The term “depression” can take on many meanings. Have a bad day at work or shrink a favorite shirt in the wash, and you’ll probably say you’re depressed. But depression is also a major illness that can leave sufferers devoid of any sense of happiness or hope, unable to perform basic tasks, even at risk for suicide. Fortunately, you can nurture your emotional and psychological health. And knowing when the blues might be morphing into the “black dog” of depression can empower you to get the help you need. Here are five tips to help you understand, ward off or treat depression.
1. Knowing is Half the Battle: There is a difference between sadness and depression, and understanding the distinction can help you respond appropriately. Psychologist Ramani Durvasula gives a helpful overview of the continuum from down-in-the-dumps to life-threatening depression. The RealAge Depression Assessment offers more help with evaluating your symptoms and gives pointers about next steps. Or take the Depression Quiz and learn more about this illness and its symptoms.
2. Understand That Treatment Can Help: By its nature, depression robs people of hope, but the fact is, most people can find substantial relief. Visit Sharecare’s Depression Center to learn about a variety of effective therapies, including integrative approaches.
3. Find Support in Numbers: Depression affects approximately 7% of the population and sometimes simply knowing you aren’t suffering alone can provide a sense of comfort. Connect with others through the depression support group at Sharecare’s sister site DailyStrength.org to share your experiences and hear from others living with depression. For more smart advice and understanding, visit Sharecare’s Top 10 Online Influencers – these bloggers are making a difference in the world of depression.
4. Beat Depression Naturally: Did you know that changing your diet could change your mood? Though a depression-easing diet won’t cure depression, it may help ward it off, or even make a difference in symptoms. Another research-proven mood-booster: Getting active. Read how exercise compares to antidepressants here.
5. Get the Tools That Fight Depression: The field of positive psychology was developed to build people’s psychological strengths. Learn about how it can help “vaccinate” you against depression and find other ways to protect your mental health at Sharecare’s Happiness Center.