Developing an Anti-Depression Lifestyle
We never want to over simplify the complex issue of depression. Each person’s depression is unique. While some elements of it will be in common with other people, the exact combination of factors that develop into depression in any individual are as unique as a finger print.
Each person must develop in a sane, stable, and spiritual manner a personal game plan to deal with his or her depression. So on the one hand we want to make clear that there is no generic “silver bullet” that will overcome all depression. Yet, on the other hand there are things that seem to help many people. One of these is the development of an “anti-depression” lifestyle.
What does this “lifestyle” look like? Such a lifestyle has the following five parts. Now again we are looking for direction and not depression. However, to the degree your lifestyle does not reflect these factors then you could be feeding our depression instead of starving it.
1. The Physical Part
As mentioned before we want to have a diet that is high in nutrients, has essential antioxidants, has “smart carbs”, is protein rich, has lots of Vitamin D, is rich in Selenium and had Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
A general guide is to eat a Mediterranean type diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, and fish. You can get a very clear idea on how to have such a diet at the “Mediterranean Book” web sit.
In addition to diet you need to find a way to have fun exercising. Physical exercise helps to reduce stress. Our modern lifestyle that allows us to live with hardly any use of our body is not a natural state for human beings. We are the first generation that has to “plan” to use our bodies. Before this modern period people got plenty of exercise in just the necessary activities of life.
The reason most people don’t exercise is that we try to do it in a way that is not fun for us. If you find something fun and convenient then the number of times you exercise will increase. So be honest with yourself. Don’t set a goal that is not relevant to you or attainable. Better a little exercise often, instead of more exercise seldom. If possible put exercise into your normal activities like walking to local store instead of driving or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator. Look for ways to exercise your body.
Having normal sleep patterns and gaining a normal sleep cycle is critical to the proper management of our thoughts and emotions. Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep patterns can have significant impact on the stability of our thoughts and moods. Now depression can cause a disruption in sleep patterns or poor sleep patterns can encourage depression. If the problems are sever one should seek out a doctor that specializes in normalizing sleep patterns (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/depression-and-sleep).
I would also recommend the book, Sink Into Sleep: A Step-by Step Workbook for Insomnia by Judith Davidson. This book uses a cognitive behavioral approach to help people overcome a lack of sleep. Looking for a solution to the issues of sleep may take time and patience but if it can be solved this is a significant step in the right direction in dealing with depression.
There are some general things that are generally agreed to encourage sleep.
1. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
2. If you have lost sleep then make it up with a nap
3. Don’t nap when you don’t need to nap since this may make sleeping more difficult
4. Don’t eat big and then fall asleep in a chair. After dinner do something that keeps you going.
5. Increase your light exposure in the day. There is evidence that exposure to natural light can help us fight depression. In some areas you could even use a light therapy box especially in the winter.
6. Turn off your television or computer 30 minutes before you go to sleep and stop stimulating the mind.
7. If possible bath instead of shower. Linger in the bath and allow yourself to float on the water.
8. Exposure to relaxing music, especially the classics can help
9. Don’t have the television or radio on while you sleep.
10. Journal, pray, and have positive self-talk before you go to bed.
In addition to the physical part of a anti-depression lifestyle there is also the soul part, the social part, and the spiritual part, So more to come ….