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.

    29Nov

    Spirituality’s Influence on Mental Health

    spirituality improves mental health

    Spirituality can help protect one’s mental health and help them feel a sense of self-worth and direction.

    Spirituality is, by definition, varied; there is no one perfect definition of what one’s spirituality entails, according to an article recently completed by the Mental Health Foundation.  When someone speaks of their spirituality, they could be referring to their religion or faith, the direction in their life—the journey they believe themselves to be on, a way of understand the world and their place in it, a core aspect of their personality, identity and humanity, an existing feeling of belonging or a quest to find one such feeling or some form of a belief in a vague higher being or force greater than themselves. Generally speaking, the distinct difference between spirituality and religion is the broader use of the word; spiritual beliefs can be particular to the individual, whereas a large group shares religious beliefs and follow and expressed teaching.

    Just as definitions for the word vary, the development of one’s spirituality and the means of expressing it differ as well.  Traditionally, there are religious practices, such as worship, prayer and the reading of religious texts.  However, just as some of the definitions of spirituality could be considered alternative to mainstream religions, some forms of expression and development are just as varied.  A group could simply choose together casually as a spiritual community, to live together by certain values.  Rituals—thought of so fondly by many religious groups—also play a role in spirituality and the communities formed.  Particular foods or types of clothing could be use to mark a group of common beliefs.  Activities such as contemplation and yoga can be engaged in, to seek self-awareness.  Alternatively, some define an act of spirituality as something as simple as friendship or volunteer work.

    From these activities, the question is often raised as to the influence spirituality can have on mental health issues and members of the mental health service profession.  Spirituality can help maintain and protect mental health, as a general feeling of connectedness can help individuals cope with stress from everyday life.  Communities formed through spirituality can also provide a solid support group of friends.  But spirituality can also occasionally help those suffering from mental health issues, as it provides a means of coping to the individual’s mental resilience.  However, unfortunately, it can also do harm, as well as good.  If an individual disagrees with a certain belief system, and feels it is too repressive or judgmental, this can have a negative effect.  Overall, it is the duty of those in the mental health service profession to respect their patients’ spirituality for what it is—a human right.