Over 300 million people are suffering from depression worldwide, making it the leading factor for illness and disability, reveals the latest estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) released ahead of World Health Day.
“These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in a news release.
The WHO said the number of people living with depression has seen a sharp rise of over 18% from 2005 to 2015.
To fight this problem, the agency is carrying out a year-long campaign, Depression: let’s talk, which is also the theme of World Health Day 2017, to be marked on April 7.
Pertinently, it has also been found that depression is an important risk factor for suicide, which claim thousands of lives every year.
Here are 10 ways to fight depression:
1. Come out of your shell and get connected:
When depressed, we show withdrawal tendencies and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Social support is a great anti-depressant. Reach out to friends and family; make new friends and get connected to the outside world.
2. Stay active:
An idle brain is the devil’s workshop. Stay active; but don’t force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy.
Take out time to nurture your hobby, play the sport you like, learn a new instrument or language that you always wanted to, hang out with friends … do something or everything that you always wanted to do or always enjoy doing.
It will lift your mood and divert your attention from the primary cause of your depression.
Do some cardio till you are soaking in sweat and your body releasing endorphins, famous for reducing the perception of pain. Take a shower and try being depressed!
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Inadequate slumber affects our mood and makes us easily irritable and stressed.
The mind and body need enough rest to recover themselves of pain, stress, wear and tear; and maintain physical vitality and emotional balance.
5. Eat properly, eat healthily:
When depressed, we either tend to skip meals or binge on junk food. Both are as harmful as the other.
Eat something every three to four hours. Replace sugar and carbs on your plate with citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Vitamin B deficiencies have been linked with depression. So, make sure you supplement your food with folic acid and Vitamin B-12. Eat fish at least twice a week. You need omega-3 fatty acids to stabilize your mood. Stay hydrated.
Clinical studies have shown that meditation is one of the best therapies to treat depression. When you meditate, it ups your serotonin level that regulates mental and emotional processes.
7. Get a pet:
Pets are instant anti-depressants. Studies have shown that dogs in particular can effectively lower stress, anxiety and depression. They make you go silly after them, spoil them with cuddles, thereby easing your loneliness.
They urge you to play with them and take them out on walks, thereby pushing you to do some cardio everyday.
8. Go for some sunshine:
Getting some sunshine on the body increases serotonin levels. Spend at least 15 minutes a day under the morning sun to get a natural mood-enhancer.
9. Think positive:
It is our natural tendency to think negative when in depression. Thus unintentionally, we get pushed from depression to severe depression.
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Think and talk positive even if you don’t want to. It might be hard for you in the beginning. Think about happy times, people who love you or memories that are happy and dear to you.
Gradually you will not have to force yourself … the positivity will come naturally and where there is positivity, there is no place for depression.
10. Get professional help:
There is nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about seeking medical help from a professional. Depression is not a social stigma. Just as you visit a doctor to get treated for your physical illness, there is nothing wrong in getting professional therapies for the mind as well.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.