By: Madison Hanson
Mental Illness affects everyone. Mental health is a very private matter and there is the myth behind it that because it is a personal matter that it shouldn’t be talked about. But we should start talking that the only way to get better is to start understanding that our mental conditions do not define who we are. Today I would like to talk about a specific mental Illness called Depression. Depression can feel like it can run your life you will have your up days and you can feel like you are King/Queen of the world but on your down days it can seem unbearable. There are many forms of Depression and many ways to treat it. Being Diagnosed with a mild form of Depression and going through a treatment plan that they saw was the best fit for me. I was never put on medication but in a therapy treatment plan where they not only helped me address my problems but gave me tips for when I was done with therapy and out on my own. The following are ten tips on how to deal with your depression. (Disclaimer: these are tips for short term management these tips are not a treatment plan, and If you have severe Depression you should seek professional help)
1. Daily Exercise: I know that sounds super cheesy, but there is something about a good sweat that takes you away from your life. The feeling of trying to better yourself or the feeling that you are really focusing on yourself and nothing else. A quick trip to the gym a few laps on a outside track or even for those that are not comfortable in a gym setting or outdoors setting play a workout video on YouTube they have tons you can try.
2. Eating Habits: This is a very important issue you must control how you eat. Now I am not fixing to say eat healthy but be healthy in you own eating habits. You can no longer eat when you are sad but eat when you are hungry even if you need to make a schedule of when you should eat. Hungry eating and sad eating are two different things and if you constantly eat whenever you are feeling down to make yourself feel better well it will just make it worse in the long run. You will mentally and physically suffer from sad eating. So instead eat your three meals a day have a single snack and change it up don’t eat the same thing day in and out. This may be tough especially for college students like me but maybe instead of a bean in cheese burrito you can change it up and have some ramen noodles instead.
3. Find your Passion: I know when your depression kicks in it makes you feel like there is literally nothing good in the world and that you don’t have anything good in you as well. But that is not true we all have something good in us and we all can contribute to the world in a positive way. Some are talented in the arts others in community service and ect. But you must branch out and find where you can help and where you belong/ are needed. In that you will find your passion something little that can help you understand that you are here for a reason no matter what your mental illness tells you.
4. Find time for fun: while in our busy schedule we forget what it means to have fun. We stay in our routine day in and day out it can make you feel helpless in the direction of your life. But I think it is important to shake it up a little bit and find time for a fun little outing. And no, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy expensive. There are completely free outings you can go on you just have to find the one that fits you. You can go to a beautiful park, go swimming, or even go to an Art Museum. There are tons of new ways that you can get out of your boring routine that you may have. And little spontaneous activities can be a good sense of relief.
5. Join a Club or Sports Team: Now I am not going to lie this is going to be a tough task to complete for some people. But it is something that can be very helpful. Joining a team or club finding a group of people who you belong with and who need you and want you there. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or physically taxing it can range from a dance team to a comic book club. And if you’re not in any type of school it can be as simple as a book club. Just something to get you outside and socializing with people who have similar interests as you. But you need to make sure it is something you are passionate about and dealing with depression its difficult to find something that is a good fit, but it is out there.
6. Create a music playlist: This is a very simple creative way to help channel your feelings. Everyone listens to music and studies have shown that music can either positively or negatively affect an individual’s mood. So, a tip is too was to create a playlist for every mood so if you are feeling down you can listen to very mellow hopeful music that can help lift the sense of hopelessness that comes around.
7. Write your feelings: This is another simple creative way to channel your feelings through writing it down on paper. It can be anything from a creative story, poems, day updates, or even a daily mood tracker. Something that you can look back on and see that many of the good days out weigh the bad ones even if it doesn’t seem like it. But there are may creative ways that you can start your own journal or mood tracker and there are many ideas on Pinterest so you can get inspired and get started.
8. Talk to someone: Depending on the person this can be either easy or difficult. Despite how you may feel there is always someone who wants to talk to you to know your feelings and that you are ok. And while it may feel like no one can understand you or feel your emotional pain that you are going through it doesn’t mean that talking about it won’t help. Probably the biggest lie that is told is that talking doesn’t help or that mental illness is something that shouldn’t be publicly talked about. But talking to either parents, friends, or a professional about how you really have been feeling being completely honest with yourself and others is a form of therapy. You will finally feel as if you are living your truth instead feeling bad and of hiding everything.
9. Cut Out the Toxic People: Even though I am not about blaming other people for your problems. But If you are suffering from depression and on the sidelines, you have such negativity following you around and making you suffer worse. It will take time to fully understand who is toxic and who is not, and I am here to tell you that you do not have to be in any situation that you feel unsafe and unhappy. It may not just be friends it could be parents or even significant other. But if you know that you and the toxic people in your life have nothing in common and you feel even more emotionally drained after being around them than you should distance yourself. During this time period you should try to find more positivity even if the toxic person is your only friend there will be more and in the long run you will be glad you are away from those types of people.
10. Establish and Know Your own Self Worth: In the end you must love yourself before anything else. Your own mental state is important, and you should focus on you and what you feel is important for treatment and what can help you in the long run. Depression shouldn’t be silenced it should be an open topic that can be discussed. It also shouldn’t be something that runs your entire life to where you feel like you can take control and live your best life.
I hope these ten tips can help motivate and manage your depression. Like I stated before these are just short term motivational and management these are not a treatment plan for depression and for treatment you should seek a professional. But I wish everyone well in their journey and to never let mental illness triumph in letting you live your life to the fullest.
We hear the stories of depression being at its highest levels ever. Nearly half of the kids in school need as much therapy as education these days. Since 2007 depression, anxiety and isolation has increased nearly 300%. What was significant in 2007? The release of the Iphone and increased social media access . As parents we do everything to protect our kids and want the best for them. We move to safe neighborhoods and watch to see who their friends are in your neighborhood. But what social media does is give access to anything and everything that can be good or bad. Unfortunately most of it is rooted in bad behavior because it’s a “me” type of world. Don’t get me wrong there are many people around the world doing great things with technology and internet, but the developments in the last 10 years have shown mental illness has grown significantly impacting families in all areas in the world even the neighborhoods you chose to live in.
A typical scenario I thought about was when I was a teenager. I had friends in school who liked me but was not fond of some others. So they would tell me their opinion about others they didn’t like and I may or may not agree with them. In case I did agree on their opinion and the person we talked about does find out and had an issue we could resolve it. But in the world of social media the information would be available to be hundreds if not thousands of individuals who may be reaching out to you and harassing you for you just for agreeing to a opinion of someone. We see this scenario in adults where relationships even among responsible caring people have been severed because of an opinion shared among friends on social media. We even see celebrities having major issues among each other because of opinions and thoughts shared on this platform. So how do we help our kids avoid this as much as we can? We need to be extremely cautious and do everything we can to prepare our children for all the challenges that happens from this platform that connects to so many scenarios. Can kids have the capacity or ability to defend their opinions from hundreds or thousands of individuals? Can kids have the discretion to stay away from online contacts who may influence bad behavior or pressure them into bad scenarios? Social media platform gives our kids access to child murderers and child molesters who may have got out of prison after 30 years. Studies have shown school programs/districts that limit or restrict internet and technology. Kids are doing better socially including the technology leading areas like Silicone Valley.
In our efforts to wanting the best for our kids we will run out and get them a smart phone as soon as we know they may be just responsible enough not to lose the device. But we never think about how this device can not only be highly addictive, but our vulnerable kids can easily get caught up in situations that can be devastating. From the unbelievable high number of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students to the very young kids who are committing suicide to deadly mass shootings that is being captured through live streaming by the offenders. We have even witnessed foreign terrorist groups recruiting children to leave their home and join forces to fight against their homeland. These are examples of things that are happening and is far worse than most horrible nightmares any parent can imagine.
So how do we avoid many of these risks? I think as with any product that we feel can be used as a weapon we need to really evaluate and prepare to allow our kids to things like internet and social media. Some schools and social behavioral programs have studied this further. But I think just like the campaigns we had when we were kids such as MADD (mothers against drunk driving) or DARE (drug abuse resistance education) we need to build on a new program that will help guide the parents and kids carefully and be well prepared for the challenges that come with internet access and technology. We need educational programs that will help the parents and schools from the beginning of school years to be better equipped to teach our kids to the high risks and challenges technology platforms can have. I personally don’t think any human being was created to have the capacity to truly engage with so many people with so many views and so many different opinions. So do we finally become honest with ourselves and take on this battle to say we love our kids enough to limit and help them prepare far better for access to world filled with real nightmare scenarios. Another strategy can be for these technology companies to create devices (computers and phones) that will not allow social media access in addition preset limitations on time for internet usage per day. But these devices should come out of the box with the software systems that have the limitations built in. Educational campaigns from first grade to help kids and parents prepare for internet world are other strategies I feel confident can help. The most important thing is we as parents must realize that there is a major challenge and without us realizing it we could be welcoming problems it into our lives and our kids lives too.
Everyone feels it. Everyone knows what anxiety is but how do you deal with it.
Anxiety isn’t always something easy to deal with. You feel it emotionally, physically and mentally. But you can over come it.
Tips on how to deal with anxiety:
1. Try a breathing technique:
“The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.”
2. Pause your thoughts for a moment… this can help you bring more clarity to whatever situation you might be dealing with.
3. Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are productive. Will these thoughts help you achieve your goals ?
4. Ask for help. Reach out to a therapist or a friend. Talk about your thought process.