Demystifying Depression/General Lifestyle Advice

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General Lifestyle Advice edit

These are just the general tips that might help with depression. It might take a while to get used to them, but in time they will become second nature. Moreover, remember that depression is not an on/off condition: this same advice is also useful for healthy people who wish to remain that way. Obviously, a healthy person does not need to follow them very strictly, but they remain nevertheless good lifestyle advice.

  • Try to avoid stress

Stress may exasperate depression

  • Exercise
  • Get Sunshine
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Practice relaxation exercises

Yes, I am referring to stuff like meditation and yoga. They actually work, despite all the silly new-age nonsense that surrounds them. If you cannot stand the airy-fairy aspects, try to find a good expert who does not preach them.

Personally, I found that one of the most relaxing things you can do is to lie in the sunshine. This might not be an option if it is winter and/or you happen to live in a cold country, but if you can, do it as much as is safely possible. (But take into account the usual advice concerning the dangers of catching too much sun, obviously! Like in all things, moderation is the key).

Make a conscious effort to do things with pleasure

This could take a fair amount of brainwashing, but the idea is that before each activity, no matter how small, you think I love doing this or I order myself to feel good, right now. For best results, say it loudly. Also, only do things when you really feel pleasure in doing them, and do them only for as long as that pleasure remains. Should you lose interest or feel tired, then stop.

Take appropriate medication

If your gut reaction is that antidepressants are evil, consider informing yourself properly. The truth is that modern drugs are quite effective and generally safe (I am referring in particular to SSRIs and more recent classes [1]). They do have side-effects, but these are usually mild and quite bearable compared with the illness itself. For best results, have a clinical psychiatrist prescribe them to you: they are generally well informed of the different side-effects and can choose the drug best suited to your case. Also, remember that antidepressants usually require around three weeks before they have an effect. Three weeks are an eternity for someone with a depression, but do not stop taking them just because you do not see an immediate result.

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