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Protecting Yourself From Depressive Episodes

By Stepy Kamei

If you've been diagnosed with clinical depression, you'll more than likely begin consulting with your healthcare providers about treatment plans that may help to improve your condition. It's reassuring to know that there are many options available to the millions of people who are diagnosed with this condition each year. One aspect of your treatment plan that's just as important -- if not more so -- than anything a doctor may prescribe you is the way you conduct yourself on a daily basis. Eliminating unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthy ones is incredibly beneficial to improving your mental health -- not to mention your physical health as well. Ease into a new routine consisting of keeping a positive attitude while taking care of your body and you may notice a decline in the severity of your symptoms related to depression. 

Find Reasons to Smile and Laugh

This may sound like unhelpful advice, but there is scientific evidence to back it up. When you're in the midst of a depressive episode, the last thing you're feeling is happy or humorous. You can change that by starting the physical act of laughter, and that can change your mood for the better. The act of smiling can actually physically change your brain chemistry to encourage the production of serotonin and dopamine -- the hormones responsible for inducing feelings of happiness. Over time, you may find it becomes easier to smile without trying so hard. 

Stay Physically Active and Keep Social Ties Strong

Depression lies. It tells you you'll be better off sitting inside all day, away from people. The truth is, your health will greatly benefit from moderate amounts of exercise and socialization. If you're not ready to hit the gym every morning, try going for a walk the next time you're feeling down. You may be surprised at how much it can lift your mood.

Do your best to make an effort to see friends and family regularly. You may feel like you won't be good company, but keeping an active social life will keep you from feeling too isolated and upset at yourself. Aim to get coffee at least once a week with a good friend.

Stick with a Routine

Many people with depression find that sticking to a stable routine can help them stay rooted in their goals. Writing down a list of goals for the day can help you find the motivation to complete them, so give it a try for a week to see how it helps you.

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