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The 8 Best Behavioral Methods to Manage Depression

Do you want to avoid using psychotropic medications to treat your depression symptoms? Here are some behavioral methods you can use to combat the symptoms.

  1. Exercise every day: The best behavioral thing you can do to manage the symptoms of depression is to exercise 20 minutes every day. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that combat depressed mood. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout. You just need to get your heart rate up. This can be accomplished by brisk walking, jogging, etc. You can start slowly (always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program) and build up to 20 minutes.
  2. Diet – Eating healthy is also important. Many people overeat or undereat when they are feeling down. Either way, it’s not good for you. Our bodies need food to keep energy levels up. Remembering the importance of good nutrition is key to managing the symptoms of depression. If you’re not sure what types of foods are good for you, make an appointment with a nutritionist or dietitian.
  3. Get plenty of sleep: Getting too much or not enough sleep can increase the symptoms of depression. If you have insomnia, try some relaxation exercises to help you fall asleep. If you sleep more than 8 hours a day, you are resting too much. Instead of staying in bed, get up and try to stay as close to your normal routine as possible. If you need to sleep during the day, limit yourself to a nap of one hour or less.
  4. Mediation: Meditation is an extremely healthy way to tune out your thinking and allow your body to heal and grow. If you have negative thoughts, this technique can give you a break.
  5. Thought Stopping – Turn off those negative thoughts! Every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, tell yourself to stop. Then see if you can challenge yourself to think more realistically about the situation.
  6. Don’t isolate yourself: One of the worst things you can do is shut yourself down and stay away from your supporters. Use those people with whom you are connected. Talk to them every day to remind yourself that you have people in your life who care.
  7. Keep a gratitude list – each day find one thing you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. It can be something simple like noticing a beautiful sunset. Write down one thing every day and start the next day by reading the entire list.
  8. Relax – There are many things you can do that release endorphins and make you feel good. Some examples include listening to uplifting music, watching a comedy, reading a book you love, and petting an animal. Anything that makes you feel happy normally can be a benefit when you’re feeling down.

If you practice the above techniques, you will notice that your symptoms begin to fade and you will feel better. Please note that if symptoms persist for more than two weeks or if you are having suicidal thoughts, you should contact a professional.

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