We have all been there, wake up and it just feels like the world has wheeled back and slapped us a good hard one in the face. It becomes extremely difficult to accomplish even the most menial of tasks such as showering or even just getting dressed for the day. Everything feels hopeless, all your negative thoughts are amplified and you’re struggling to figure out how to make yourself function. So what can you do in these instances to pull yourself up out of this funk? Here are five different ways that have been found to do absolute wonders and the best part is they all require very minimal actual work on your part.
1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
It may seem so obvious but you would be surprised to know just how often our moods are directly effected by how much water we drink. When you feel blue, one of the best places to start is to do your best to get a gallon of water in a day, often one of the first things you experience when dealing with depression is a heavy lack of energy. When the brain doesn’t get enough water , it isn’t able to produce energy. When you are dehydrated, your brains normal functions of thinking and reasoning are slowed way down and sometimes even stop due to a lack of energy. Research has shown that this leads directly to depression. Dehydration also leads to depression by obstructing your brains serotonin production. Serotonin is frequently called “the happy chemical” as it increases feelings of satisfaction, well-being and happiness. Obviously all important feelings when trying to combat depression. One of the main causes of depression is a depletion of serotonin, which is created by your body by the amino acid tryptophan. This process involves transporting tryptophan across the blood brain barrier which requires a good amount of water to accomplish. If your body is dehydrated, your body won’t be able to get enough of the tryptophan to your brain to convert to serotonin. Which viola! Causes depression. So when you start to feel down in the dumps, start with some water, to help push the creation of serotonin in your brain.
2. Clean up!
Another fairly easy way to trick your brain out of a depression is to clean up the space around you. It’s been shown through many different studies that the brain cannot focus in clutter, and will often try to compensate for the chaos around it by just attempting to shut down. Now we all know that when you’re depressed, cleaning your house is high on the list of things you absolutely do not want to do, and as you fall deeper and deeper into your depression, the mess around you gets worse and worse, causing you to fall deeper and deeper, it’s a vicious cycle, and a surprisingly easy one to fix. Also believe it or not, cleaning has more than one benefit. As a frequent sufferer of depression myself, one of the first things I do when I realize that I am deep into it, is get up and clean my space, for two very specific reasons, 1 being the clutter is messing with my brain and I need to be able to think clearly, and 2, is the fact that I am willing to do something I so desperately do not want to do (clean), I am tricking my brain into being motivated. If I can move around and clean little places in my house, I can typically move onto another project that I have been putting off due to how my mental health has been, now not only do I have a clean space to work on my projects, but I now have more motivation to do it in the first place.
3. Go Outside And Get Some Sun!!!!
Getting sun has shown to increase serotonin, which as we already know helps drastically with battling depression. Studies have shown that on days with less sunlight, more people are prone to experiencing more depressive episodes than on sunnier days. So while it may seem extremely cliché to say go sit in the sun when you are feeling blue, but research has actually shown that the brain makes more serotonin on sunny days than on overcast and cloudy days. If you’ve ever heard of the term “Winter Blues” that’s why, research has shown that reduced exposure to sunlight, like on rainy days, can lead to the development of seasonal affective disorder or SAD, in other words, the winter blues.
4. Give Yourself Little Goals To Accomplish, Then Accomplish Them
This is by far, my favorite thing on this list, and here’s why. One of the biggest contributors to depression is stagnation, doing nothing and therefore feeling no sense of pride or accomplishment. Ironically in the hands of depression, the last thing you want to do is, well…anything. The problem with not doing anything is it creates this overwhelming feeling of guilt and shamefulness, which as you can imagine, is a huge contributor to the mental state you are in. One of the greatest things to do to combat this is to simply do something. Create tiny little goals and give yourself little rewards for accomplishing them. Something as simple as “today I will read for 20 mins” or “today I will wash and fold one load.” Give yourself small tasks, complete them, give yourself a small reward, or a small pat on the back and slightly increase the next task until you can dig yourself out of this hole you are in and continue to function throughout life a bit more normally. Works wonders and leaves you feeling much better about yourself in general.
5. Get Active
Exercise has been called numerous time as the all natural treatment for depression. Exercise releases the body’s “feel good chemicals” known as endorphins. High intensity exercise can actually release so many endorphins in such a short period of time, that the person may actually experience feelings of euphoria resulting in things like the “runner’s high.” However, high-intensity exercises isn’t needed if your goal is simply to feel better. For most of us, the real benefit comes from low-intensity exercises sustained over time. Low-intensity exercise releases proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors. These proteins cause nerve cells to grow causing improvements in brain functions. These improvements help you feel better. Because of that, exercise is not just a good treatment for depression, its also a great preventative. Once you find a routine you can consistently stick with, it’ll do wonders to keep depression and her cousin anxiety away.
In conclusion, while depression is a hard battle to get through, there is some fairly simple ways to help you get back on track and kick depression to the curb, so drink some water, clean your space a bit and find something to do and you’ll be out of this funk in no time!