THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH

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Sadness can be a difficult emotion to deal with, not only due to the pain it causes, but also because of the factors that caused the sadness in the first place. Sadness can be the result of loss, helplessness, or disappointment, among many other things. It is important to remember, though, that sadness is one of the most common and natural human emotions, and is something that will ultimately help us appreciate our happy times.

Sometimes, though, it is possible for sadness to deepen, and this may be a sign that you are suffering from a form of depression. There is no shame in being concerned about your mental health or consulting a therapist for that matter. Guarding a good emotional balance and a healthy mental equilibrium is a necessity in today?s fast paced life.

Depression is common. One in three people will experience a major depressive episode at some stage in their lives. While most cases of depression are mild, about one person in ten will have a moderate or severe episode. There might be instances when you?d feel emotions more intensely that others. A depressed state of mind is a matter of concern and curable. You must not feel shattered or lose hope. A major part of the population suffers from depression. One such inspirational story is that of Buzz Aldrin who suffered from depression and overcame it with shining colours.

Buzz Aldrin

The famous astronaut who defied odds -- and gravity -- by landing on the moon alongside Neil Armstrong in 1969 struggled with depression and alcoholism after his inspiring feat. "I can't recall ever sharing my pain with another male friend or confiding in anyone that I was struggling to hold life together," he wrote in his book Magnificent Desolation. "At first the alcohol soothed the depression, making it at least somewhat bearable. But the situation progressed into depressive-alcoholic binges in which I would withdraw like a hermit into my apartment."

After treating his depression and alcoholism, Aldrin went on to serve as the chairman of the National Association of Mental Health.

HOW TO DEAL WITH DEPRESSION:

There is a range of ways to deal with depression, and often they are best used in conjunction with each other. The primary medical options are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), antidepressant medication, and in some severe cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Education and coping strategies are also important when learning to manage your depression.

Here are ten immediate ways in which you can deal with depression:

1. CHALLENGING NEGATIVE THINKING

Being able to recognize when depression is pulling you down is the first step toward recovery. When depressed, all sorts of negative thoughts can get stuck in our heads, so it?s important to be able to keep these in check.

2. SHIFT YOUR ATTENTION

If your mood is weighing you down to the point where it feels impossible to challenge your thoughts, then try taking a step back to concentrate on something else. This can be especially helpful when trying to deal with and overcome suicidal thoughts. Mindfulness exercises can be helpful in shifting attention away from negative thoughts.

3. SET SMALL GOALS

Depression can make the simplest tasks seem daunting, so you?re going to have to work on breaking things down into small and concrete tasks. For example, instead of getting stuck thinking ?how am I going to get to work every day this week?, think about getting to work today, than break it down even further.

  • Get out of bed.
  • Have a shower and shave.
  • Get dressed.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Head to work.

Each time you complete a step, give yourself credit. Simply getting out of bed when fighting depression is an accomplishment and if that?s all you can do one day, that?s okay. Push yourself but don?t beat yourself up if you can?t keep up to your usual pace.

4. FOCUS ON THE BASICS

Sleep, food, physical activity ? do your best to keep on top of these as they can make a huge impact on your ability to successfully manage depression.

Make sure to think ?physical activity? and not ?exercise?. Going for a short walk, doing household chores, or anything that gets you up and moving counts. Getting outside and into the sun can also help.

5. KEEP DOING THINGS

This might seem hard at first, because you probably won?t have the same amount of energy you normally do, but part of fighting depression is simply giving your mind something else to think about (and a rest from depressed thoughts).

Try concentrating your attention anywhere else ? go for a walk, work on a hobby, meet a friend for coffee. The main thing here is that you want to avoid lying about and stewing in misery all day. Once you get going, you?ll also usually find you have more energy than you thought you would.

6. REACH OUT TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY

A lot of guys hide feeling depressed from the very people that could help the most.

Talking about what?s causing you stress or bringing you down can help lessen the intensity of these thoughts. Give those closest to you a chance to help out.

7. TALK TO A THERAPIST

Talking to a therapist about depression is like seeing a physical therapist after a serious leg injury. If you want to get the best advice possible, you need to talk to an expert.

Remember, therapy isn?t about crying or pointless complaining; it?s about learning what?s underlying your depression, developing new skills for managing the stuff that life thows at us, and working toward improving and enjoying your life. When it comes to depression, there is no substitute for seeking professional help ? if you?re feeling depressed, connect with a therapist as soon as you can. It?s that straightforward.

8. KEEP SOME HUMOUR IN YOUR LIFE

Finding ways to make yourself laugh provides your mind with a break from all the negative thoughts depression brings.

Whether this involves talking a friend, watching a funny show or movie, or following a humorous account on social media, it can all help.

9. AVOID OR LIMIT ALCOHOL AND OTHER SUBSTANCE USE

Some of the tips above are about coping with depression by distracting ourselves. Drinking and other substance use may feel like a way to distract, distance, or numb yourself from the pains of depression, but it isn?t a healthy way to do it and will always turn into a bigger problem.

10. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT

We know how hard it is to fight depression, so we cannot stress this enough ? be proud of any steps and progress you make, even if it takes longer than you hoped.

Recovering from depression takes time.

The new habits and skills you learn now will you help throughout your life.

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