Depression is more common than you think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 280 million people in the world have depression. And while there are many reasons why people experience depression, the good news is that there are ways to manage common depression triggers.
Let's dive in!
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1. Do Regular Exercise
Regular exercise has been proven to improve your physical and mental health. Not getting enough exercise can trigger feelings of depression, so it’s important to try to incorporate exercise into your routine.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be a sweat session at the gym. Any regular physical activity, such as walks, household chores, or even dancing, can help reduce feelings of depression.
2. Get Outside
Not getting enough sunlight can lead to low energy, loss of motivation, and feelings of depression. Sunshine makes us feel good, and spending lots of time outside is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
Many people notice the impacts of a lack of sunshine in the winter months. If this is true for you, it's possible that you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. It’s important to get some sun year-round, but a SAD lamp can help during those winter months when sunshine is scarce.
3. Socialize Regularly
Humans are social beings. For as long as humankind has been around, we have survived by being part of a social circle.
Lack of socialization can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Even if you consider yourself more introverted, it’s important to socialize with people who make you feel recharged or relaxed in order to stay mentally healthy.
4. Get a Good Night's Sleep
Sleep is essential for managing your mood. When we consistently get poor sleep, our body is forced to make decisions about what it can focus on when it is exhausted.
Regulating your emotions is oftentimes one of those things your body cannot focus on when you are chronically sleep-deprived, leading to feelings of depression. Improving your sleep is one of the quickest and most effective ways to improve your mood.
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5. Eat Nutritious Food
If you were to eat mostly junk food, do you think you would feel good? Not only would your stomach probably hurt, but your body may be overwhelmed and also lack key nutrients to help you function.
While it’s important to enjoy food and not restrict ourselves, a lack of nutrition can cause low energy and brain fog and make it difficult to feel good, while eating healthy foods can significantly improve your mood.
6. Set Goals
Believe it or not, setting short- and long-term goals can lead to an improved mood and help manage common depression triggers.
Let’s say that work is really unbearable right now. If you have nothing to look forward to, the daily dread can easily lead to feelings of depression. But if you have something planned (e.g., a weekend trip with friends), this gives your brain something to look forward to. Then, you can start changing the way you talk to yourself when feeling dread.
» Does someone you know struggle with depression? Check out these helpful do's and don'ts for supporting a friend with depression.
7. Build a Support System
Improving your support systems can be one of the most powerful ways to manage common depression triggers. It’s important to have people in your life who you can talk to about your feelings. If not, you may feel isolated and alone.
Studies have shown that just having someone to listen to us or validate our experience can lead to an improved mood and reduced depressive symptoms. If you are struggling to find support, there are many incredible online resources you can turn to for assistance. Online support groups, classes, therapists, or chat rooms are a great start!
8. Establish Healthy Boundaries
Improving your ability to set boundaries is also essential in managing depression triggers and coming out of a depressive state. If you struggle with establishing boundaries, you may find that you are spreading yourself too thin in various aspects of your life—perhaps with work, parenting, or your social life.
It’s important to know when and how to say no so that you don’t become burned out and overextended. Individual or couples therapy is a good place to start if you want to improve your boundaries.
9. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Many people don’t realize the serious benefits of taking a few minutes out of their day to practice mindfulness or meditation. Most of us can find 10 minutes in our day for a quick meditation session.
Research shows that spending 10 minutes a day engaging in meditation, mindfulness, or any gratitude practice can significantly improve your mood, manage common depression triggers, and reduce symptoms of depression.
10. See a Therapist
Seeking therapy is always a good choice, even if you feel like your symptoms "aren't that bad.” It’s a common misconception that you have to wait until you’ve reached rock bottom to start therapy.
Therapy is helpful no matter your situation. However, engaging in it sooner rather than later can prevent you from hitting rock bottom in the first place. It’s hard to know how to pull yourself out of a depressive state, but seeing a therapist can help you explore ways to reduce symptoms of depression and get back to feeling like yourself again.
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Living with depression can be an ongoing challenge, but you don't have to go through it alone. Reach out to professional therapists on ReGain or Teen Counseling for guidance and support, and give these tips a try to manage depression triggers and improve your mood.
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