10 All Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed

Does this describe your life?

  • Life is a drag.

  • What’s the point of anything?

  • I’ll never be happy.

Do any of these gloomy thoughts sound familiar? It’s likely they do. The occasional case of the blues is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. If you allow them to, negative thoughts can fester and lead to serious depression. That’s why it’s important to take action early to bust yourself out of a slump. While these suggestions won’t eliminate your problems, they can help you break a negative thought pattern and stop feeling depressed. If you think you might have a serious mental health problem, don’t hesitate to see a medical professional.

1. Understand the emotional cycle – Life is an emotional roller coaster. Some days you feel like nothing can stop you. Other days you feel utterly hopeless. Most of the time you’re somewhere in between. Understanding the pattern of positive and negative emotions will help you put your feelings in perspective. Next time you feel down, just remember that it’s a natural emotion that will inevitably pass. Knowing that a feeling of depression is only temporary makes it less dreadful.

2. Spend time with positive people – Nothing affects the way you think and feel more than the people you interact with. Thoughts (both positive and negative) are contagious. If you are surrounded by negative people, it’s only natural that you’ll start to think and feel the same way. To improve your outlook on life, spend time with positive people. Search them out and try to understand the way they see the world. Chances are their happiness will rub off.

3. Reflect on past success – In the wake of a colossal failure, it’s easy to forget everything you’ve ever done right. Take a few minutes to remember your past accomplishments and build yourself up. What made you successful before? What are your strengths? Frequently, this exercise will build self confidence, help you figure out what went wrong, and generate ideas for success in the future.

4. Focus on gratitude – It’s human nature to measure ourselves against those ahead of us on the social ladder. Studies have shown that people care more about being richer than their friends than actually making more money. When you consider everything good in your life and compare it to the problems of less fortunate people, the issue that’s making you depressed won’t seem as serious.

5. Change of scenery – One of the best ways to change the way you feel is to change your environment. When you get in a slump, you start to associate your problems with everything around you. It can get to the point where your environment is a constant reminder of your problems. This can be a dangerous cycle. The solution is to change things. Change doesn’t have to be radical. Cleaning up, adding more lights, or including pleasant decorations can completely change the mood of a room.

6. Break your routine – Going through the same routine, day after day, can be monotonous and depressing. It often leads to getting caught in a rut. To get out of it you need to temporarily change your routine. If you can, take a day off from work. Do something you don’t normally have time for or something you’ve never tried. In the long run, taking a day off every now and then to get out of slump will make you happier and more productive.

7. Interact with animals and nature – It’s funny when you consider how humans put so much importance on their own tiny problems. Animals don’t think this way. A little bird doesn’t mope around because it isn’t an eagle or because another bird beat it to a tasty seed. Animals live in the present moment and they show love unconditionally. Observing and interacting with them will help you get over your problems.

8. Get moving – As Johnny Cash famously suggested, “Get a rhythm, when you get the blues.” Moving to a beat makes everyone feel better. The same is true for movement in general. Hitting the gym or going for a walk will help you shed the lethargy that comes with feeling depressed. The more enthusiastic your moments, the better you will start to feel.

9. Think about the big picture – As Carl Sagan made evident with the Pale Blue Dot, we’re insignificant creatures living in a vast universe on a tiny planet. In the long run, everything we do will probably be forgotten. Some might find this depressing, but it shouldn’t be. It means that all our problems are illusory. In a million years no one will remember what you did or didn’t do. What matters is the present moment and enjoying every second of life that we’re blessed with.

10. Do something to help yourself – Above all, the best way to stop feeling depressed is to take action. What is your biggest problem? How can you alleviate it? Once you decide to stop moping and start moving forward you won’t have time to feel depressed. Action will occupy your mind and give you something to look forward to. Once you get some results, you’ll build momentum and positive thinking will keep getting easier.

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20 Things People With Chronic Pain Can Relate To…

stevepb / Pixabay
Millions of people live with chronic pain every day in the US, and they struggle to do basic day-to-day things like getting dressed and going to the shop. Despite their constant pain, their voices are rarely heard by the media because they look ‘normal’ and it is difficult to see the cause of their pain.

Here are 20 things that people in chronic pain can relate to:

  1. We try very hard to look ‘normal’

    People often say to us that we don’t look sick, but it takes a lot of effort to look normal. We often have to nap before going out to deal with the exhaustion, and we normally take pain meds before meeting up with people.

  2. The pain won’t pass in a few days or weeks

    This isn’t a cold or the flu, and it won’t go away in a few weeks – we may live with the pain for our whole lifetime.

  3. It’s not all in our heads

    [Tweet “We are not hypochondriac’s; just because you can’t see the cause of our pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”]

  4. We have dreams and goals

    Just like anyone else, we have passions and dreams that we would like to achieve in our lives. We are not defined by our illness.

  5.  We are not making a big deal for no reason

    We are probably in more pain that you think we are in. It can be pretty difficult to understand chronic pain, and we don’t need your sympathy – we just want to know that you understand our situation.

  6. Sometimes it is impossible to get out of bed in the morning

    Some days the pain is too bad to get out of bed, but we don’t let that get us down. In fact, we will probably Skype our friends or partners so we can have a giggle to take our mind off the pain.

  7. We hate being called lazy

    Every job is twice as hard if you’re experiencing chronic pain, so we don’t feel lazy – we feel super accomplished for getting dressed and going to the shops. Everyone experiences different challenges in life.

  8. Chronic pain doesn’t become less painful with time

    Pain doesn’t become less painful over time, but you become better at dealing with the pain. I am still in pain; I’m just not letting it rule my whole life.We don’t always have enough spoons
    Christine Miserandino, a woman with lupus, created the ‘spoons’ analogy to describe living with invisible pain.

  9. When you have chronic pain, you start each day with a certain amount of spoons.

    Every task, like making a sandwich, takes a spoon away from you. Once you have run out of spoons for the day, you cannot complete any more activities – your pain is too much. This analogy helps us to complete our tasks without exerting ourselves too much.
    [Tweet “PLEASE take the time to read  “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino this is probably the BEST essay to help you understand chronic pain!”]

  10. If we don’t work, it is because we can’t

    We don’t shy away from work; in fact, we would do anything to be healthy and able to work full-time. Sadly for some chronic pain sufferers, this just isn’t an option.

  11. Just standing in queues is uncomfortable and painful

    Having to hold your body in a certain place for even a few minutes can be extremely tiring and painful, and sometimes we have to ask our friends and families for help.

  12. Good days do happen

    Some days we wake up feeling better than normal, and we get super excited! Normally we will try to be productive and social on these days, because we don’t know when the next good day will be.

  13. So do bad days

    Some days are very painful, and on these days even going to the bathroom is a difficult task. On a day like this, brushing your teeth is a huge accomplishment!

  14. We feel guilty about not always replying to our friends

    Pain can be mentally exhausting, and sometimes it means we feel too tired and ill to reply to our friends. This makes us feel bad – we love our friends and we hate not replying, but thankfully our friends don’t take it personally when this happens.

  15. We are so thankful for the friends and family who are there for us

    Often we have to ask our loved ones for help with tasks like cooking and shopping, and we are so grateful for the help. Our friends are more than just friends; they are lifelines and saviours.

  16. Medical help can be frustrating

    It can take years to diagnose chronic pain due to a lack of training, and when we find an understanding doctor, we try to keep them in our lives for as long as possible.

  17.  We don’t seek drugs – we seek pain relief

    Sometimes chronic pain is treated with medical marijuana and opioids, but that doesn’t mean we seek drugs. We seek anything that will help us to control and manage our pain.

  18. We don’t need advice (unless you have chronic pain yourself)

    We really appreciate people who are trying to be helpful, but it can be mentally draining to repeatedly discuss the same pain-management methods. We always look out for ways to help manage the pain, so the likelihood is that we have already tried most suggestions.

  19. We hope to heal one day

    We don’t want to live our whole lives in pain – we want to heal and get better. We will always look out for answers and cures that could change our lives

  20. Love and support helps us to keep going

    From strangers and co-workers, the little gestures like offering to help with our bags can really help to make our lives easier.

Medical searches on Google

When you do a Google search for certain medical conditions, you can learn about their symptoms and treatments. This includes information from medical doctors about how common a condition is, whether it’s critical or contagious, the ages it usually affects, and more.

Get info about chronic pain

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How to Achieve the Creative State of Flow

Have you ever been so engaged in an activity that you lost track of time or even your surroundings? A bomb could have gone off (figuratively) and you wouldn’t have noticed?

That’s called “flow” – a state of consciousness where we experience a task so deeply that it truly becomes enjoyable and satisfying. For me this usually happens while I’m reading, writing, or developing software. For you, it could happen during any number of tasks — golfing, cooking, hiking, etc.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the architect of Flow and he wrote Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience. A guide that shows us how to add more enjoyment in our lives by increasing the time we spend in Flow.

The Conditions of Flow

Flow can be achieved by anyone with any task, as long as the conditions are right. I usually get into a state of Flow while writing. I listen to music through my headphones and after a few minutes I really get into my work I’m oblivious to my surroundings.

Sometimes I can’t type fast enough. Other times I type so s-l-o-w-l-y and the words don’t come easily. But, either way, I’m in a state of Flow. According to Mihaly there are eight characteristics to an optimal experience:

  1. You’re challenged by the task at hand. This seems to be the ‘prime directive’ to achieving Flow and can actually prevent you from being in a state of Flow. The difficulty of your task has to be “just right”. If the task is to easy, you’ll get bored and eventually stop. If the task is to difficult, you’ll get frustrated and eventually stop. Either way, you loose.
  2. The ability to concentrate is key. If there are to many interruptions or it’s noisy, you won’t be able to concentrate on your task. No concentration, no Flow.
  3. You have clear goals to achieve. Goals establish a mechanism to measure your progress and provide a sense of achievement. People in Flow achieve their goals.
  4. You receive immediate feedback. Either your ball landed in the cup or it didn’t. You know immediately if your goal was reached or not.
  5. Your worries and frustrations of everyday life recede into the background. This perhaps is one of the greatest benefit of Flow. You’re busy concentrating on your task and the rest of your world just “goes away” for a short while. Even though you’re challenged, you end up relaxed, satisfied and you achieved something meaningful (all this, and it’s legal too).
  6. Your sense of self disappears (only for a while). When it re-appears, you’re refreshed with an even stronger sense of self.
  7. You have a level of control over your actions while performing your task.
  8. You loose track of time and feel great when you’re done with your task.

The Paradox of Leisure Time

With all the “modern conveniences” available today, we have more free time than ever before. But, with all this free time, people rarely reported being in a Flow state.

What is the largest single pastime for Americans? Watching TV. It’s a national obsession – sports, soaps, reality TV, it doesn’t matter, we’ll watch anything. The interesting thing is this – Flow is rarely achieved while watching TV!

I wonder if it has anything to do with your brain being more active while you’re sleeping than when you’re watching TV? Even though we have plenty of free time, our single most leisure activity is producing the poorest quality of enjoyment. If you’re looking to take one small step to improve the quality of your life – then turn off your TV.

The State of Flow at Work

Engaging in a challenging activity is a primary condition to achieve Flow and for many of us, this occurs while at work. You’re given a task or you volunteer for a project that’s just beyond your current skill level. Deep down you know you can do it and maybe it’s a stretch. But it’s the challenge that intrigues you and ultimately expands your knowledge.

This is how one grows – expanding your skills by continuously challenging oneself and moving to that “next level”. It’s at work where the opportunity to grow occurs most frequently. There is nothing wrong with this. My point is that we need to find activities outside of work where we can achieve Flow.

Your Personal Plan for Flow

  1. Find a challenging activity. This could be anything. Reading, suduko, learning a language, cooking, or even playing a video game. Whatever you decide to do, just do it.
  2. Commit to yourself. Remember, you’re doing this for one person and one person only. Yourself. This is your chance to finally get on the road to happiness and accomplishment.
  3. Set a series of realistic goals. By setting goals you automatically know the level of skills needed to accomplish those goals and you provide yourself a framework for achieving a sense of accomplishment. Just as a video game has levels that you try to achieve, so should your activity. Define the levels, work to achieve them and realize your goals.
  4. Turn off the T.V. “Everything in moderation” is what my father used to tell me – so it goes for TV. Some is good, a lot is bad. Give yourself a chance to get into a Flow state by turning off the TV.
  5. Remove any interruptions. It nearly impossible to be engrossed in an activity when you’re bombarded with interruptions. I tell my kids “Please don’t interrupt me unless you’re bleeding or a dinosaur is crashing through our house”. They usually giggle and give me the time I need.
  6. Track your progress. Create a simple way to track your daily progress. Place a mark on a calendar, write a short entry in a journal or scratch a line in your bedroom wall.
  7. Enjoy your experience. Achieving flow takes determination. But remember to enjoy your experience along the way. As they say “it’s the journey that’s important”.

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