Monday, 3 July 2017

Depression: Don't be afraid (Part 3)

As much as is possible, try to go to bed at a consistent time. You train your body how to sleep. If you always go to bed around 10pm, it will come to expect it from you and falling asleep will become easier over time.

– If you lie down in your bed and can’t fall asleep within twenty minutes, get up and do something else for a while. Massage yourself, read fiction, meditate, breathe deeply, etc.  Then come back after a while and try again. If you lie in bed growing increasingly frustrated with your lack of ability to sleep, then your mind will begin to associate your bed with frustration as opposed to associating it with rest.

– A guaranteed way to slow your heart rate down and feel more calm is to breathe in the following specific pattern. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four seconds, suspend your breath for four seconds, exhale through your nose for eight sounds, and suspend at the end of the exhale for four seconds. Four in, pause four, exhale eight, pause four. Repeat. Put your fingers on your pulse and watch it slooooowww right down.

Quality sleep – seed habit: make your room darker with blackout curtains. Don’t want to go to the store? Get them on Amazon. Journal out your thoughts. Breathe deeply and slowly.

4. Get sunlight during the day

Sunlight is a natural antidepressant that has been proven to balance your immune system, improve cognitive function, improve hormonal regulation, and stabilize and improve your mood. So if you’re working in a cubicle all day, staying indoors all the time, or wearing sunglasses 24/7, then you might be missing out on a natural and effective cure for depression.

If you live in a part of the world that doesn’t get much sunlight, you can supplement with light therapy and a high quality liquid vitamin d3 supplement.

Getting sunlight – seed habit: go outside for thirty minutes a day. While you’re at it, walk around. Ideally walk around outside with a friend. If there’s no sun where you are this time of year, supplement with liquid vitamin D and pick up a light therapy kit and use it daily.

5. Socialize

One thing that depression would often have you do is stay inside by yourself and not connect with anyone. While being left to your own devices, you will inevitably ruminate on all of the things that feel awful about your life and you will downward spiral further. The solution? Socialize. Especially if you don’t feel like socializing.

Meet up with friends or family members. Meet up with anyone who cares about you. Meet up with anyone who makes you laugh.

One of the best things that you can do for your mental health is to frequently surround yourself with people who make you feel seen, supported, and loved.

Go for walks with them. Go to movies and/or stand-up comedy shows with them. Anything that gets you out of the house and socializing is a huge win. It will also help you to have more structure in your life by having set plans in your calendar.

Socializing – seed habit: enlist the help of a few close friends and let them know that you’re suffering. Tell them that you need to see them semi-regularly in order to have a break from being in your own head all day.

6. Engage in flow states

We’ve established that ruminative time allows you to downward spiral further into your mind and your depressive thought processes. Is there anything other than socializing that gets you out of your head and back into feeling engaged in your life? Why, yes there is.

Anything that you do that puts you into a flow state.

In positive psychology, a flow state is a mental state of operation that makes it feel like you are fully immersed and time just flies by. A guitarist playing music on stage… a writer writing feverishly in a crowded coffee shop… a world class gamer playing his favourite video game while an audience of thousands cheers him on.

Whatever your flow states are, they are unique to you. Ask yourself, ‘What do I do that, when I do it, time seems to fly by?’

(to be continued...)