Thursday, November 16, 2017

Twelve Strategies for Alleviating Depression

Sometimes, depression can seem like an impossible mountain to overcome. You may feel totally defeated in your ongoing battle with it. But, please take heart, because there are several effective ways to alleviate depression. Here are 12 practical suggestions for you to consider.

1. Recognize the signs. Pay close attention to clues indicating that depression may be present in your life. If interaction with people is increasingly distressful, and if you find your self constantly withdrawing, you may be depressed. If you're unable to control your appetite, misusing alcohol, or overeating, depression may be lurking nearby.

If you're experiencing many aches and pains for which there is no real physical basis, this may signal an emotional problem. If you've lost interest in activities, which used to bring pleasure, such as hobbies, and there is also lowered libido, depression may be present. If you struggle with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and if death seems to offer a way out, you're likely depressed.

2. Re-analyze the feelings. Once you identify your depression, attempt to analyze the specific feelings associated with it. Why do you have these feelings? What triggers them? When are they triggered? Are they proportionate to the event which triggers them? Remember, some depressions result from loss. If this can be identified, allow your self to experience the sadness about the loss without feeling guilty about the emotion. 

3. Remember God’s promises. Sharing our struggles with God helps to lift despair. The psalmists found that verbalizing their grief, anger, and depression led to renewed hope for them. In a similar way, as you open your heart to God and verbalize your anger and depression, you will begin to gain a new perspective on your self, as well as an awareness of being accepted by God in spite of experiencing anger and negative feelings.

4. Rest, Re-create, & Replenish. Establish the Sabbath principle in your life. Take regular breaks from your work and other responsibilities. Engage in intentional replenishment weekly or monthly, confide in your spouse (if you're married) and seek spiritual direction from a trusted minister.

5. Refocus (Re-prioritize). Learn to set limits. Clearly define the parameters of what you will expect of your self and what you will allow others to expect of you. The scriptures give an instructive example of how church leaders unashamedly set limits on what they would allow others to expect of them when the apostles delegated some responsibility to others (Acts 6). 

6. Realistic Expectations. Establish healthy boundaries and set realistic expectations for your family, work, and church life. Even Jesus did not heal everyone, though it was within His power to do so. 

7. Regular Exercise and healthy, well-balanced diet. Physical exercise is extremely important in maintaining a mental-physical balance and good emotional health. The types of food you consume will definitely affect the way you feel emotionally.

8. Reconnect. Make a place in their life for personal friendships. By growing and testing perspectives with a close friend, you will gain internal strength to keep on going.

9. Reach Out for help. It's helpful to receive feedback from supportive others to gain perspective. If you've taken the time to develop a meaningful relationship with another person, it will be easier to share. But seek professional help if necessary. 

10. Rhythms. An awareness of your own biological rhythms can help you manage your depression. For instance, some are early risers, some work late at night. These and other patterns can be modified to some extent, but those who accept their own rhythms and work within those confines are the most effective and efficient.

11. Remain involved in life. Resist the tendency to withdraw because of your depression. Rather, define tasks they you do successfully. It is necessary though, that you begin decreasing your commitments and taking control of your schedules to reduce pressure. 

12. Reconcile. Try to resolve interpersonal conflicts with God, family, friends, and colleagues. Don’t let anger, resentment, and bitterness eat away at your soul.

I hope you find the above suggestions helpful. If you do, please put them into practice and share them with others who might also be struggling with depression.