How To Battle The Blues — And Win
It’s perfectly normal — and acceptable — to become a little depressed every now and then. You wouldn’t be human if events didn’t get you down occasionally; after all, life can be hard. But wallowing in despair isn’t wise, or healthy. Here are some suggestions for overcoming depression, techniques that are easy to employ and will pull you out of the blues whenever they strike.
1) Imagine something happy, then focus your mind there. It might be a wonderful holiday, or the day you were promoted at work, or the surprise birthday party friends threw in your honour. Everyone has memorable events in their lives, and when you’re depressed nothing helps more than thinking about a day when you were genuinely, truly happy.
2) Say out loud what your strengths are. You can write them down if you prefer, but hearing yourself say something like, “I’m a terrific boss, my employees tell me,” does wonders for the mood and ego. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all you’ve accomplished when you’re depressed, so a small reminder helps enormously.
3) Plan an event you can look forward to, whether it’s with a friend or solo. Go to a movie, go out for a meal, or have a pedicure. Any of these outings (and a thousand others) will perk you up and remind you that you are worth taking care of, and that others appreciate you. This is a good way to interact with your support system, too, and not neglect the people who provide you with positive feedback and help.
4) Don’t get stuck in the past, but don’t live in the future, either. Both these roads are dangerous to your mental health. The past cannot be changed, so resist focusing your energies there. But always thinking that life will be so much better in a few years — when you retire, for example — is flawed thinking too. You’ve got to live in the here and now, not just make plans for a life you imagine will be great somewhere down the line. That kind of magical thinking isn’t healthy.
When you’re depressed it’s tempting to disconnect, binge watch your favourite TV shows and eat unhealthy snacks all day. But those are the last indulgences you should cave into! Spend time with friends and family, laugh together and live in the now — that’s the healthy way to deal with depression and thrive.
If your depression is lasting more than a day or two, perhaps you should consider talking things over with a professional, a therapist or psychologist.
Mental health issues are — thankfully — losing the stigma and shame that accompanied them for generations. After all, if you have a problem with your physical health you go to the doctor, right? It’s no different with your mental health; going to a specialist is a great way to learn coping skills if your depression is truly hampering your work and life. And remember to get some exercise; more and more, science is linking a healthy body to a healthy mind.
But if you think you can handle your depression on your own, keep these suggestions in mind the next time you’re struck with a bad case of the blues. Don’t give into it — deal with it. Face the issues that are making you depressed, but also remind yourself of all the great things you’ve accomplished. That’s the secret to becoming a truly satisfied, optimistic person and seeing the “glass is always half full,” not half empty! Doesn’t that sound like a much better attitude with which to greet each day?
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