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5 Ways That You Can Fight Depression

 

According to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. If you’re one of those people, you shouldn’t feel any shame.  You should get the help you need and take action to start feeling better.  Here are 5 methods for fighting depression that might help!

Ways to Fight Depression

Talk To A Therapist

First of all, talk to a licensed mental health professional.  You may feel nervous about seeing a therapist for the first time.  You may not be sure where to find one.  It is now easier than ever to find and see a therapist, with the help of sites like Thrivetalk.com.  A lot of us may feel uncertain if therapy can help, but guess what? That self-doubt is your depression talking. The way that you feel isn’t something that you can battle alone.  Self-medication, like alcohol, drugs, or overworking, won’t help.

Like a broken arm, depression is a health condition that you must get treated.  You deserve the help you need to live a happier, more fulfilled life.  If you had arthritis or were suffering from chronic headaches, you’d talk to your doctor. Your depression is no different. You deserve to feel better.  In some cases, your doctor might recommend anti-depressant medications.  The most common drugs prescribed for depression are SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Medication may help, but with your depression, but be aware that you might feel worse before you feel better again. Even with medication, it is essential that you undertake a comprehensive treatment plan for depression that includes therapy. Go to a therapist – talking to someone can really help you figure out what to do with the way that you’re feeling and work out how to express it in non-destructive ways.

Start Exercising

Exercise is something that can really help people with depression. There might be days when you’re full of energy and other days when you simply can’t get off the couch, and you should listen to your body to some extent. But the vast majority of the time, putting on your running shoes and going for a jog around the block will make you feel better. Not only will it release endorphins, otherwise known as happy hormones, that will flood through your body, but it will also make you feel as though you’ve accomplished something. Yoga has been proven to help in overcoming depression, so check out online videos or go along to local classes where you might even meet like-minded people that you can socialize with. Feeling better in your body will help you feel better in your mind too.

Find A New Hobby

Everyone has different ways of tackling their mental illness. However, one thing that strikes many people with depression is that they tend to get mired in their thoughts.  This can be like quicksand for your mind and keep you from taking action on anything. That means that it could be time to develop a new hobby. That might be getting really, really immersed in a new TV show, learning to knit or sew, making your own costumes so that you can cosplay at conventions, making your own elderflower wine, painting watercolor landscapes, or baking incredible cakes. The list goes on, but the point is that diverting your attention to something else, something that’s productive and keeps your mind busy, will absolutely help you when you’re starting to feel low.

Recognize Your Self Destructive Thoughts

When you have depression, your mind will be incredibly sneaky and start telling you things that simply aren’t true.  Some typical narratives include: you aren’t attractive, that you shouldn’t be alive, that you’re useless, that you’re bad at your job, or that your friends don’t like you. It’s important to recognize these thoughts for what they are, which is your sneaky depression telling you lies and making you feel bad about yourself. It can be difficult to break away from your self-destructive thoughts, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t make any decisions based on them.  It’s typically not a great idea to quit a job where you generally do just fine or missing out on seeing friends who love and care about you. Use concrete examples like messages from friends or results you’ve seen at work or the fact your parents love you to combat your self-destructive thoughts and remind yourself that you are worthwhile, loved, and worthy of happiness.

Practice Self Care

Finally, when you’re suffering from depression it’s important to remember that you must take care of yourself. However, that doesn’t mean giving in to every whim, canceling plans, and eating comfort food. Caring for yourself starts with the basics, like getting out of bed, showering, wearing clean clothes, and getting some fresh air. Contact your friends, exercise, and eat fresh food instead of ordering pizza. Remember that you don’t have to cook much to be healthy.  Carrot sticks and hummus are a great and easy snack.  Simple lunches like egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread and a banana are both easy and healthy.  No matter what you like to eat, ensure you get enough protein, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates. Listen to your body – get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, keep yourself clean, and exercise frequently.

Conclusion

Depression can negatively impact your life, but you should ensure that it doesn’t take your life away from you. Listening to yourself and taking care of yourself are some of the most important things you can do.  Getting help from a licensed mental health professional is the best way to combat chronic depression.

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5 Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies That Cause Depression

 

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body and mind to function correctly, but many people have low levels of these crucial nutrients in the body. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause a wide range of physical problems, but they can also affect mental health and may even be the cause of depression, anxiety disorders and low mood in some people. Here are five vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could be causing your distress.

Vitamin D

Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression and some chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium, but many people are not getting enough. Modern lifestyles are thought to be at least partly responsible for low levels of vitamin D, which is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Working long hours in offices with artificial lighting, sedentary lifestyles, and even excessive use of sunscreen are all thought to contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Supplements may be the only solution for people, as it’s difficult to obtain vitamin D from food.

B Vitamins

Low levels of B vitamins are known to cause depression, irritability, and fatigue. In particular, vitamins B6, B12, and folate are one of the nutritional deficiencies that can cause anxiety and depression and have been linked to a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Increasing intake of foods containing these essential nutrients can bring significant improvements for some people. Vitamin B6 is found in chicken, leafy green vegetables, bananas and some kinds of seafood, while people usually can get their B12 from animal products such as poultry, meat, and dairy products. Liver, citrus fruits, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, and yeast extract contain folate. Vegetarians, vegans, and people on restrictive diets may need to take a vitamin B complex supplement.

Iron

Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms similar to those of depression, including mental and physical fatigue, low mood and irritability. In fact, there have been studies regarding the relationship between iron deficiency and depression in which iron deficiency is more common in women than in men. Up to half of all pregnant women thought to have low levels of iron. Liver, red meat, poultry, and fish are the best sources of iron. However, pregnant women should avoid liver, as it contains high amounts of vitamin A, which can be harmful to unborn children. Vegetarian sources of iron include beans, pulses, and fortified cereals.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral with potent antioxidant properties. It is essential for mental health, a healthy metabolism and healthy thyroid function. Insufficient levels of selenium might contribute to depression, persistent low mood, and negative thoughts. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, but it also is in walnuts, chicken, beef, fish, and whole grains. Supplements are available, but they can interact with some prescription medications, including birth control pills, corticosteroids, and medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking selenium supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is often known as the relaxation mineral, as it has a powerful impact on mood and the nervous system. It is necessary for the proper functioning of almost every process in the body. However, up to half of all adults are thought to be deficient in this essential mineral, the shortage of which can lead to depression, anxiety, migraine, high blood pressure and several chronic health conditions. Spinach, dark chocolate, oily fish, bananas, and almonds are all rich in magnesium. Supplements are safe for most people, but high doses (above 500 mg) can interact with some medications.

Avoiding Depression

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, sometimes associated with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, also can lead to many chronic health conditions. Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, selenium, and magnesium are all needed for mental health. While most people can get enough of these nutrients through diet or supplements, serious deficiencies may require medical treatment.

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Five Steps to a Calm Mind

 

At times, you need to calm your mind and enjoy peace and freedom from stress. Everyday situations can make you anxious and put you under pressure, so it’s best to know how to relax and soothe the worried voice in your head. Follow these five steps to serenity, and you’ll know what to do when fretfulness strikes.

Ways to Calm the Mind

1. Take deep breaths

Your emotions and physique are linked, so when your body relaxes, so does your mind. Taking deep, slow breaths down to your belly region sends a signal to your brain that all is well. After all, you don’t naturally breathe this way when you’re scared or anxious. However, you can choose to control your breath no matter how you’re feeling. If you have an anxiety disorder, simple deep breathing exercises are calming techniques for anxiety.

2. Accept all thoughts

The frightened or critical voice within might tell you everything’s wrong, but it’s not really in control of you. Realize you can take charge of the messages your mind sends you. The way to do so probably isn’t how you imagine. Instead of fighting unwanted thoughts, you need to accept them to make them fade.

When negative thoughts arise, allow them to flow, but mentally take a step back, as though you’re listening to someone else speak. Your detachment will let you separate your emotions from the content of your thoughts, so they don’t affect you.

3. Hone your attention

Just as you’re in charge of your inner voice, you also control where you place your attention. Focusing on negativity makes your unhappiness grow. Therefore, change your point of focus. You don’t have to try and think about fluffy clouds and kittens; just turn your attention to an absorbing task when worrying thoughts flow, and you’ll enjoy a break from concerns, calming the anxious mind.

4. Adopt a positive attitude

Your state of mind is a choice, as long as you’re consciously aware this is so. If you let your mind run riot and travel where it wants, sometimes, it will lead you down the path of negativity. Stay alert, though, mindfully following what you’re thinking about, and you can develop a positive attitude. Practicing mindfulness can also help you drive out all the negative thoughts. 

Notice those times when you entertain thoughts that produce dissatisfaction and anxiety, and stop them in their tracks. Pause and remember your intent to be positive. Ask yourself how to see matters from a different perspective that keep you calm and make you feel better.

5. Turn your thoughts outward

After you’ve followed the steps above, turn your thoughts to the environment. Pay attention to what’s going on around you rather than in your head. Use your senses to soak up information. Also, think about the people you interact with, and ponder what they might be thinking and feeling.

If the environment is not conducive to serenity, move away to a quiet place, preferably where nature resides. Observe the colors, scents, and sounds, and touch objects like leaves and the bark of trees and taste the air. Immersing yourself in your surroundings will shift your awareness and experience of the moment.

Conclusion

When you feel low, or just want a break from busy thoughts, take note of the tips above. As a result, your mind will be calm, and you’ll be in control of your mood instead of your mood being in control of you.

What Mindfulness is and How to Begin

 

You’ve probably heard of mindfulness, but might not be sure what it entails. Most people understand it’s connected to meditation somehow, and some imagine it’s the same thing. However, there are differences. Being mindful can help to relieve stress and calms your mind, but you don’t have to do it sat cross-legged on a cushion with your eyes shut.

What is mindfulness?

As the name suggests, when you’re mindful, your mind is full. How can having a full mind be helpful when you’re stressed you may wonder? Well, rather than having a head full of unwanted thoughts, you plant subjects you want to think about that make you feel good.

While you’re focusing on a topic on purpose, negative thoughts have no space in which to proliferate. As such, you can enjoy a break from anxiety, a mini-vacation that stops stress growing.

Much of the time, stress mounts because people go over problems and fears until they seem insurmountable and consume every waking moment. Practicing mindfulness stops anxiety building and helps you experience a sense of calm. Mindfulness techniques for anxiety and mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises will help you manage stress and anxiety.

The benefits of mindfulness are extraordinary. Are you ready to try?

How to practice mindfulness

First decide what you want to fill your mind with, as you need to focus on one task or subject. You might carry out a practical activity, for instance, such as weeding the garden or walking. Alternatively, you may prefer to sit or lie down, and visualize a scene or object, or listen attentively to music.

When you’ve chosen a topic, pay attention only to what you’re doing. Let irrelevant thoughts come and go like clouds drifting in the breeze. When a worry arises, observe it briefly as though you are just witnessing it and return your attention to the task at hand.

The more you focus, the less intrusive thoughts will appear. One way to hone your attention and become mindful fast is to concentrate on what you are experiencing at the moment via your senses.

If you’re gardening, for example, you can smell the earth while you’re working and feel the soil on your hands. You will also see details, like the tiny roots of plants and the wildlife around you. Plus, you might hear birdsong, or children playing in the distance.

Become immersed in the sensual experience, and you’ll live in the present rather than thinking about the past or future. Stress mainly stems from reflecting on events that have happened or those you anticipate occurring. Little pressure exists in the moment, which is why mindfulness is powerful.

Practice being mindful daily, and you’ll be more adept at honing your attention and staying present. Eventually, you’ll be able to focus well, and stress will fade when you choose to live in the here and now.

Habits to Quit That Make You Unhappy

 

Maybe you don’t realize some of your habits make you miserable. After all, why would you do things that steal your joy? You meet enough happiness-pinching events not to have to create your own. Nonetheless, like everyone else, you might still engage in behaviors that make you unhappy. See if you recognize any of the following common bad habits and take note of these bad habits.

Bad Habits to Quit

Procrastination

Putting off tasks can reduce joy because each time you do so you feel guilty. You know the job needs doing, and you would be better off with it out the way, but can’t quite bring yourself to snap into action. Further, when you procrastinate, you create a burden you need not own. Stop procrastinating, get jobs done in good time and you will feel light and stress-free.

Negative self-talk

Who’s your worst enemy? You of course. No one else speaks to you the way you talk to yourself. When you put yourself down, you dent your self-esteem and become sad. Luckily, though, you can change.

Negative self-talk is a habit that took time to create and it will take a while to get rid of too. However, persevere and the results will be worth the effort. When self-defeating words creep into your head, give them the heave-ho and replace them with their opposites. Initially doing so will feel false, but you will enjoy a brighter disposition. Also, you’ll develop the habit of generating positive inner talk and be body positive.

Filling up on low-quality fuel

Put bad fuel in any vehicle and it won’t run well; the same is true for you. When you watch depressing TV and spend too much time with energy vampires who go on about problems, your mind adapts to the fuel it’s given. You become as unhappy as your environment.

Give yourself a break and only top-up with healthy fuel from this moment. Eat nutritious foods, and avoid toxic people and other forms of negativity you need not endure, and your happiness will grow.

Holding on to sadness

Many people cling to unhappy memories about how people hurt them. Once again, doing so is negative fuel for the soul. Each time you repeat a thought about how an event damaged you in the past, you recreate that damage a little. The effects may not seem impressive, but they build. Over time your happiness plummets.

Realize painful memories have no power to hurt you if you let them go. Understand your grief and banish them with willpower, or carry out a ritual to remove them from your life. You can burn them after putting them on paper, sail them down the river, or talk them out of your system in front of the mirror until the sting goes out of your story.

After the suggested mirror work, replace the traces of negativity with positive words about how you’ve grown. Look your reflection in the eye and talk about the positive qualities you’ve gained from experiences until you feel thankful. As a result, you’ll feel strong.

Conclusion

You may carry out other habits that limit your happiness too. Recognize those times when you are blue and see if they correlate with a specific behavior. Did you watch a depressing drama on TV or talk to someone who always brings you down? Take action to quit bad habits that make you blue and reclaim your right to happiness.

Anxiety Support Groups: Finding Help Online

 

Over 40 million people in America suffer from anxiety disorders, yet only roughly 33% of them are receiving appropriate treatment.  Too many people suffer alone with this mental health condition.  However, online support groups can be a great way to get help.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The three main types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Some symptoms may be milder, more frequent or last for a longer period of time, depending upon the individual.

  • Irrational fears and restlessness.
  • Uncontrollable, disturbing thoughts that persist
  • Physical symptoms such as panic attacks, shaking, muscle tension, insomnia, nausea
  • Feelings of embarrassment and of being observed by others.
  • Avoiding or having an intense fear of places where attacks have previously occurred or where people may be encountered.

Treatment for Anxiety

Patients who suffer from anxiety can be helped with a variety of treatment modalities. The most common treatment is psychotherapy. One type of psychotherapy used in anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Also useful are stress-management techniques like certain types of exercise.  Some physicians may also prescribe antidepressants, beta-blockers or anti-anxiety medicines to their patients.  However, medication should be used as a last resort.

Joining anxiety disorder support groups can be an integral piece of the treatment puzzle. Support groups give clients the extra aid needed when a therapist is not available.  They also can help when you just need to chat with someone or get some questions answered. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests you find help with anxiety support groups in your area or online, in conjunction with other forms of treatment.

Finding Anxiety Support Groups Online

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to get help with anxiety is with an online support group. A study reported in the British Medical Journal discovered that there may be beneficial effects connected to joining an online support group.  There is no need to feel alone in your struggle if you have access to a computer. Discover the motivation and strength to get through life with the help of others via an anonymous (if you wish) and helpful community of others. There are numerous online support groups for anxiety and depression you can find on the web of which includes:

Anxiety Social Net.  This is a free support group, mainly for social anxiety sufferers. You can share your inner struggles, thoughts, and fears with others who understand what you’re going through. This site offers live chat, Q&A, the opportunity to use a diary, share media and contribute to or read a blog.

Anxiety Central.  Here you will find another free community of those who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and related issues. There is a chat room, articles for resource help, blogs, forums on specific anxiety disorders, including PTSD, and a “lounge” to discuss a variety of topics such as movies, television, sports and more.

Anxiety Zone. Similarly, this support group contains forums, blogs, and boards grouped into specific types of anxiety disorders. There are opportunities to have off-topic discussions, discuss medications and therapies and to receive or share inspiration in the form of art, poetry and more in this large web-based community.

Whether online or offline, receiving treatment is essential to overcoming anxiety.  This can in the form of therapy, medication, stress-reduction or some combination of the three.  Joining a support group is an easy way to get started with the healing process and will allow you to feel less alone and connect with others who understand.