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Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
In 2008, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 1 million Australians were suffering with depression and another 2.3 million with anxiety. It is estimated that depression will be second to heart disease as the leading medical cause of death and disability within the next 20 years.
Depression associated disabilities cost the Australian economy around $15 billion (yes, billion) each year. Death from suicide accounts for more fatalities than all armed conflicts around the world or all road toll deaths. Quite alarming but often not reported.
What is the problem? Is life just getting to hard? We really need to start ‘smelling the roses’ at little more. Life is too short to waste one moment on over thinking.
Often the solution is found in changing one’s focus. While many external or lifestyle factors can help, the real solution lies in making a difference in the lives of others. There is nothing more exhilarating than saving another’s life, or even just making a difference. When one dares to venture outside the dark corridors of the black hole of depression to find ways to cure the depression, if only temporary there is often great relief.
Sometimes the solution is their lifestyle habits. Changing to a good dietary fats and controlled carbohydrate intake in the management of depression often brings good results.
With proactive concern for the needs of those suffering from the beast within, people can often pull through to a much freer life without that black beast knocking on the door. With some of these self-help strategies, you may find relief:
- Track your thoughts by writing them down. It’s a good way to express your feelings, and it can also help you understand the beast within.
- Learn relaxation. Go for a walk or meditate for reducing stress.
- Go easy on alcohol and drugs. If you’re using alcohol and drugs to cope, you could actually make your symptoms worse.
- Eat well and keep active. It can make a difference to your energy levels, and helps stimulate hormones (like endorphins) that help you feel better about yourself.
- Take some time out to do things you enjoy. When you’re feeling down it can make it really hard to get motivated to socialise and do things. You may even have to learn something new.
- Get back into nature. There’s research that shows that when you have contact with pets, plants, beach, gardens, parks etc., it reduces stress and boosts your mood.
- Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a family member or friend is a great opportunity for you to express how you’re feeling and what’s going on.
- Join a support group. It can be really helpful to talk to people who have gone through similar experiences.
- Set small goals. Don’t expect a ridiculous amount of yourself; but set yourself small goals and take things one step at a time.
- Develop a healthy sleep routine. Sleep has a huge effect on our physical and emotional health.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet. There is a huge number of benefits associated with exercise and a good diet.
If these strategies don’t find the relief you are seeking, then contact your doctor or mental health professional for treatment. Don’t hide in fear or shame because there is a better life waiting for you.