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10 Ways To Turn Around Your Mild Depression Before It Gets Worse

When you're feeling low, it can be tempting to go to the dark place in your mind—worrying that you won't feel like yourself again and shouldn't even bother trying to lift your spirits. Yet there are plenty of things you can do to stop a mild case of depression in its tracks, says Helen Odessky, PsyD, a Chicago-based psychologist and author ofStop Anxiety from Stopping You. Here, Odessky and other mental health specialists share the tactics that can help you turn around your mild depressionbefore it gets worse. 

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Exercise

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Camping out on the couch may be appealing when you're experiencing mild depression, but research shows fighting that urge to stay sedentary can have powerful effects. One study published in theArchives of Internal Medicinefound that aerobic exercise was just as effective as antidepressants at easing symptoms of depression. A follow-up to that study even found that the effects of exercise lasted longer than those of antidepressants.

Still not in the mood to brave the gym or an exercise class? You can simply take a brisk walk around the block. Research shows that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or walking 60 minutes a day three times a week, had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. (You can get these exercise benefits without even leaving your house with , which includes 10-minute workouts and 10-minute meals—try it for FREE today!).Scientists believe it's because exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may directly improve mood. 

Sit in the sunshine

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There's a reason a beautiful, sunny day can instantly put you in a better mood: Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase serotonin, a brain chemical linked to improving mood and helping you feel calm and focused.

If you're feeling a little low, sit in a sunny spot in the early part of the day (you'll be increasing your vitamin D levels while you're at it). One study found exposure to light first thing in the morning was more effective at boosting mood than getting the same amount of light exposure during midday or late afternoon.

Take a mental health day

Mental Health Day
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Feeling overworked, constantly stressed, and like you're juggling too much can cause symptoms of mild depression to get worse, says Susan Bartell, a psychologist in private practice. So, take a day off to do something that feels rejuvenating. Head to your favorite spa, take a drive to a museum you've always wanted to check out, or take yourself out to lunch (these 15 just-for-you splurges are just what you need).

Social worker Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, adds that carving out even 20 minutes of self-care most days can go a long way. "Meditate, take a long shower or bath, or get your favorite meal delivered," says Hershenson. "Taking the time to do something nice for yourself can help you feel centered and calm, and put you in a better headspace." (See why taking a bath is SO worth it for your health fromPreventionPremium.)

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Jot down 10 things you're grateful for before bed

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When you're in a dark place, it's easy to focus on the negative things in your life—which just keeps you in that dark place. An antidote? Naming 10 things you feel really grateful for, says Hershenson. "It can be anything from getting to watch your favorite reality TV show to your amazing relationship with your mom," she says.

Make plans with friends

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Staying social with people who care about you—even if you don't really feel like leaving your house—can be a great way to prevent mild depression from getting worse, says Odessky. "If you stay isolated and hibernate, depression is more likely to win," she says. One caveat: get choosy when it comes to which friends you spend time with, Odessky adds. "Call the most optimistic, positive people in your life, because optimism and positivity are contagious."

Avoid screen time at night

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You probably already know staying up late to watch TV or scroll through your Facebook feed has a good chance of messing up your sleep (these 100 teeny tiny sleep strategies can seriously help your slumber). Turns out these common habits aren't doing anything to help your mood, either: According to a Johns Hopkins study, exposure to bright light at night from TVs, computers, tablets, and even lamps increases your risk of suffering from depression. The researchers found chronic exposure to nighttime light elevates certain stress hormones in the body, which can result in depression.

Meditate

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Sticking to a meditation practice has a growing number of research-proven benefits, and easing psychological stress is one of them. According to one recent study in the journalJAMA Internal Medicine, practicing mindful meditation—which simply means breathing deeply and getting present in the moment rather than thinking about the past or future—can ease psychological stress.

Quit smoking

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Turns out smoking isn't just horrible for your health; it can put you in a bad mood, too. One study in theBritish Medical Journalfound that smokers who quit felt less depressed and had a more positive outlook on life than those who continued to light up. (Are you just bummed out...or depressed? Here's how to tell.)

Say "no" to those night caps

At the end of a less-than-stellar day, reaching for a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail can help you take the edge off. And while drinking alcohol can initially feel like it eases your symptoms of mild depression (or at least numbs you from them), it can actually make depression worse because of its depressant effects, says Rebecca Lee, RN, a registered nurse in New York City. (If you still need to sip something at night, these 5 bedtime beverages have the added bonus of helping you lose weight.)

Load your diet with fruit, veggies, and whole grains

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There's a scientific explanation why you're tempted to reach for pastries, bread, and other refined carbohydrates when you're feeling low: These foods boost production of serotonin, the "feel good" chemical your brain makes. And while it's OK to indulge every once in a while, here's good reason to follow that breakfast bagel with a big salad for lunch: According to one study published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet rich in fiber (think non-juice fruit and vegetables) and lactose (think grass-fed dairy products) was significantly associated with lower odds of experiencing depression, whereas refined grain consumption increased those odds.






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Date: 07.12.2018, 04:15 / Views: 94353