natural alternatives can help those suffering to overcome feelings of
dissociation particularly when the cause is severe trauma. Those suffering
from dissociation due to anxiety and stress are able to rid themselves of
these feelings through many of the self-help natural alternative methods available. If you require more help then find yourself an understanding doctor or therapist to help you get through it.
It is important to remember that the world is changing all the time but hasn’t actually changed to the degree that you are feeling. It is only your perception of the world and those around you that has really changed. These are only temporary thoughts and feelings you are having. Once you have conquered and overcome what is causing the feelings of dissociation you will see things as you once used to.
For those who suffer from feelings of dissociation due to depression and anxiety you should realize that the feelings are just that, no more than feelings and these feelings will leave in time. It is important not to be constantly studying them and wondering when they will go. We all tend to over analyze our thoughts and this is where we get worse. Try to accept that they are here for a time and then give them no more thought.
Once you have lost some interest in your feelings and you are not constantly worrying about them it can be surprising how quickly the world once again becomes the world you once knew. Accepting your feelings and any thoughts you might have during this period is essential, for it is only when you lose fear of the situation can you recover.
For natural self help alternatives check out our articles and natural remedies.

Music For Depression

How Music Can Help You To Overcome Depression

Let’s talk about how music for depression can play a vital role in helping to lift your mood. No matter who we are or what we like we all have our favorite songs. There are songs that make us feel happy. There are songs that inspire us. Some songs bring back memories and make us feel sad. Other songs bring back pain of loss and grief. Then there is music that makes us feel energized and unstoppable. Music is food for the soul when we learn to listen to the right music at the right time. Music can be a powerful tool when dealing with depression.

If you are dealing with an emotionally trying issue, music can help you cry to release pent-up feelings of hurt, pain, and anger. Conditioning and programming from society tells are that crying makes us weak. We need to stop listening to what others say and stop caring what people think of us. Crying is a very powerful release of emotions. If we don’t release our emotions they build up in our bodies and can have detrimental effects on our health. So find a song that makes you sad and cry to your heart’s content. You always feel better after a good crying session. Music for depression has some surprisingly great benefits.

Different types of music elicit emotions and has the power to change our mood!

Music has a direct effect on the brain, as it stimulates various feel good centers and neurotransmitters to illicit a particular response. For most, no matter which music each individual prefers, the response is positive.

Studies have found that music also has a direct physiological effect on the body. Finding the right music for you can help to heal on every level.

One study where researchers evaluated patients going into surgery found that those who were assigned to music in contrast to groups who took anti-anxiety drugs had less anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Researchers found this to be compelling evidence as to the power of medicinal uses of music.

Several other research studies have shown that patients can benefit from music. It has been shown to help patients recover faster and many require less anesthesia. It has also shown that patients and are more likely to recover well when the surgeon’s play songs in the operating room. About 80% of operating staff believe that music has helped them do their job as well.

Music for depression is powerful. Here are some ways that music can help your depression:

  • Music can help you get through your issues.

    When you are in the darkest of places it is difficult to see through your emotions. There is good news. Don’t just sit there. Let the magic power of music take its effect. If you are sad and cry, that is okay. Tears are expressions that release depression. Music allows you to express your emotions in many ways.

  • Music changes your mood.

    When you are tired, an upbeat tempo can make you feel more energetic, when you are down, a happy song can uplift you, these are the ways in which music can inspire you to better deal with your depression and improve your mood.

  • Music inspires creativity.

    If you find that your motivation levels are low due to your depression, turn to music for the answers. Allow music to motivate you and bring out your creativity to heal your depression. Just sit still and listen to your favorite song. Researchers in Finland found that your mind goes into a wandering mode. When your brain listens to music, this inspires creativity. Anyone can benefit from a bit of creativity. It can also help us to find the answers that we are looking for if we allow it.

  • Music helps your breathing.

    Music can either slow down your breathing or speed up your heart rate. Everyone responds to music. You may find that your foot is moving while your body sways to the music. Depending on the music you may even feel the beat vibrating through your body. This can be quite energizing and great for lifting your mood.

  • Music can help decrease your blood pressure.

    Try listening to reggae music, Celtic music, or classical music to decrease your blood pressure. According to the American Society of Hypertension, research tells us that this simple task can greatly reduce your blood pressure. Research tells us that music can improve movement in neurologically impaired people with Parkinson’s disease or after a stroke, can improve athletic performance, and decrease stress.

  • Listen to the right tempo.

    A slow, meditative tempo music has a relaxing effect on breathing and slows your heartbeat. Faster music will do the opposite effect. It increases your heart rate and respiratory status. You can be the one in charge of your mind and body, just by selecting the songs you like. Music for depression can help in so many ways. The next time you are feeling depressed, try listening to a slow meditative tempo and see if that works for you. If not then find an upbeat tempo that works.

  • Music can reduce bodily pain.

    The lyrics and the melody can help reduce or at least partially decrease people’s pain. According to the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can enhance a person’s ability to tolerate pain. It is used to treat osteoarthritis pain, rheumatoid arthritis and back problems by up to 21 percent. That means a great deal while you are hurting and especially if your depression is related to pain.

    If you are feeling down and are trying to lift your mood then find a favorite song that always makes you feel happy or strong. The more you can motivate yourself to listen to music that makes you feel good the sooner you will find your life improve.

Music is a powerful tool in dealing with depression. Be sure to experiment to find the music that best helps on your journey to deal with your depression.

For more easy ways to overcome your depression check out our many articles here.

What Causes Depression

 

Depression can occur at any age and no-one is immune. Studies show that women are more susceptible to depression than men. However this maybe because women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help. Many children today are now suffering from depression also. Many people wonder what causes depression so we have put together some of the causes and risk factors for you.

Some of the factors that appear to put a person at risk for having depressive symptoms may include some of the following:

  • Certain medications, such as sleeping pills and some high blood pressure medications
  • Chronic or serious illness, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Abuse of illegal drugs or alcohol
  • History of mental disorders such as eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and depression
  • Blood relatives who have a history of suicide, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, or depression
  • Childhood depression that started when you were a child or teen
  • Stressful of traumatic events, such as the loss of or death of a loved one, sexual abuse or child abuse
  • Being in a stressful relationship or having financial difficulties

Medical Conditions

According to the National Institute Of Mental Health, it has been proven that depression risks increase when someone is suffering from any of the following medical conditions. Terminal or serious illness, drug abuse or addiction, alcohol abuse, eating disorders or after a heart attack.

Risk factors for Depression

The following are medical risk factors for depression:

  • Biochemical Factors. Depression is a type of psychological disorder that some believe is caused when the neurotransmitters are not in balance. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that aid in the brain’s ability to function normally. These chemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals help to regulate the many physiological functions the brain has to do. There are experts who surmise that some people are just more susceptible to depression.
  • Genetic factors. Having a family member with a mood disorder can increase your risk of depression. The American Psychiatric Association indicates that if one twin (identical) has depression, the other twin has a seventy percent chance of developing depression. Depression can, however, happen in people who have no family history of depression.
  • Sleep disorders. Chronic sleep problems are linked to depression. While experts don’t know if lack of sleep is the cause of depression, episodes of low mood seem to follow times of poor sleep.
  • Serious illness. The stress and pain that come out of certain conditions can affect a person’s medical state. There are many chronic conditions that are connected to higher rates of depression. Some of these chronic conditions include cancer, stroke, thyroid disease, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and chronic pain. Others are Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Social Risk Factors for Depression

There are many social risk factors for depression, they include the following:

  • Childhood abuse. Those who were neglected or abused as kids are at a major risk factor for getting depression. Such bad experiences can also result in other mental disorders as well.
  • Women have twice the risk of having depression when compared to men. This may, however, be due to more women going for depression treatment when compared to men. There are others who believe that depression in women may be due to changes in female organs throughout their lives. Women are especially vulnerable to becoming depressed during pregnancy. They can also be prone to become depressed after giving birth and while in menopause due to hormone irregularities.
  • Lack of Support. Having no support or having very few friends or relationships that are supportive is a typical source of depression. Feelings of loneliness or exclusion can bring on a major episode in mood disorders.
  • Major Life Events. Even happy times, such as having a baby or getting a new job can increase a person’s chances of becoming depressed. Other life events connected to depression include retiring, buying a house, moving, and getting divorced.
  • The death of a loved one. The death of a loved one causes great sadness. Sadness is a part of grief. If your grief symptoms last more than a couple of months, you need to see your doctor if this is the case. Some people will feel better in a few months, while others will have a more serious depression.  

Substance Use Risk Factors for Depression

Substance abuse. In many situations, depression and substance abuse go together. Alcohol and drugs can lead to many changes in the brain that increase the chances of suffering depression. It could also be that those with depression try to medicate themselves with alcohol and drugs.

There are also certain medications that will increase the risk of getting depressed. These include prescription painkillers, steroids, sedatives, sleeping pills, and blood pressure medication.

No matter what the cause of your depression is, it is important to know that there is always help available to you. Support numbers are listed on the link on our home page for your area if you need support or someone to talk to. There is also plenty of information throughout our website that can assist you in overcoming your depression. The most important thing is to acknowledge where you are right now and make the decision that you want to make changes in your life. Ultimately it is up to you. If you are not happy with your life or where you are then you, and only you, have the power to change it.

Are you ready to take that step?

Practice Mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness plays an important part in dealing with and overcoming depression and anxiety. It is a relatively new term that many people don’t fully understand. However it has been practiced in many different forms for centuries.

Eckhart Tolle sums it up perfectly when he says “In today’s rush, we all think too much – seek to much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being.”

Many people these days are in a constant state of stress, over thinking anything and everything in their lives. Media and television have programmed us to think we need the latest car, bigger house, the modern conveniences, the fancier this and that. We need to eat certain foods, to look a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way. It is telling us we need to fit in a box with everyone else. We are constantly in a state of thought about what we do not have. As well as all the things we want that we probably can’t afford.

Unfortunately we have created a culture where we think it matters about the ‘things’ we have and the image we put out to others about who we are and how we live.

In reality none of this is really important. Having gratitude for what we have right here and now is truly what is important.

Mindfulness is about learning to retrain our brains to focus on the importance of what actually is. The here and now. The more we practice mindfulness the easier it is to continue to be in that state. However, it does take some practice.

By practicing mindfulness we can increase our happiness by appreciating everything around us at any given time. It has proven benefits for dealing with depression and anxiety and improving our health in general.

Every morning when we wake up we make a decision. A decision to have a great day or a bad day. If we wake up reluctant to get out of bed and face the world because we think it is going to be a crappy day, then it is going to be a crappy day. You will spend your day looking for all the things that are going wrong. You will find the crap everywhere you look. If you wake up in the morning and think it is going to be a great day then you will begin to look for the good around you. Things might go wrong but keeping focused on what has gone right will definitely help you in accomplishing that great day.

Practicing Mindfulness

To begin to practice mindfulness we need to learn to focus on our breath. Pay attention to your breath as you take a deep breath in and again as you slowly breath out. As a thought enters your head, pay attention to whether it is a  positive or negative thought. If it is a negative thought, acknowledge that thought and affirm it is negative and then let it go as you return your focus to your breath. If that negative thought returns try to change it to a positive thought and then return to your breath again.

You will never stop the thoughts that constantly run through your head but learning to acknowledge them and let them go is so important.  By continuing to focus on the breath you teach your mind to slow down and not over think the negatives. If you can’t stop you mind from wandering then choose thoughts of gratitude while you focus on the breath and you will begin to feel better quicker. The idea is to learn to quickly change a negative thought into a positive. The more you practice this the easier it will become.

Mindfulness is all about just being in the moment, letting go of the past and not thinking about tomorrow. Right now is the only thing that really matters. The key is to just continue to focus on the breath in this very moment. Even if you only do this for 10 minutes every morning it will greatly improve your mindset for the day.  By practicing mindfulness on a daily basis you will begin to feel the stress disappear and learn to have control over your thoughts

This in turn will have great benefits to your overall health.

For more information on how to practice mindfulness click here

Panic Attacks And How To Control Them.

Many of us are familiar with the phrase “panic attack.” At the same time, many of us are not entirely sure what they are and what causes them. In the event you’re dealing with a panic-related issue, the good news is you’re certainly not alone. Panic attacks are probably much more common than people realize.

It isn’t unusual for individuals to suffer a one-time panic attack as a result of stress or a stressful situation.  But for many people panic attacks occur on a regular basis. Read on to learn more about panic attacks, panic disorder, and what causes each.

What Is a Panic Attack?

Panic attacks are sudden, intense feelings of fear and anxiety. They can occur at any time, even when a person is otherwise feeling relaxed. They tend to last between 10 and 20 minutes, but the effects can linger for several hours. While panic attacks can be very uncomfortable and lead to emotional complications if they resurface frequently, typically they aren’t physically dangerous.

The actual physical effects of a panic attack differ from person to person and even from case to case. Symptoms that people commonly experience include chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for those of a heart attack, especially if the person is suffering a panic attack for the first time. Other physical symptoms include faintness, nausea, hot flashes, light-headedness, and dizziness.

What Causes Panic Attacks?

While there are a number of factors that can contribute to a panic attack, the exact causes are unknown. Panic attacks can sometimes be caused by major changes or stressful situations in life, such as a new job or the loss of a family member.

Certain people with phobias also experience panic attacks when they are exposed to whatever it is they are phobic to. Having a panic attack in a certain situation can also lead a person to think that situation has the potential to bring on another attack. These cases are known as situational-bound panic attacks.

Other factors can be more long-term and lead to the person being more prone to future panic attacks. People who experience psychological conditions such as anxiety disorders tend to experience panic attacks as well.
These long-term, recurring cases are known as panic disorder. Panic disorders can affect anyone, but typically they affect young adults and they tend to occur more frequently in women than in men. They are usually treated through either psychological therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Panic attacks can be confusing and scary, especially while they are occurring. But, knowing a bit about them is the first step to helping yourself to get through them.

Breathing.

One of the most important things you can learn to control your panic attacks is breathing. Quite often when a panic attack comes on you begin hyperventilating. This is short shallow breathing. It is important to change your breathing to long deep breaths as quickly as possible to prevent the full onset of the panic attack. I know this is something we generally take for granted. Deep, controlled breathing will subside a panic attack quicker than any other option.

Hyperventilating can make many of the symptoms of a panic attack worse, while controlled, deep breathing can help to relieve the symptoms. When we breathe deeply down into our stomach a few times it instantly lowers our stress levels and our heart rate and the symptoms of the panic attack dissipate.

Avoiding Stress

Avoiding Stress That Can Lead To Depression.

Positive stress can be good for you, but when stress becomes chronic and does not go away, it can cause some chemical changes in the body-mind that can eventually develop into major depression. Everybody will experience some stressful events throughout the course of their life: losing a loved one, a job loss, getting divorced, moving house.

Even positive stress such as getting married, having a baby, buying a new house, or going away on vacation can have negative repercussions potentially leading to an episode of depression. Some people lack the resilience of others and perhaps do not have the coping mechanisms in place to prevent depression from developing.

That is why it is important to understand the mechanisms that prolonged stress can trigger. Avoiding stress is not always easy but we can certainly learn to reduce the amount of stress we allow into our lives. Then you know what to do to prevent the onset of depression from occurring.

Acute stress relates to the primitive instinct known as the fear, flight fight response. When something makes us anxious or fearful, our bodies produce cortisol, a stress hormone. This helps us feel alert, and ready for action. Yet when the stress is ongoing, cortisol can make us feel anxious, and it can lower dopamine and serotonin levels. Both these hormones are involved in helping us feel happy and relaxed.

Coping Mechanisms

Part of the problem lies in unhealthy coping mechanisms that many people use to get through a stressful time. For example, because they do not feel so great, they no longer wish to go out and socialize. That makes them feel isolated. To cope with the isolation they may watch too much TV or may start drinking or smoking too much.

Then they feel badly about themselves and the negative thoughts they are having about themselves make them feel even worse. So they drink, or eat, or smoke even more. The downward spiral towards major depression has begun and the snowball effect is set in motion.

It is great if you can learn to recognizing when you are starting to drop your healthy coping habits.  If you can be aware of when you are starting to use unhealthy habits to manage your stress, this is the key in preventing a depressive episode from occurring.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Comfort eating
  • Finding excuses not to go out, or exercise
  • Turning to alcohol or cigarettes as a crutch to help you manage uncomfortable feelings
  • Your sleep is disrupted
  • You feel irritable
  • You find it hard to concentrate

Before things spiral down even more, now is the time to build yourself up.

  • Make an extra effort to reach out to friends and connect with others. Make it a goal to call one friend a night, a different friend on two or three occasions in the week. Feeling socially connected can help elevate your mood.
  • Make sure you eat nutrient-rich foods and avoid junk foods and sugary drinks. You will keep your mood stable and help build immunity by avoiding sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Identify Your Stress – It is very important to understand your own stress responses, this means understanding how exactly stress affects you and also what causes you stress. Use this information to tailor your life to avoid stress as much as possible. Keeping a journal is a good way to identify what stresses you out, and remember that these things can vary based on other criteria like your fatigue level. When you learn to manage stress, you will greatly improve your mental health and arm yourself against depression.
  • Manage Your Time  – Time management is a skill that eludes many of us. We all are caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Becoming overwhelmed without any structure or direction can easily lead to a lack of time for relaxation and self-care, which can lead to depression. Take the time to consider this in order to better manage stress and reduce your risks for depression.
  • Think Positively – Reward yourself when you are successful and try not to dwell on failures. Accept that everyone, including you, has limits and cannot succeed at everything. Don’t allow your mind to be consumed by the things you struggle with. Focus on the things you do well.
  • Cut out alcohol and cigarettes completely if you can. You will live longer and feel better!
  • Send yourself love and compassion. Be very gentle with yourself and treat yourself to some healthy feel-good activity like getting a massage or going to a yoga class.
  • Make sure you are exercising and getting plenty of fresh air.
  • A walk in nature can be very beneficial.
  • Having a therapist and regular counseling sessions can be very helpful, too.
  • Meditation and relaxation are important
  • Getting daily hugs, finding something to laugh about, practicing gratitude, and focusing on positive thoughts are all beneficial in maintaining a positive outlook, staying happy, reducing stress, and preventing depression.

Being in Control

 

I have heard so many adults over the years say ‘you are dealt your lot in life and you just deal with it’. That has always implied that we have no control over our life. Therefore whatever happens you just suck it up and deal with it.

I was convinced for a very long time that this was true. There were so many things that lead me down a path that I thought I had no control over. My life slowly descended into this place of misery. One day I woke up and wondered how the hell I got there. I was surrounded by this heaviness. A feeling of complete sadness and knowing I had lost my way.  I remember thinking this can’t be my life.

I had woken up to the realization that my marriage was a dead end road. Things had definitely not turned out how I had planned. I was brought up to believe that marriage was forever and you worked through your problems.  I knew that no matter how hard I tried, it could not be fixed. With three young children at the time I had no idea how I could make it right. I knew my children were suffering just as much as I had nothing left inside me to give them.

I didn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings as the thought of having to face another day seemed too daunting. Sleep was the only thing that took the pain away. The negative thoughts that went though my head constantly were so destructive. My self worth was at an all time low and I felt that I had failed miserably in every area. I had failed in my marriage and I had failed as a mother. The overall feeling was I had failed as a human being. I felt useless and worthless. I couldn’t see a way out. It was nothing but darkness with no light in sight.

This was not what I wanted for my life or for my children. It took me a long time to realise that only I could change it. It took me even longer to start making those changes.

After I left my husband  I was given a book called The Celestine Prophecy written by James Redfield. I didn’t mind reading as it took me into a fantasy world where I also didn’t have to think about my life. This book was, and still is considered a new age book to help people awaken but was written in a story form. Everything in the book resonated with me. I began to wonder if maybe I did have some control.

Well, skip forward 18 years and I can promise you that life is what you decide. You have total control over your thoughts and the decisions that you make. It is in your control to change the thoughts that are within you to more productive ones. No one has control over what you think except you!

This was one of my most valuable lessons. I had to stop my thought processes. When a negative thought came into my mind I had to acknowledge it. Stop. Breathe. Then turn it into a positive thought. When you are suffering from depression, this is the hardest thing you will have to do. It is not as easy as it sounds. With practice I became better at it until it became natural.

Change is never easy. I was suffering from severe depression. As much as I didn’t like myself or my life I had to make the decision to get out of it. You need to get to the point where you say “enough!” You have to want to get better MORE than you want to stay in your comfort zone.

It took me a long time to take back the control of my life. I look back now and can see every decision that led me to where I ended up. Decisions that I had made. So much time wasted playing the victim and blaming everyone else for everything that went wrong in my life. I accept now that it was my choices. My decisions. I am so grateful now that I tried to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

As the years have gone by I have mastered my thoughts. I am not perfect. I still have ups and downs like everyone else. In the end I know it is my choice how I choose to react to situations that come up. It is my choice to hang onto a negative thought or to discard it.  Believe me I am not immune, those thoughts still arise. I just choose now to let them go. I do not let what other people think of me have an effect on my mood. Also I don’t allow the actions of others to get to me either. This is my life. I am in control. I know I am strong enough now not to let those thoughts take hold again. No one else has that power or control over me.

My children are now all grown up and they are happy, healthy well adjusted adults. Glad I made the choice to change. My children are too. The light at the end of the tunnel just gets brighter and brighter. I am finally happy. Life is great. It is what I choose it to be.

What do you choose?

Are you ready to take control?

Life Sucks!

Life Sucks! That was the view I had for such a long time. I couldn’t tell you how many times I said those words. Life Sucks! I spent a good part of my life in a mind state that was not in any way healthy for me. From a young age I saw the world differently and always felt that I didn’t belong and wasn’t good enough. I had what I saw as a heap of crap happen in my childhood that lead my onto a very troubled path. As a teenager I went off the rails pretty early and spent a bit of time living on the streets. At the time it was certainly not a positive experience but looking back now I realise that it taught me some valuable lessons in life.

When you feel like your world has fallen apart and there seems to be a never-ending road of nothing but more shit coming your way, it is so hard to see your way out of it.

If you are not happy with your life and where you are at, I promise that if you truly want to change, then anything is possible. I know because I did it.

Many of our troubles begin as children. The way we are conditioned and taught to think and act can impact our well-being immensely. The way our minds interpret events and situations can vary significantly from person to person. It’s amazing how two children can have the same experience but both view that experience in a different way. How we choose to view each situation in our life determines how it affects us. It can affect us on a mental, physical and emotional level.

I remember as a child that certain behavior was not appropriate. So many times I heard my mother say”What will people think?”. It is amazing how that sentence can go so deep to creating lasting damage within our psyche. It is imperative that we learn to retrain our brains.  We have to learn not to care what other people think of us. The most important thing is what we think of ourselves. What do think about yourself?