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Top 7 Strategies to Deal with Depression
By Earlene Caldwell, MA, LPC
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Symptoms of depression can be deceiving. Most of us think of the typical depressive symptoms such as sadness or lethargy, but they can also emerge as irritability, lack of motivation, simple tasks seem difficult or daunting, hopelessness and even physical pain.
Before the symptoms of depression become severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis, there are several ways to alleviate the symptoms and gradually restore a sense of well-being.
- Get moving, even if you only engage in mild exercise. The less you do when depressed, the less you'll want to do. Before you know it, the downward spiral becomes more difficult to reverse with each passing day. Physical exercise gets the endorphins flowing in the brain leading to almost immediate results in mood improvement.
- Set daily goals. For example, set a goal for walking around the block twice daily. As energy levels increase, increase the distance and frequency, if possible.
- Break large tasks into small ones and do as much as you can. In this way, daily tasks become more manageable and a sense of accomplishment and progress is realized.
- Participate in activities that you enjoy. Try to think of things that gave you satisfaction and pleasure prior to onset of depressive symptoms. Be good to yourself and don't feel guilty about it.
- Though it may be difficult, try to spend time with people that you trust and enjoy being around. Identify your feelings and confide in them as your comfort level allows. Talking about your feelings helps process the feelings and make sense of them.
- Maintain reasonable expectations and don't expect to feel better right away. Symptoms of depression usually respond gradually to exercise and other behavioral changes. Take satisfaction in slow improvements. It takes time to feel better.
- Postpone major decisions until the depression lifts. It might be helpful to consult with trusted family members or friends who can give objective feedback.
Earlene Caldwell, MA, LPC is a licensed professional counselor in Corpus Christi, Texas
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Article Submitted On: March 16, 2007