Mental Health Awareness
It’s normal to feel sad or down sometimes, however when you become stuck in negative emotions such as depression it may take a toll on your physical as well as mental health. There are many forms of depression, so it is important to recognize the warning signs. Depression is a disorder that involves thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors. Symptoms for depression include feelings/emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, anger and guilt. Our thoughts can be affected by producing low self-esteem, loss of interest in activities, and thoughts of suicide. Behaviors of depression are often social withdrawal, lack of energy, low motivation, poor concentration, sleep problems, and significant changes in appetite. Those that suffer from depression experience symptoms that last at least a week or longer. Genetics, environmental factors, life stressors and loss of a love one can trigger depression. Sometimes depression may not have a trigger, meaning it could be a chemical imbalance with in the body. The good news is you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treatment for depression typically include Psychotherapy, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or a combination of medication and CBT.
Further research shows people that Exercise regularly can reduce symptoms and manage depression. Beneficial physiological changes of exercise include improved sleep, the release and improved metabolism of chemicals—such as serotonin and endorphins—in the brain and central nervous system, and physical changes to the brain. Exercise increases brain volume and blood flow, which improves neural functioning. The psychological impacts of exercise include heightened self-esteem, the interruption of negative thoughts, and an increase in healthy social contact. Together, these changes (paired with improvements to physical health) can vastly improve overall quality of life. Regular exercise significantly reduces the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercise can prevent the onset or recurrence of depression. Exercise can help counteract the weight gain caused by antidepressant medications (Therapist Aid).
Practicing Mindfulness Meditation is another method to reduce depression. Mindfulness is noticing your thoughts nonjudgmentally, staying in the present moment and being aware of thoughts, feelings, or any physical sensations. Components of mindfulness is awareness and acceptance. Awareness involves a state of mindfulness, noticing thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. The goal of mindfulness is
not to stop thinking. Acceptance in terms of mindfulness means observing your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations nonjudgmentally. Benefits of mindfulness include, reducing symptoms of depression, improving your ability to manage emotions, stress and reduce rumination (going over and over a thought or problem).
Positive journaling is another coping skill to reduce depression. Writing about positive experiences for the day can help with negative thinking or rumination of problems. Frequent journaling can be rewarding and produce positive effects on your mood. Being intentional and focusing on the positive part of your day can help when you are struggling with life stressors to include depression. Coping with depression requires taking action. Start small and choice healthy options when managing depression. Feeling better takes time, effort and making positive choices for yourself daily.