3 Habits That May Be Keeping You Depressed

Depression is quite common, affecting around 10% of U.S. adults; that's just what's reported. The numbers might lead some to believe that because it's such a common ailment, it can't be that big a deal.

Struggling with depression is not simply an inconvenience; it can rule your life.

I've dealt with clinical depression since I was in high school. It was only a few years ago that I was finally able to take my power back. I realized that it was small actions I didn't even realize I was doing every day that kept me in the darkness. When I changed them, my whole world changed with it!

Here are three of the top offenders when it comes to your fight with depression, and how to stop doing them and empower yourself to win the battle, once and for all. Keep in mind that these are not the only ways to combat depression, as medication and talk therapy can be helpful as well.

1. Arguing for your depression

When you're struggling, it's easy to lose sight of how strong you truly are. You might catch yourself repeating things like, "I'm really struggling," or "I can't," or maybe even, "What's the point?"

While admitting your struggle is the first step to recovery, repeating these negative statements over and over again convinces your mind that they're true.

Instead of arguing for your darkness with negativity, try turning it around to remind you of your inner strength. Restructure your thoughts to empower yourself, not to give in to the darkness. Here are some examples:

  • Turn "I'm really struggling" into "I'm struggling now, but it's not all of who I am."
  • Turn "I can't" into "I can, but I choose not to."
  • Turn "What's the point?" into "I'm worth fighting for."

After acknowledging your struggle, move forward by focusing on what you can control in this moment, then take action. Taking action is a great way to raise self-efficacy, or prove to yourself that you can make changes in your life.

2. Rejecting love

When you're sinking, it's hard to trust that anyone could ever care about you. You feel worthless, powerless and hopeless. When your support system comes to your aid, you might doubt their motives to help you feel better.

Our trusted loved ones are our keys to a world outside of this darkness. Even if you don't believe their compliments, search for the truth within them or at least the love behind them.

If you doubt what friends or family say in their moments of consolation, consider this: the person in front of you cares enough to try to make you feel better. She is here, listening. She is trying to help you, and that means you matter to her. Don't devalue that truth.

3. Staying still

Depression can be overwhelming and cause you to freeze in place. The last thing you probably want to do is get out and move your body, but it's one of the best things you could do for yourself if you want to be free of this heaviness.

Exercise (especially outdoors) has been shown to alleviate stress and depression, raise feel-good hormones and even prevent future bouts of depression.

You don't have to do hour-long workouts to feel the benefits of movement. Just taking a walk outside or doing a yoga video at home might be effective enough to jolt you out of this hopelessness. If that leads to more movement, wonderful, but know that you only need to take one step at a time.

You are not stuck. You are not damaged. You are just walking through a dark spot in your life. The light will come again. Commit to yourself and the work it will take now, and you'll see it even sooner.

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