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10 Strategic Ways to Improve Your Depression (Part Two)

Hello ladies, I pray you have been encouraged and empowered by the first five strategies to improve your depression. Here is part two of the 10 strategic ways to improve your depression. We will continue with strategy number six.


6. Get involved in your community

Volunteering offers as much to you as it does to the people you help. Studies show that putting your time to work for a good cause relieves depression and anxiety, in part by making you feel connected to a cause bigger than yourself. Older adults in particular feel a greater sense of purpose and more satisfaction with their lives when they volunteer.

7. Listening to Music

When you listen to your favorite songs, your brain starts pumping out more norepinephrine and other pleasure-promoting chemicals. Music has an amazing ability to improve mood, bump up energy levels, and relieve stress. If you are at home, start dancing to the music. You would be surprised how that will uplift your mood.


8. Get into a routine

Ian Cook, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA suggest getting into a routine. Depression can strip away pieces from your life. One day melts into the next, days turn into weeks, and weeks can turn into months. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track. Find something you can do to celebrate yourself every day. It doesn’t have to be something extremely large and over the top. It can be something as simple as enjoying a cup of tea, or coffee in a large comfortable chair and not thinking about any responsibilities for 30 minutes to an hour. Perhaps look through a vacation magazine and dream about a trip you may want to take. The world will not come to an end if you make yourself a priority.

9. Set a goal

When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.

"Start very small," Cook says. "Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like making a game for your children to see who can put their toys away the fastest. That will give you some help in cleaning the house and you can sit and have a snack with your children without feeling stressed. Be creative and look for other goals you can accomplish in your life. Doesn’t matter what your lifestyle may be, you can do it. As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals.

10. Challenge negative thoughts

When you are fighting depression it is important to have a mindset shift. Who says your negative thoughts or your anxiety are the truth? Challenge it. Take a few minutes to look at what your mind is telling you, then ask yourself, is that true? You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? Is that the truth? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but you can do it. In time you will learn how to cast down those negative thoughts and take back control of your mind.


Bonus

Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Go to the park and sit outside and enjoy the sun. Volunteer in your church or community. Take a cooking class. "When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain," Cook says. "Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning."

Try to have fun. If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? "That's just a symptom of depression," Cook says. You have to keep trying anyway.

As strange as it might sound, you have to work at having fun. Plan things you used to enjoy, even if they feel like a chore. Keep going to the movies. Keep going out with friends for dinner. Make it your goal to find something you enjoy. No excuses!

See yourself as good

People outside of you don’t know your heart, your thoughts, your spirit, or your intentions. Just because they call you a name or label you in some way, doesn’t make it true. No one knows you better than you. Stop allowing people, no matter who they are, to turn you into someone you are not by their words. Take your power back and see yourself the way God sees you and hold on to that truth!


Love and Blessings

Dr. Doris