Depression is clinically categorised as a “mood disorder”. The problem with most types of depression is chronic and persistent low mood, or with bipolar it sometimes combines feeling too low with feeling too high and elated. Feeling utterly flat, useless with no defined feelings is part of depression. When trying to describe it people use the terms like ’emptiness’, ‘hollowness’ and ‘zombie like’, with persistent low moods causing people to feel sad and alone.
Often what accompanies these moods is anhedonia, which is a fancy word for saying losing pleasure in things that once gave pleasure. This is part of the vortex that can envelop a person going through depression
It’s also important to acknowledge that non-depressed people also battle low moods. It’s common for an individual mood to cycle in the space of an hour, day or month. Feeling wretched and low when waking up to go to a job you may not like is universal, as is doing repetitive tasks like cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry.
Needless to say, depressed people need to intentionally do things to boost their mood. For people with depression, especially if chronic or suffered in multiple episodes, moods have strong gravitational pulls toward lethargy, tiredness and feeling flat. This needs to be challenged on a daily basis.
Let’s look at some ways to boost mood:
Exercise is one of the most important tools when trying to beat depression. Don’t delay getting involved in exercise, no matter how small it is to start off with. Doing exercise provides mood boosting chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Get exercising and do it regularly. Consistency is better than intensity.
2. Find activities that you enjoy
Find things that let you get lost in them. I know it’s hard when depressed. Often depressed people find new life when they join a group sports or a team oriented activity. Depression is about overcoming strong impulses to isolate from people, these impulses can sometimes be very insidious and almost unconscious. Socialise and let yourself have fun. Obviously we don’t recommend just going out drinking or engaging in self-destructive behaviour.
3. Watch funny movies or TV shows
Don’t underestimate humour. Depression can be too serious and formal sometimes. Comedy has the power to cut through the thick layers of resistance and pain. Let it change and transform you, and yes, let yourself laugh freely and loudly.
4. Keep a journal of your mood
We highly encourage you to track your mood regularly. It’s good for two main reasons. You begin to see patterns and realise when you feel good and when you don’t. It can also tell you if you are getting better or worse. It gives greater control of cycles, and reminds people that they don’t always feel down or sad. Journalling thoughts as well as mood is useful to form connections.
5. Learning to let others make you feel happy
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to feel better and lift your mood. That’s OK. We all have our own limits and frustration points. It’s often about letting others in, learning to relax around them and not wanting to control them and their behavior.
Most people own smartphones these days and know what apps are and how to use them. These are appropriate and free apps:
Optimism Apps – free app to track mood and also be used in conjunction with a clinician
Free Bodyfitness App – free exercises on your phone. Always use caution when doing weights. It’s best to get professional assistance when formulating a program.
People can and do beat depression but it is a long-term commitment. Thanks for reading remember to leave comments below (Facebook or WordPress) and follow How I Beat Depression on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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