5 Activities that Help Cope with Depression

5 Activities that Help Cope with Depression

One very common symptom of depression is feeling no desire to do much. This is seen especially with regard to things we previously enjoyed doing. The symptom is not about whether you do these things or not. This is because sometimes, we show up and do things even though on the inside, we’re not present or struggling. This is especially common in the African society, where depression can look different. Whether or not you’re in therapy or on medication for depression, here are some helpful ways to cope with depression. 

Physical Activity

A lot of research has been done to find out whether exercise helps improve depression. Interestingly, there is strong evidence that supports this idea. It has been found that, gentle exercise like yoga, all the way to high intesity exercise about 3 times a week, helps reduce symptoms of depression in people, including in older adults and pregnant womenLjdfd. So, If you are experiencing depressive symptoms, try to start an exercise routine about 3 times a week. It helps to do this activity with someone or in a group, which brings us to our next suggested activity. 

Social Activity / Connection

You may have heard of a hormone called oxytocin. Your body produces it naturally but it can also be taken a medication for various reasons. Oxytocin is known to be one of the “happy” hormones of the body. It helps facilitate bonding, trust, empathy, positive memories, etc., in relationships. Your body is an amazing machine that produces many helpful chemicals like these. So when we suggest social activity, we must highlight that it is the type of social activity is very important. Spending time with a group of people you feel anxious around or do not trust, is not the type of social interaction we recommend. You may not have the energy or desire to do so. But to cope with depression, it helps to push yourself a little. Try to make sure to choose interactions with people you love and trust. 

Mindfulness

We love mindfulness mediation because it is meditation for everyone. Regardless of your religious affiliation, age, location, and emotional state, you can practice and benefit from mindfulness meditation. It helps calm you and slow down unhealthy automatic thoughts. Most people don’t like mediation because we’ve been made to believe that mediation means not thinking about anything or clearing the mind completely. However, this is an impossible thing to do. It is not possible for your brain to stop working. What mindfulness does is to guide you to  focus majority of your brain’s resources on a particular thing at a time. This is usually done by focusing on your breath, emotions or body sensations. We recommend that you start with the guided ones, where someone talks you through the process. YouTube has many free options including some as short as 1 minute!

Childhood Joy

Someone once said, “Who told us to stop coloring?!” She made this statement in encouraging us to use adult coloring books. And she’s right! Why do we stop coloring, running into the rain, blowing bubbles, playing football or hide and seek, drawing, watching cartoons, putting our heads on our parents laps. etc.? If a part of you thinks this is childish, well then that’s the product of society. None of these activities prevents you from being a mature adult or achieving your potential. Rather, they inject pure joy into our lives. So try to find the things that you enjoyed as a child and try them again. You might find that they bring you small doses of happiness.

Helping Others

This is probably a strange thing to suggest to help you cope with depression. Depression can make it difficult to do things for yourself. So how can you be asked to help someone else? We are social beings who need some level of social connectedness. Sometimes we can be more motivated to do things for others, than we are to show up for ourselves. Taking advantage of this feeling to help someone with something within your capabilities can be good for you. It helps you feel better about yourself and can foster a feeling of worthiness. This is especially important because a common symptom of depression is a feeling of worthlessness.

These activities suggested above do not replace treatment such as therapy or medication for depression. There is not guarantee that they will work for everyone. They should rather be done in conjunction with proper treatment for depression. They can be helpful because they may help create more space for pleasantness and happiness in your life.

 

Author: Petrina S. Adusei

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