Everyone feels a bit down now and then, especially when things are going wrong. Feeling miserable is a normal response to losing a loved one, a relationship or a job, for instance. But if these feelings persist for long periods of time, are particularly intense or don’t seem to have an obvious cause, they may indicate that you have depression.
Depression is my fourth largest client group (behind fatigue, pain and anxiety, though many people have all four). I see clients across the whole spectrum from feeling a bit flat to feeling suicidal, and I have seen some excellent results.
Depression symptoms to watch out for are:
- constantly feeling down or hopeless
- having little interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy
- irritability or restlessness
- feeling tired all the time
- feelings of emptiness or loneliness
- no longer interested in favourite activities
- sleep problems – too much, or too little
- weight loss or gain
- low self-esteem
- problems with concentration
- reduced sex drive
- thinking about death a lot
If you recognise any or all of these signs, you should take action sooner rather than later. Depression is far easier to deal with before it gets serious.
How can Empower Therapies help?
I offer a course called The Switch which provides you with knowledge about how your mind and body work, which thinking and behaviour patterns you are doing that are exacerbating your low mood, which situations from your past might be causing your current depression feelings and which aspects of your lifestyle need to be changed to improve your wellbeing. For each of these categories, you learn techniques that you can use yourself to fix these patterns. I do not fix anybody – I teach you how to fix yourself. I have seen fantastic results for many people who had spent many years on anti-depressant medication and still felt miserable most of the time.
For more information about how The Switch could help you, as well as to actually apply, click The Switch.
How can you help yourself?
There are many simple changes that you can make straight away that can start shifting your depression:
In a fascinating study of 30 people diagnosed with clinical depression, 29 of them resolved their depression in just one month by doing just three things:
- Watch comedy for 30 minutes per day
- Exercise for 30 minutes per day
- Stick post-it notes all around their house and whenever they walked past one, they had to recall a happy memory from their life
While I realise this sounds too simple to be true, it has good science behind it. Laughing and exercise are both proven to change your brain chemistry. Recalling happy memories rewires your neural pathways into healthier patterns. It all makes sense why this very simple change can be very powerful.
People who are depressed slump forwards, look down a lot and talk with a flat voice. If you make an effort to straighten your shoulders, look up and talk with enthusiasm, you can also dramatically change your mood.
If these very simple interventions are not enough for you, that’s OK. We have lots of far more comprehensive options available at Empower Therapies that give you a wider range of knowledge and tools to make bigger transformations.
Did You Know…
- Mood disorders are experienced by 8% of New Zealanders (Mental Health Foundation, NZ)
- FDA (US govt) warns of possible dangers of antidepressants and serious side effects
- Many studies show that antidepressants only have about a 5% margin on placebo
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that by 2020, depression will be the second biggest health problem world-wide, behind heart disease