No matter how you want to be happy all the time, life is a series of ups and downs, so feeling sad once in a while is inevitable. You may feel positive today, but tomorrow could be ruined by disappointments and out of control situations. Even the weather can affect your mood. Notice how you feel gloomy when you wake up one rainy morning; while you feel starting the day right when it is sunny. Even hormonal changes can cause uncontrollable mood swings, especially in girls. That is why you may feel terribly sad or depressed without reasons at all.
It’s not something to ignore
Being sad is bad enough to ruin your day, but it is still bearable. However, being depressed is way different, and not everyone can bear it. It is more than being sad. It feels like being stuck in a hopeless situation, and everything seems falling apart. And it can last for months or even years.
Depression, when not dealt with properly, can lead to destructive behaviors. Depressed people usually become unproductive, since they are paralyzed by too much sadness. This can result to poor grades for students and job loss for employees. It can even destroy families, because the person may become irresponsible and unresponsive to the affection of people around them. Patients may lose contact with reality and become mentally ill, or worse, they might commit suicide.
Tips to overcome
If you are in too much sadness right now or you have been battling with depression for months or even years, please know that you are not that helpless. Regardless of your situation, there are things you can do to overcome depression. Here are 10 of them.
1. Get enough sleep.
Too much tiredness—physically and mentally—is one of the factors that contribute to feeling negative emotions. Notice how you easily get irritated and pre-occupied when you are sleep deprived. Therefore, when sadness starts to creep in, take a break and sleep. Maybe it is only due to exhaustion, and a good rest can resolve it. Do not allow too much work and cramming to prevent you from having enough sleep. Your health is at stake here, and if you get sick, all your hard work would be pointless. If possible, aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. This will help you make sound judgments on everything coming your way.
2. Be physically active.
Engaging in physical activities can help your body produce more endorphin, a chemical that is usually associated with pain relief and pleasure. The more physically active you are, the happier you become and the lesser pain you feel (in case you are hurting inside). That is why it is advisable that you exercise regularly. It is not necessary to work out in the gym. Running, brisk walking or Zumba will do. You can also involve yourself in a particular sport like badminton or basketball.
3. Indulge in chocolate.
Chocolate is the most popular comfort food. It is proven effective in cheering a sad person up, because it releases happy hormones in the body. You may be health conscious and you think chocolates will make you fat and diabetic. However, recent studies have shown that daily minimal consumption of chocolate can actually help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you stay thin. Of course, the keyword here is discipline. Everything too much is unhealthy.
4. Paint the walls yellow.
If you are prone to depression, painting your room yellow is highly recommended. If this is not possible, maybe you can at least use yellow curtains. Yellow wallpapers will also do. In color psychology, yellow is associated with happiness and cheerfulness. The brightness of this color will keep you from waking up in a gloomy mood. If you are living alone, you may consider painting the entire house with this color too. It will help minimize loneliness and stop you from feeling bad because of negative thoughts.
You may also read: 12 Tips to Overcome Boredom and Loneliness
5. Keep your place organized.
A messy mind can also contribute to depression. When your office is cluttered or your house is chaotic, it can cause frustration. As you see the mix-ups, you would feel that there are many things that should have been done, but you have not done them. It creates a sense of incompetence and irresponsibility. Guilt-complex happens, and soon your self-esteem is affected. The effect is not immediately felt until something wrong happens and you come home feeling down. You finally notice the mess around, and you see your inability to keep things in order. Before this happens, make time to declutter your workplace or house once in a while, especially if you can already see a towering pile of papers or laundry. If you are a busy person, then avoid making your place untidy and clean up small muddle as soon as possible. A neat place can give you peace of mind too.
6. Adopt a hobby.
Instead of thinking about your problems and failures, do something more worthwhile with your vacant time. Find a hobby that can preoccupy your mind. You can read books, watch movies or a TV series, or even play a sport. If you had hobbies you miss doing, this is the time to bring them back. Traveling or shopping may be a bit costly, but if it can ease your troubled mind and make you happy, then do it—but, please, not to the point of putting yourself in debt, because it might make you more depressed.
7. Laugh yourself out.
Laughter is the best medicine, they say. There is a truth to this especially when your problem is sadness. There are even institutions offering laughter therapy. You better hang out with funny friends and enjoy with them. You can watch comedy movies or TV shows as well. Just a warning though, if your sadness is relationship-related, avoid watching romantic-comedy movies as they could remind you of your situation.
You may also read: How to be a Jolly Person: 12 Tips to be Fun to be With
8. Dream happy dreams.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you had bad dreams in the night, you would wake up unhappy and less energetic? On the contrary, if you had good dreams, you would get up lively and sunny. You probably think you have no control over your dreams, but you actually have. You may not be able to control the details and flow of your dream, but you can do something to have a good one. First, make sure that you sleep in a good mood. Your emotion right before you close your eyes can affect your dream. Also, avoid thinking about what upsets you. Usually, whatever fills your mind the whole day is brought to the dream realm. So, if you think of happy thoughts throughout the day, you have a better chance of getting happy dreams.
9. Surround yourself with loved ones.
The best depression therapy is love—loving and being loved. Do not hesitate to reveal your situation to your family or loved ones. Their support can strengthen your will to overcome whatever you are going through. Knowing that you are loved and being surrounded by people who care for you will make you feel secure. Also, doing things to make them feel your love can revive your sense of purpose. Do simple things like serving them coffee or making them breakfast. This will make you feel better as you realize that you do not only live for yourself. If you are down, the people who love you are also affected. If you love them, you will not want them to suffer because of you, right? Therefore, do your best to be back on your feet not just for yourself but also for them.
10. Nourish your spirit.
Many depression patients have recovered because of their faith in God. You probably do not believe that there is a supreme being who created everything. However, if you are at the end of your rope because of the sorrow that swallows you and nothing has worked to overcome it, then maybe it would not hurt to open your mind to the possibility that you are not just body and soul. Start walking on the path of your spiritual journey. Seek your Creator and His purpose for your life. Listen to people who encountered breakthroughs and miracles through prayers. Then, try talking to God yourself. If He does not exist, nothing will happen. If He does, He will hear you, so you can tell Him everything you feel. Who knows? It could be the start of your healing.
You do not have to suffer from depression for a long time. Before considering taking anti-depressant pills, try defeating it with your sheer will first. Taking medication should be your last resort, because aside from side-effects, the normality of your life will be dependent on it.
Happiness is a choice—you have probably heard this already. You may not have control over the circumstances in your life, but at least you have control on your response to situations. You can choose to be positive regardless of what you are going through.
Depression is a serious matter. If you think you’re suffering, not only from sadness but from depression, it is good to consult with a certified trained mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. There are also groups and organizations that you can turn to for support. In the US, check the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255), and the American Society for Suicide Prevention. In the United Kingdom, you can turn to Samaritans UK and ROI for help and advice through phone and chat. You may also check the suicide prevention and crisis hotlines in your country in this list.
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