Before anyone gets their panties into a twist, I’m going to start off by saying that if you truly do suffer from depression – deep, clinical depression – then you probably should speak to a doctor. He or she will prescribe you some pills that most likely will help... to a degree.
If you look at all the information, the facts will show that describing depression as simply a chemical imbalance is an oversimplification. Describing depression as such really only helps pharmaceutical companies sell their pills.
There is plenty of research available showing that although there may be a correlation between chemical imbalance (or a lower than normal level or neurotransmitters) and depression, it doesn’t show a causal relationship.
There is plenty that one can do that doesn’t involve popping pills -- and then popping more pills -- to deal with the side effects of the first batch of pills.
1. Talk to friends and family.
A lot of the time we feel sad and alone because we force ourselves to be alone. Just about everybody has a friend or family member(s) to talk to. You may not feel that you have anyone to talk about your problems with, but that may not be the case.
You’ll never know if that person is a good listener unless you give it a try. Even if you don’t especially feel that you want to talk to others about what you’re dealing with, or just aren’t ready to do so yet, socializing itself will lighten your mood.
Human beings are not meant to be entirely alone. If you haven’t yet been able to build meaningful relationships, then utilize the shallow ones for the time being. Talk to people about whatever floats your boat – the weather even. You’ll feel better.
2. Improve your diet.
The reason that we eat isn’t to enjoy the taste. It isn’t to try what life has to offer or to gain a new experience. All of this is the result of our modern, consumer-driven world. Human beings eat because they need to eat to survive.
We need the calories to use as energy, but we also need vitamins and minerals to allow us to function the way we were meant to function as animals. Without these crucial vitamins and minerals we aren’t able to produce the chemicals are body needs to produce in order to be healthy and happy individuals.
Instead of popping pills, why not allow your body to produce the chemicals it needs to produce on its own? Eat what you’re supposed to eat and lay off all that garbage man has come up with.
3. Exercise. You’re an animal.
You may be a very intelligent animal, but you are an animal nonetheless. When was the last time you saw a happy animal in the zoo? Sure, some animals are given enough space to run about and be animals, but most aren’t.
As people in first-world countries, we tend to spend a lot of our time either sitting or lying down. We sleep for a third or fourth of our life, spending the rest sitting at a desk or on the couch. Only a few hundred years ago – if not more recently – we would spend the majority of our time on our feet. We would walk more. We would run more.
We would do more manual labor. Nowadays we don’t move enough – we’re trying to force ourselves to become plants. We’re not plants nor will we ever be. Getting a good workout will physically and mentally make you feel better.
4. Allow your mind to rest and reset itself.
Too many people these days fall into this routine of constantly forcing their minds to work. We spend half our day either in school studying or at work processing information.
While we once had a lot more time to slow down our thoughts, get out of our heads, and live in the moment, we now spend most of our days on electronic devices – we spend what little time we had left to simply live and filled it with text messages, games and videos.
Your mind is a machine and machines need maintenance. Every once in a while, you need to shut them off in order for them to run at full capacity. There are plenty of methods one could use to slow down one’s thoughts. In essence, they’re all different forms of meditation.
5. Have more sex.
There is nothing better to get you feeling excited and exhilarated as endorphins, the chemicals your brain releases during, such activities as skydiving and – you guessed it – sex. Having more sex will help you cure those blues (pun not intended).
However, you should keep in mind that while just about any sex will help with depression, sex with someone who means something more to you than just a release helps most.
Sex with someone random is fun. Sex with someone who matters to you is amazing. On that note, wear a condom to avoid future problems.
6. Work on improving your sleep.
You spend an incredible amount of time sleeping… why do it wrong? Get yourself the right mattress. Don’t eat, drink or do drugs for a couple of hours before you head to bed. Get yourself one of those sleep cycle apps, helping you understand what exactly your habits are while you’re sleeping.
Your mind needs sleep in order to function properly -- and not just any sleep. It needs REM sleep. Read up on the matter and do some experimenting to see what works best for you.
For an additional boost of energy in the morning, take a spoonful of raw almond butter before bed. It’ll help level your blood sugar, having you feel better rested in the morning.
7. Stay hydrated.
The number of Americans who are chronically dehydrated is staggering. Which is a crazy thought if you think about the access that we now have. If you aren’t drinking enough water – not tea, not coffee, not juice, not soda, but water – then your body and mind are suffering for it.
Our bodies are mostly made up of water, but that water doesn’t stay put. We circulate the water and disperse with it overtime.
In order to stay healthy and happy, you need to always be hydrated. As a rule of thumb, if you’re thirsty then it’s already too late. You should drink water never to be thirsty in the first place.
8. Figure out what is and what isn’t important to you.
A lot of people find themselves unhappy not because they are unable to attain or sustain what's important to them, but rather that they don’t have a good understanding of what matters to them in the first place.
It’s difficult to be happy when you feel that nothing in your life matters to you. Depression isn’t so much a lack of happiness as it is a lack of purpose – a lack of reason to get up every morning and continue living. If you can’t differentiate between important and unimportant then you’ll never have a life of value.
9. Go through all the things in your life that you’re proud of, that you’re happy to have – and do so on a daily basis.
We all – and I mean all – have something to be proud of in our lives. There isn’t a single person in the world who could not find something to be happy about – not if they are alive. Only the dead have nothing to be happy for.
The rest of us usually have plenty. No one has a perfect life because no one is perfect. There are always things to be unhappy about; there’s always a reason to frown.
The trick is to avoid dwelling on such negative thoughts and focus on all the good in your life. Focusing on the good has this nasty habit of bringing about more good.
10. If all else fails, talk to a professional.
Depression isn’t a laughing matter and it is one that must be dealt with appropriately. There is plenty that one can do without the help of a professional to increase their happiness and help balance their lives.
However, some people need a little extra help. While taking happy pills may not be the answer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t help get you to where you want to be. Maybe you won’t even be prescribed medication.
Maybe simply talking to someone who is medically familiar with your situation will be enough. Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. What you should be ashamed of is being too cowardly and prideful to grab a helping hand when one is being given.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It