In this fast growing world where advancement and technological progress have reached its boom, sad to say, human life is getting crushed beneath various ailments. Depression is one of them. In India, 10% of the total population are depressed and day by day the percentage is increasing at an alarming rate. Surprisingly, some are aware of it while many others shrug off the thought when they come to realise it. As a result, many untoward incidents keep happening from time to time.
Depression, one of the deadliest disease today, is spreading like an epidemic taking its toll to about 350,000 people every year around the world. Researches conducted have proved that women (double than men)are the worst affected due to the continual hormonal changes in their body. Not only adults, children, teenagers and even old people are entangled by this deadliest disease.
So, now the question is- what is depression?
Psychologists define depression as the state of unhappiness caused due to lack of awareness about one’s own inner self. And doctors state headaches, disturbed sleep, lack of concentration and confidence, erratic mood swings, extreme fatigue to be some of the most common symptoms of depression.
But, then the question is- what causes depression?
Causes of depression– Though loss of loved ones, stress, past or recent incidents/trauma, health conditions (like suffering from heart problems or cancer), medicines or inherent genetic tendency are a few reasons for depression yet it cannot be denying the fact that man’s high expectations with too many desires have entangled him in the mesh of anxiety and depression-things that were quite unknown in the past.
Man today is highly ambitious. To be successful is the new mantra of life. He wants success. Success which is measured in terms of money. And in this craze of becoming successful, he turns into a machine running all the time chasing his dreams, thereby pushing away all the other things that are more important to keep him healthy and happy. He hardly finds any time for himself- to relax or freshen up his mind. He feels he would find satisfaction and happiness in attaining success. But he is unaware that true happiness lies elsewhere-where he finds peace and joy by fulfilling his wishes. Today’s man is much complicated- never satisfied with what he has. The more he gets, the more he wants. As a result, he remains dissatisfied and in this weird chase, happiness eludes from him and he becomes depressed.
Comparing with others-Often we compare ourselves with others. And in doing so, we set higher goals for ourselves. Hence, our expectations grow and we become so obsessed in attaining that goal that we push away all the other things that we like enjoying. Thus, in want of finding happiness and peace we get exhausted and become depressed.
Fear- By setting high expectations, a nagging feeling lurks in our heart. And that is-our fear of failure. The constant fear erodes us from beneath and we become depressed. Now to overcome depression we must know, what is fear?
As Swami Sukhabodhanandaji says, fear is nothing but a fantasized experience that appears real. And this experience, springs from our own thoughts. Whatever we think has its impact on us. Remember, when you think something negative, you connect it with something worse and then the worst until you feel totally drained sulking with a heavy heart. You feel totally lost and helpless and hence become depressed.
Effects of Depression (the killing effect)-Unlike in the past when depression was perhaps not heard of, today’s generation are the worst affected. Doctors say that high stress levels and depression for a prolonged time in a person could result in chronic illness and serious disorders. And sometimes it can be as fatal as taking their own lives. But whatever the causes and symptoms may be for depression and anxiety, the good news is that it is completely curable. Just one need to have the tenacity and determination to fight and overcome it. Let’s see how we can overcome depression.
Practice Mindfulness-A depressed mind tends to mull over all that is wrong and worries unnecessarily about all the negative possibilities that may emerge in the future. This negative thought cycle reinforces misery and is not helpful in managing to overcome depression. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and is a skill that needs to be practiced.
Listen to upbeat music-Music has always been a food for every soul. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve our mood.
Include Omega 3 Fatty acids in your diet-Research has shown that depressed people often lack a fatty acid known as EPA. Regular intake of it helps in alleviating symptoms like anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. Omega-3 fatty acids are also good in lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health. It can be found in walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish like salmon or tuna.
Forgive others-When we hold a grudge, we are the ones that feel the anger which in turn affects us. So find a way to forgive. And once you lighten the emotional load, you will improve your mood which will help you to overcome depression.
See a psychologist-Every ailment gets cured on visiting a doctor and following the medications prescribed by him/her. Depression, too, is a disease. Hence, it can also be treated easily when we see a psychologist. Not only we are benefitted by the drugs he/she prescribes but venting out our feelings or sharing our worries with them lightens our heart and we are shown the right track to set our foot on. So shun the thought that if you see a psychologist you will be looked down upon by your friends and colleagues. And remember, Deepika Padukone, the famous Bollywood actress had confessed herself that she too, suffered from anxiety and depression after her release of the blockbuster film, ”Happy New Year”. But, when she realised it she went to the doctor and set things right. And this had helped her to emerge as a stronger and more confident person. So if she being a stardom can confess and do it why not you. Remember, it’s never too late to take the first step.
Connect with friends-When we are depressed we try to isolate ourselves. We stop going out or socialise with others. And the result is, the situation aggravates. So do come out of the house, mingle with your friends and talk your heart out. This would lighten your heart and you feel happy and re-energised.
Exercise- Exercise, one of the most important things we shrug doing when we are depressed though, we all know that it is a good stress buster. So make it a routine to exercise at least once daily without fail. This would not only tone your muscles but also keep you distracted, eventually relaxing you a lot. Moreover, your appetite is increased and you sleep well.
Creating hobbies-When we are struck by depression we lose interest in doing those things we loved and enjoyed the most. The result is we feel morose. Hobbies that help vent out our feelings helps in soothing or comforting our heart and brain, too. It brings in happiness and satisfaction on seeing our own creation. So it’s rightly said, a person without a hobby is just like a boat without a rudder. Hence, create a hobby of your choice or just go back to your old ones and keep yourself busy with it. Hobbies can be of any kind like –reading or writing, stitching or cooking, painting or playing. Not only it keeps you busy keeping your unwanted thoughts at bay but, also elates you from within, as you do it from your heart enjoying it to the fullest.
Keeping pets-With their continuous activities, pets keep its master busy all the while. Their way of expressing love, gratitude and playfulness overwhelms every heart no matter how sad or angry the person might be. So, keeping pets (cats, dogs or any birds) would help in distracting a depressed person from his negative thoughts.
Yoga and meditation-The effects of yoga and meditation are plenty. It relaxes, refreshes, energises and rejuvenates our soul, mind and body. It is a good stress buster and helps in overcoming anxiety and depression a lot. Is it not the reason why the entire world observe July21 as the International Yoga Day?
Writing a diary/journal-Writing a journal helps you to let out your feelings which is very important for every person. You can write anything- things that have saddened you or hurt you. But be sure you do write the good things that happened with you too. Reflecting on the happier sides trigger your positivity and you think right. Moreover, it shifts your feeling from “I can’t” to “I CAN”.
Overcoming fear-As said earlier, fear is the deadliest demon that wrecks a strong heart and kills from within. So it has to be fought out. With patience and determination. We need to overcome fear. Remember at the end of every tunnel is light. We just have to be patient. But the question is, how do we fight fear?
Fear is nothing but a fantasised experience which appears to be real. Just as a negative thought gives birth to fear thereby sapping away all our energies eventually causing distress in our mind and body, a positive thought reflects positivity- hence energising one and giving inner strength resulting in happiness and more productivity. Even Rhonda Bryne in her book “The Secret” says men should always think positive, because our thoughts get reflected on us from the universe be it positive or negative. (She states this with Newton’s third law of motion). Moreover, thought leads to actions. So, let’s think positive always and drive away all the negative ones. What we have to do is just push away the negative thoughts as soon as they intrude in our mind replacing it with a positive one. Once we master this, positivity fills up and we overcome fear.
Keeping low expectations– An unhappy mind is always depressed. So to keep ourselves happy the first thing we need to do is to keep our expectations low. Where the whole world is trying to fight against depression, Denmark is the only country which has kept this deadliest disease at bay. Do you know how? Research showed, that the Danes are the happiest people on earth. And when asked what keeps them so happy? One of them says- “We don’t have desires to own a big house or a big car. We simply spend our entire money on socialising with others”. So friends, why not keep our expectations low and fill our heart with happiness and joy. For we have only one life, and we all know that the time spent is time lost. So let’s enjoy each moment by living it without wasting it with unwanted thoughts. Let’s uncomplicate our lives and live happily.
You are Unique-Every human being is different from the other- different face, eyes, thought, way of speaking and the way they feel. Have you ever thought why god has made us thus? Because for him everyone is special. Yes, each one of us are different and hence unique. So, don’t compare yourself with others in any matter. Just remind yourself that you are unique.
Hence friends, let’s uncomplicate our life and make it simple. Because the more we expect, the sadder we are. Let’s enjoy life and live in the present instead of pondering over past or future. Because past cannot be brought back and corrected and future cannot be predicted. So live only in the present moment. And remember if we are satisfied we are happy always. And are we not aware of the major beneficial side effects of happiness? Researchers prove that happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more and also are better citizens. So let’s promise to keep ourselves happy and root out depression before it gobbles up the entire humanity. Let’s join hands and fight it out. Remember, “A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bone” (Bible-Proverbs 17:22)