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Ways of Managing Depression Without Medication

Don’t let depression suck the soul out of you. Here’s a few strategies (and links) that can keep you feeling fat and sassy.

In my childhood home, in the bathroom by the living room, a wooden plaque hung from the wall that read, “One day I sat thinking, almost in despair when a hand fell on my shoulder and a voice said reassuringly: ‘Cheer up, things could be worse.’ So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.” Yes, my house not only acknowledged the sentiment that life can be little more than a crap sandwich, it also indulged in it.

It does, however, reflect a serious issue in the U.S. According to the CDC, in 2011 one in 10 adults reported depression (http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsDepression/). While the definition of depression is flexible enough that these statistics can vary depending on who’s interpreting them, it highlights the fact that a large percentage of Americans feel hopeless, empty, or worthless. Maybe this describes how you’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. If so, what can you do about it? Yes, there’s medication, but in addition to needing healthcare insurance to afford it, there are side effects which can be equally as bad as the depression. You might ask what are some other strategies to manage these feelings of despair? I’m glad you did. Below are some proven methods of lassoing your depression and bringing it down.

Cognitive Therapy - This doesn’t require a therapist. Simply put, you need to change your thinking. Often there’s a skewed sense of self and the world that accompanies depression or depressive feelings. And without getting into the whole chicken and egg of thoughts and emotions, if you already feel crappy then don’t worry about how it all happened. Instead, concentrate on managing the present. Getting to the root of your issues can come later. Right now, try a few of these mental approaches.

-Set realistic daily goals for yourself. Don’t load up your schedule in order to catch up or to try to get ahead. Setting yourself up for failure is an easy way to exacerbate feelings of worthlessness.

-Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can. Again, this is about managing your expectations and abilities.

-Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. 
-Remember that positive thoughts can replace negative thoughts. Thinking is a habit; one you can change.

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