This week, some of my tips for recognizing the hardly recognized mild depression showed up in Bustle article, "15 Daily Habits You Didn’t Realize Can Be Signs of Mild Depression, Because Symptoms Can Be Subtle." Be sure to check it out so you can catch the early signs of mild depression before it snowballs into something more serious.
So after reading that article, you're well-versed in the little signs of mild depression. What if you recognize some of them in your own life?
The following are 3 of my top tips that are often overlooked in managing mild depression and preventing it from getting worse.
3. Move your body.
Ok, fine, this one we ALL know about, but it's one of the hardest things to do. When you're feeling down, getting your body to move is like jumping over hurdles in a marathon.
More movement also means you're breathing in more oxygen and your blood is flowing, which then means your body and brain are being fed vital nutrients that keep your mind, body, and soul happy. One such nutrient is endorphins, which get released with movement - they are our body's natural "happy hormones."
Endorphins improve mood, cognition, memory, and physical health. Even if it's just a walk down the hall to the bathroom at work or reaching your arms up overhead to stretch during the day, these little movements can help boost your mood.
2. Seek out social support.
Another one of the last things we want to do when we're feeling out of sorts or down is to go hang out with people. Many of us tend to hide at home or turn inwards when we're not feeling so good, but it's the last thing we want to do.
According to Shawn Achor's "The Happiness Advantage," "social support is a far greater predictor of happiness than anything else." Having people to lean on, talk to, ask for support from means that we get to multiply our own emotional, intellectual and physical resources. When you are not feeling at your top potential, it's the best time to reach out to your support system for those extra resources.
For those who feel like they have no "friends," even just going to the downstairs coffee shop and having a little "How are you?" chat with the barista can begin to boost mood. When we make a positive social connection, another hormone called oxytocin is released into our bloodstream, which immediately reduces anxiety and improves concentration and focus.
1. Human touch is one of the most overlooked tips.
Having people is great, but having someone touch you is one of the big mood medicines that are super overlooked. When was the last time you gave or received a hug?
According to a Stanford University report, "several studies are showing significant benefits in wound healing, pain and anxiety." It's been shown to lower blood pressure, can reduce heart rate, releases oxytocins, and reduces stress.
How can you incorporate more touch into your life?