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I have no friends, nobody likes me, I’m not good enough, I feel alone in this world, what would people think if I was gone, maybe this world will be better without me, I have no purpose here. Sadness, remorse, guilt, shame, anger, hate, empty, alone—these are all the feelings that come to our heads and swallow us whole into what we feel like is the abyss of our current lives struggling with depression.
The thing with depression is about 20 percent of all teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood and only a few of those teens will seek out help. Depression is sometimes not visible to the naked eye but it is felt deep within the body and mind. Depression is treatable when taking medications like antidepressants along with attending groups that focus on CBT, or also known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. All that can be worked on as well as having a positive mindset, but what happens, what do you do when you still feel depressed?
I always say there are three things to remember when dealing with depression: first is physical exercise. Physical exercise will help improve the mood of a person that is depressed. Go for a walk, join the gym, or simply write out your own workout at home. It doesn’t have to be long but long enough to get up and get moving. The hippocampus in the brain, which regulates mood, has an increased nerve cell growth when the body is exercising which helps depression.
The second thing that I keep in mind is to keep a gratitude journal. Having a gratitude journal lets you look at things you write down every day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be extraordinary things but things that would make you think, "how would my life be if I didn’t have these things?"
Feeling depressed can make your life seem like there is nothing good anymore, nothing to be happy about. Writing out a gratitude list every day will help change your thought pattern into positive thinking while doing your own cognitive behavioral therapy at home! The last piece of advice that I can give when it comes to the topic of depression is reading out loud positive, encouraging, motivational affirmations.
You may think now why would I choose to be happy when I’m feeling down and depressed. "I choose to be happy!" is an affirmation you can use. You might think now why would I choose to smile when I’m feeling depressed. By choosing to allow yourself to smile when feeling down and depressed, you are choosing to be happy. By stating to yourself out loud that you are choosing to be happy, the thought of happiness will come into your mind. What do people do when they are happy? They smile.
Dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin—the feel good neurotransmitters—get released into the brain when you smile. The act of smiling benefits your health and happiness.
If you know someone who is struggling with depression or you yourself are struggling with depression keep in mind those three things: physical exercise, keep a gratitude journal, try to write down between five and ten things you’re grateful for that day or in that moment, and always read positive affirmations.
This may not fully cure depression right away but with your doctor’s support, proper medication, and following these three things mentioned you will find an improvement in your mood. Remember, smiling releases feel-good neurotransmitters, so if you happen to see someone feeling down or upset, a simple smile and hello could be all they need.