There are a lot of things that people who suffer from depression have in common. Many, such as heredity and traumatic life events, are beyond our control. However, there are mistakes we make every day which are directly related to our depression level. The following is a list of fourteen of the mistakes depressed people make that sabotage our mental (and physical) health.
Neglecting to exercise is one of the largest contributors to depression, stress and countless disease processes.
When your brain doesn’t have the necessary nutrients, it can’t function properly. Be sure to get lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget the salmon! Also, be sure to take a good multivitamin, as well as a fish oil supplement.
Poor Sleeping Habits
Not only is it important to get enough sleep, but it is also detrimental to our health to sleep too much. Also, those who stay up late and sleep late are much more likely to be depressed and obese, and have a higher risk of some cancers.
Neglecting Physical Health
There are many physical conditions that can cause depression such as food allergies and overactive or underactive thyroid. Many medications can also cause depression. Seeing your doctor is no fun, but avoiding her can be much worse.
Sometimes we aren’t even aware of our negative thought patterns and what a huge impact they have on the way we feel. It might take some talk therapy to help you identify these patterns and how to change them.
I’m not talking about bad as in, “He always leaves the seat up.” I’m talking about neglect, cruelty, abuse, infidelity, etc. If you are in a toxic relationship, don’t believe the lies. You DO deserve better.
You go into a job with high hopes, but then you find that it’s a dead end. Even worse, you might be enduring condescension, harassment, ridicule or abuse. These situations can create stress and depression that can take years off your life. Regardless of the money, do whatever it takes to make changes, even if it means going back to school.
Spirituality is a large part of who we are, whether we acknowledge it or not. Neglecting our spiritual growth and/or not living according to our own convictions takes a toll on our mental health.
Negative Messages and Images
The things we watch, read and listen to have a dramatic effect on the way we think and feel. Avoid negative, sad, scary and violent media. It’s difficult, yes, but not impossible.
When we’re feeling down, we tend to isolate ourselves from others. Remember that isolation is like food for the monster we call depression. If necessary, force yourself to be around other people.
Lots of us use alcohol or drugs to try to make ourselves feel better, only to greatly magnify the problem(s). If you believe you need medication, see a psychiatrist or your family doctor, but do NOT make things worse by self medicating.
Sugar, Caffeine and Food Abuse/Addiction
How many times have you turned to food, especially sweets, to make yourself feel good? It might feel good going down, but then the guilt hits and the pounds pack on, only making the depression worse. Try drinking water and eating healthy snacks like carrots or a few almonds.
Unforgiveness is like a cancer that eats away at us. Holding onto hatred, pain and vengeance for wrongs done to us can rob us of our joy and keep us in depression for as long as we let it. Forgiving isn’t for the offender. It’s for you! Let it go, forgive and get on with your life–a much happier life.
Avoiding Physical and Emotional Intimacy
We allow ourselves to get so caught up in our problems and pain that we begin to pull away from the people who love us and are the most likely to help us recover. Love and physical intimacy are basic human needs and when we deprive ourselves of them, we only deepen our depression.
This list is obviously not all inclusive. We need to pay attention to the things we do and notice what affects us negatively. If possible, we should avoid those things. Try to keep them in mind and work on them daily. Remember–this is the kind of work that has a pay-off with great benefits!