Understanding our emotions to help eliminate depression.

 

I am sure we all know someone who suffers from depression. Not everyone is happy 100% of the time. 

Often times we may be worried about ourselves or others if depression lingers, as chronic depression is a much larger issue. Being depressed or saying you have fallen into a depression is much more normal than you may think. About 14.8 million Americans report being majorly depressed. That means approximately 1 out of 140 people in the united states over the age of 18 have been clinically reported as depressed. That may not seem like a very large number but remember this isn't counting those who may be depressed and never received care.

Anxiety and depression can rob us of lots of things. Our time, inspiration, career, friends, family, lovers and sometimes our lives. While we are still researching why it happens and how to better cure it, Maya Tamir and her colleagues have been looking for an explanation as to why depressed people stay depressed. Tamir says It could all be a matter of trying to verify their sense of (emotional) self. While depression is cumbersome it is also possible depressed people stay depressed because they actually find comfort in what they know –being depressed. Reaching for a goal, if the person has goals may be scary or even more stressful, because of fear of the unknown.

With sadness being more familiar and comfortable many depressed people often lack the proper emotional motivation. Depression may be motivating them to experience more sadness as a way of reaffirming who they are and some may believe that they deserve to feel this way.

Solving depression is a series of steps. After realizing you are depressed, it is up to you to set a few goals for yourself. Understanding what is making you feel depressed and how you react to it are the first step to overcoming it. If you understand that you are depressed and want to change, you must start creating events and patterns that are less destructive. In order to overcome depression you have to realize you must confront your problem(s) head on. Facing your fear(s) is part of the path to recovery.

Some of us are better at changing our current emotions to more happy and desired ones when needed. This behavior is better termed as Emotional regulation. Often we may think depressed people have something wrong with the way they regulate their feelings but the problem could just stem from a lack of cognitive strategy. Being adaptive and open to ideas is key to understanding yourself and others. Most healthy people have strategies similar to rethinking and changing the meaning of certain situations. This takes a negative situation and reassess it until you ignite other emotions from it, ones that are less stressful or depressing. Cognitive Reappraisal is often the best way of dealing with many tough situations.

Currently, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people aged 15-44 according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. While it is looked upon as a problem that may be treated with medication, there are other ways to approach it.

 

11 Awesome ways to fight depression:

  • Choose positive music and movies – Choosing to avoid depressing music and movies is a good start and can often wind up being motivational.
     
  • Think about what you are good at – What you would like to achieve and in what type of timeline? What will your legacy be?
     
  • Join a gym – Exercise can release endorphins. It is a proven fact these chemicals make your brain happier.
     
  • Join a new community – Contribute your ideas and think about others. They may have some ideas you want to try implementing into your own life. Finding a community who appreciates your thoughts and ideas will also make you feel more accomplished, accepted and excited. If you prefer to try something online. I've really liked and appreciated Vingle.
     
  • Try a new location - The brain often associates one thing with the other. If your room is full of things that make you unhappy, spend less time there.
     
  • Tell someone how you feel – Talk to at least one person and see if you feel any better, you may find they have some advice that helps you that you never thought of. If you aren’t comfortable talking, write in a journal. People often feel better purging thoughts and knowing they are safe somewhere they can reference, if they ever need to.
     
  •  Ditch technology for a day – Stop worrying about who is texting or what others are doing on social media. Live a day on your own terms without feeling left out or comparing your day to others.
     
  • Do things you know are going to make others smile – Give compliments, leave strangers notes, or smile at people. Make someone smile because you exist
     
  • Try relaxation techniques and meditation – Spend some time breathing deeply to soothe or pacify yourself more.  
     
  • Volunteer – Help others and be involved.  If you’re shy face your fears, there is no better time than now. You learn more people skills and wind up taking pride in something you are contributing your efforts to.
     
  • See a therapist – If you can’t seem to find any peace visit a therapist or support group. They will help you talk out your thoughts and think through them if you can’t talk to anyone else.

 

Have you found other techniques that help get you out of a funk? We'd love to hear about your experiences and how you've over come your hardships. 

Sources: Anxiety and Depression Association of AmericaMaya Tamir's researchAssociation for Psychological Science

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