31Jan

    Dealing with Depression

    Depression is bound to lower your emotional and physical energy levels. While it can definitely feel like overcoming depression is close to impossible, it’s not. Even though you may not feel it now, you still have some control. Here are a some self-help tips you can use to overcome depression.

    Cultivate Supportive Relationships

    Support will go a long way when it comes to dealing with depression. Being alone can actually worsen depression. You need to surround yourself with people who will provide positivity, hope, and light in your life. Naturally, these relationships need to be emotionally stable; keeping close contact with toxic dynamics will also worsen depression.

    Keep in mind that reaching out for support and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. The moment that thought comes into your head, remind yourself that that is just the depression talking. Depression is a natural thing to experience. Many of us go through it at some point in our lifetime.

    So turn to your loved ones and give the opportunity to build a solid support system. Some of the people you may consider contacting are friends, family members, and depression support groups. You can also consider getting involved in miscellaneous social activities. While you won’t necessarily dive into personal conversations during these events, you can still run into people who can lighten your mood.

    positivity

    Get Moving

    Depression can make it really hard for someone to get out of bed, but making the effort to do it will totally be worth it. Many studies show that physical activity can act as an antidepressant as increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins. It also reduces stress and relieves muscle tension. In other words, physical activity will increase your energy levels and decrease your feelings of fatigue. Some activities you may consider are: going for a walk (if you have a pet this can be even easier to accomplish), going for a jog, going to the gym, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and even better, finding an exercising partner who can keep you motivated.

    Challenge Negative Thinking

    Depression will make you look at everything from a negative point of view. This includes the way you see yourself, the way you perceive others around you, and the way you see your future. Forcing yourself to “think positive” or “think happy thoughts” won’t do the trick. Breaking free from negative thinking is no easy task, perhaps one of the hardest when battling depression.

    Instead shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other, consider replacing those negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts. For example, allow yourself to be less than perfect. Instead of damning yourself for not fulfilling your own expectations, cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to realize that you are not perfect, and that’s okay. Another thing you can try is when you catch yourself obsessing over something you weren’t able to, try to think outside yourself.

    book on the grass

    Ask yourself what would you say to someone who is going through what you’re going through. Would you be that tough on them? Would everything be so gloomy when you look at it from outside? Lastly, keep a “negative thoughts log.” Sometimes, when you are able to externalize your looming internal thoughts, you are able to put things into perspective. When you’re in a good mood, re-evaluate those recorded thoughts on the log, and see if there was a better, more healthier way of coping with the issue.

    When dealing with depression, you will have your good days and you will have your bad days – and that’s totally okay. Just keep in mind that coping with depression takes time, but you can and you will make it.

    31Jan

    Sleep More. Eat Less.

    Midnight Snack

    Midnight Snacking has direct and indirect consequences for dieters.

    People who struggle to lose weight know one of the mortal enemies of the dieter is the late night snack.  Everyone from your mother to Oprah has probably told you that eating late into the night is one of the worst things you can do if you are trying to drop those extra pounds.  A new study out of the University of Pennsylvania has confirmed the idea.  Some of the reasons are extremely obvious, but others are more opaque.

    Perhaps the most obvious reason is that the more hours you are awake, the more actual time you have to consume food.  The study found that the average person who is awake between 10PM and 4AM takes in almost 600 more calories than their early-to-bed counterparts.

    One of the less apparent reasons to hit the sack early when dieting is that you pay for your late night on both ends.  People who get less than 8 hours of sleep generally wake up hungrier.  Your body hasn’t replenished the proper amount of nutrients with rest so your body will try and compensate by telling you that you’re hungry.  Specifically, the study found that those people deprived of sleep have more ghrelin, a chemical that induces appetite, in their systems.

    Lack of sleep also affects your willpower.  When your body is tired, you have less control of your impulses.  You are more likely to indulge in unhealthy foods when you haven’t gotten enough sleep, but the damage doesn’t end there.  Eating unhealthy foods begets a greater desire for unhealthy foods.  You will condition your body to crave junk making it even harder to resist.

    If you haven’t gotten it yet, the moral of the story is make sure to get your full eight hours of sleep, especially if you’re working to drop some weight.  You can check out a full recap of the study on Yahoo.com’s Healthy Living blog.