Depression is the most prevalent disease of our time. Under the guise of informing the public, both the medical profession and the media are constantly “warning” us of the dangers and probabilities of the disease most likely to terminate us. News about a lack of sufficient influenza vaccine is enough to get our collective blood pressure soaring.
Bad news is chronic and it affects us all. Do I have a magic pill that will make all the bad go away? No. But, there are ways to help us stay out of depression. We also find out from the media, internet and the medical field that there are many ways to relieve stress and anxiety. I will list them here:
Five Practical Steps to Help You Stave Off Depression:
- Get Out into the Sunshine
- Get Busy; Get Inspired
- Give Yourself a Break
- Eat Right and Stay Fit
- Get a Social Life
Melatonin, a hormone produced only in the dark, lowers the body temperature and makes you feel sluggish. Therefore, to get more light on bleak days, install brighter lights in your room, have lunch out as much as possible, and take frequent walks.
When you do things you love and keep active, it is hard to become depressed. Simple acts like taking frequent strolls, playing sports, reading books, or volunteering in the neighborhood can chase the blues away.
Sit back, relax and listen to your favorite music, soak in a nice warm bath, get a massage, and spend a day just goofing around. In other words, forget your stressful situation, and have fun.
Avoid foods with lots of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. Although sugar and caffeine do spike your energy level for a short while, they eventually cause anxiety, tension, and internal problems. Alcohol is a known depressant. People who drink to forget their problems are actually aggravating their conditions.
Exercising regularly causes your body to produce more endorphins than usual. They are called “the happy chemicals” because of their stress-reducing and happiness-inducing properties.
It's not good to be alone too long or too often. Hang out with people who are up-beat and give moral support. Don't underestimate the power of touch. A pat on the back and a word of encouragement go a long way. Hug someone today. You may never know just how much you have touched that person's life. The love and care expressed by others boost your immune system and actually fend off illnesses.
Some Final Thoughts
Making these suggestions is simple. I know; putting them into practice is not always easy. That's why I want to leave you with these thoughts:
Live One Day at a Time
The Bible admonishes us to live each day to the fullest as there’s enough evil in one day to handle! Don’t look back on past hurts, nor fret about tomorrow. Live today as if it is the only day you have. In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale suggests to live each day in "day-tight compartments." What a concept! Each day is so full of the Now that yesterday and its problems are completely shut out and tomorrow is unattainable! Try it – it works! Choose to focus all your thoughts and energy on what is at hand: Today, and do everything to the best of your ability.
Watch Your Tongue!
In the Bible we learn that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Words can both bless and curse. Negative words can evoke great fear and anxiety. The mind paints a picture of every word we hear or see. For instance, when someone says “black cow,” immediately you will see that cow in your mind’s eye. Although words are not tangible, they have the power to bring about physical matter! The earth was created by the Word of God’s Power! That’s Power!
You may think: "come on, I don’t have that kind of power!" How about curses? Negative words always produce negative impulses, whether minute or major. Conversely, positive words make you feel good. A mere smile and a happy: “Have a great day!” instantly exude warmth. So, be careful of what you allow to sink deeply into your subconscious.
Happiness Is a Choice
Whenever bad news reaches us we have two choices! We can either choose to dwell on it and perpetuate it by speaking about it, or swiftly replace our thoughts and words with constructive ones. Whenever we hear our favorite music, our feet start tapping, right? We start humming the melody and pretty soon we’re happy. Our thoughts respond to what we feed the mind through our senses. Therefore, we CAN choose to be happy! At first, if it’s totally foreign to us, it will take some getting used to. It means breaking the habit of feeling trapped in negativity when we hear gloom. Let us decide to switch off the minuses in our life and concentrate on the pluses.
Gratitude; the Antidote
Thankfulness is one of the greatest virtues. If you divided a page in two and wrote all your setbacks on one side and all the blessings on the other, you would find that you have far more blessings than negatives. The Bible says to give thanks with a grateful heart for all things.
God Is In Control!
Start each day by giving thanks to God, your creator and loving father. He knew you before you were born and knows your end. He guides and upholds you. All you have to do is ask and trust – just as a small child with his/her daddy. Spend time in the Word, especially the Psalms. You cannot help but come away from that time with Him with a new refreshing, empowerment and warmth. Ann Stewart is the author of With Wings As Eagles, an autobiography of how she overcame the mountains in her life. You can learn more about Ann at http://www.as-the-eagle.com or http://www.energyplus3.freelife.com.