Self-help Lesson #12: How To Beat The Blues

Healthful Habits For The Treatment Of Minor Depression


Depression can be called the “common cold” of mental health because the average person is bound to get down at least once during their lifetime.  The good news is that most people get over mild to moderate depression on their own within the first six months.  Research shows there are helpful steps you can take to improve your moods and       maintain your mental health.  You might consider trying the following:

  1. Exercise can help improve your moods by helping you relax, increasing your stamina, releasing natural tranquilizers (endorphins) and improving your sleep. Start with five to ten minutes of exercise daily and try working up to twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic walking, biking, running, or swimming at least three times a week.  Check with your doctor if you have concerns.
  2. Good Nutrition will fortify your body, while over-eating, skipping meals or eating junk food may deplete your body of essential nutrients that keep you healthy. Be sure to eat only when you are hungry, don’t skip a meal, and select wholesome fruits and vegetables as a treat.  Avoid caffeine and sugar which can contribute to mood swings.  Take a moment before eating to relax and breathe deeply.
  3. Rest To Restore Yourself Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep at your regular bedtime in order to feel rested for the following day.  Go to bed and get up at the same time.  If you are unable to fall asleep after a half hour, try getting out of bed and having a cup of hot milk or chamomile tea – it many help you relax..  Some people find scrubbing the floors bores them so much they become sleepy again.  Find what works for you.
  4. Avoid Harmful Substances Taking drugs or drinking alcohol can make depressive symptoms worse or trigger a dangerous interaction.
  5. Relax With Pleasurable Activities Spending time with people you enjoy or doing thing you like to do will raise your spirits. Try at least one favorite activity a day, and talk with a person who makes you feel special.
  6. Use positive thoughts to “Stop Negative Self-Talk.” Catch yourself in negative self-talk and offer yourself a fresh approach to the problem.  Turn “Black-and-white” thinking into shades of gray, or better yet, think of a rainbow of new possibilities.  Actually write down your replacement thoughts. Think out loud and ask for help from a friend.  When you create more realistic thoughts you feel better and see new possibilities.
  7. Comfort Yourself with Compassion Family and friends are good medicine, they can remind you of your strengths and better times.  Seek out positive people who listen without judging or giving advice.
  8. Meditation and/or prayer lift’s the spirits. Engage in activates which renew and inspire your heart and mind.  Spend time in nature, seek out beauty.  Look for meaning in your life or your own spiritual path. Find ways to accept yourself or forgive mistakes in life.
  9. Use Exercises for Relaxation Try 10 minutes of slow, deep breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of four, then slowly exhale to the count of four.  Practice this twice a day for ten minutes, especially when you feel anxious or depressed.  You can also use guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation or music to calm yourself.

Inform yourself about depression & change your outlook.  Read and be an informed consumer in managing your depression.  Go to your doctor or check your local library for resources about depression.  Attend a Depression Orientation if one is offered through your Psychiatry Department. Google a list of depression resources

1 thought on “Self-help Lesson #12: How To Beat The Blues

  1. I usually go out for a jog or go trekking nearby with my friends, and it really helps open up my mood. Besides, exercising gives you a boost of endorphins, which make you feel you good naturally!

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