Feelings whether bad or good ARE feelings. When you feel, you are ALIVE.
When you resort to an anti-depressant you may not feel sad or depressed but you also won’t feel happiness, joy or playfulness either. Depression expresses itself in many different ways; not wanting to go out; being extremely sad for a long period of time; just can’t enter into the spirit of things; all seem hopeless; easy chores become huge burdens; the world seem threatening and unsafe. There are as many opinions as to the cause of depression as there are psychiatrists in the world, however it is generally agreed that the main CAUSE of depression is actually STRESS.
The dictionary defines stress as: “Physical, mental or emotional strain or tension.”
There are many natural non-drug remedies to help one deal with physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. Here are some suggestions that maybe helpful. I have listed 12 ideas that will eventually (if followed) take you out of the abyss you mat sometimes feel you are in.
But before we even begin, let me ask you a few questions. Please answer these honestly: Do you want to feel better? Do you believe you CAN get better? Are you willing to do what it takes to feel better (as long as it makes sense to you)? If the answer to these questions is “yes” then, read on. Now back to you.
Here are the suggestions:
BODY HEALTH – A primary cause of prolonged depression is possibly an undiagnosed health condition. When one is depressed, it is a good idea to see a medical doctor and get a full medical check up to ensure that any possible health conditions are diagnosed and properly handled.
EXERCISE – The body is there to be used. The more you use it the happier it becomes. Treat it as you would treat your car. If a car doesn’t move for more than 2 weeks the battery may die. You don’t have to be fanatic about it. Just take a brisk walk every day for at least 20 minutes. Feel your heart pumping and your lungs expanding. Walking is not just for the body but for the soul as well. Look around you as you walk, notice things in your neighborhood that you have not noticed before, smile to a neighbor passing by even if you have to force yourself to smile. With exercise it is important to eat healthy; get rid of all the junk food, processed food, candy etc. I’m sure you know what’s healthy and what not. Just be moderate in what you eat. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF THAT GIVES YOU PLEASURE – Every day do something for yourself with the intention of lifting yourself up. Make a list of things that make you happy. Choose one of them for that day and do it. The next day you can choose the next thing and so on. I’m sure that once you sit down and write all the things you like to do that make you feel happy you will end up with quite a long list.
UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS – Sometimes one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel… sometimes there are more than one. The most important action you can take is to ensure you are surrounded by positive relationships. Look around at all your relationships and determine which one makes you feel good and which makes you feel bad. Spend most if not all of your time with those relationships that make you feel good and avoid and/or get rid of those relationships that make you feel bad.
ADOPT AN ANIMAL – If you don’t have a pet, this is a great time to adopt one. Animals are wonderful to have around. They need love, which I’m sure you have lots of, and care. When your attention goes outward, away from your own troubles, your mood will improve. You will find yourself uplifted and extroverted.
PLANTS – get new plants whether for decoration, or for food; make an herb garden. You can grow them in your yard or on your balcony if you live in a condo or an apartment.
REARANGE YOUR HOUSE – The first thing to do is to go through your wardrobe and get rid of old clothes and clothing accessories and shoes that you haven’t worn for 3 years. Donate it them to worthy organizations. Do the same with other items in your house. Once you are done with that, go to the next task, which is to rearrange your living quarters. Move things around; change the arrangement of your living room, move pictures around or put new ones on instead.
SET SHORT AND LONG TERM GOALS – It is very important to plan things for the future. Do you remember the excitement and expectation you had before an important event you knew was coming? You may have prepared months for that event. Go back to the time when you planned for something in the future, whether it was a birthday party, a play you participated in, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, confirmation, wedding, and birth of a child. Now where was your attention during that period of time? Was it in the past? Present? Or future?
Yes, it was a little on the present and LOTS in the future, right? Make a short-term goal first. Let’s say a goal for the next week. Think of something special you would like to do, a place you would like to visit, a person you would like to spend time with, invite people over for dinner, etc. Put it on your calendar for the following week and DO it. Repeat this every week. Then when you are up to it, make long-term plans such as a trip out of town, tickets for a play? Musical? Opera? Etc.
GIVE TO OTHERS – Now that you treated yourself, the next thing to do is to think of others. We are most happy when we help another. Make a list of people you know and care about. Next to each name, write a few things you know would make them happy. Once you are done with the list, pick one person and do something for them that they would like. I know that my sister’s mood improves when I call her. I know that a good friend of mine just loves hiking with me. I know that my husband loves when I wake up before him and prepare him a nice breakfast.
DONATE AND OR VOLUNTEER – As I mentioned before, when we give we are happy. We feel worthy, valuable and needed. For an immediate action find a group or a cause that need donations, whether it is for Third World country, animals, elderly, education etc. Find things that you are passionate about and donate to them. Whether it is volunteering for one day a week, a few hours a week, just START. Make sure you have a certain day and hour of the day that is devoted for that purpose. The more active you are the happier you will be and your morale WILL improve.
JOIN A CLUB – It is very important to be connected to people and specifically those that you can share the same reality with. There are lots of groups and clubs out there that will appeal to you. There are singing clubs, hiking clubs, reading clubs, and so forth, you name it. Just decide what group you would feel most comfortable with and join them. Expand your circle of acquaintances. Make sure these are fun and exciting groups not those who dwell on depression and bad times. You want to be away from those.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAM – You may have always wanted to be a singer, actor, doctor, athlete, writer etc. Never give up your dream; even if you are not going to do it for a living–who cares. Just get yourself on the line of where your passion is. If you always wanted to be a writer, just start writing. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t seek ‘opinions’ or approval from others. Believe in yourself and do what feels right to you. If you always wanted to be an actor and never pursued it then take acting classes; participate in a local theatre play. No matter how big the step you take, just take the first step and then the second and you soon be walking and running.
Ruti Yudovich recently released her first novel, I Hate to Say Goodbye, based on her early years in Israel. She is also the author of a two-part, self-teaching educational book entitled the joy of Hebrew. For more information visit at: http://www.ihatetosaygoodbye.com and FB at: http://www.facebook.com/ihtsgb?ref=hl