Habits That Are Inducing Depression
This article is not for individuals who are chemically depressed. People suffering from chemical depression do require medication, and the tips in this article could only be marginally helpful without proper treatment. As for individuals who are not chemically depressed, but do suffer from mild depression, it’s amazing how one small adjustment could improve things. While humans are all vastly different in their idiosyncrasies and preferences, there are a lot of things we all have in common. At our core, we all need the same things to feel a base level of happiness. These requirements pertain to diet, social interaction, sleep, relationships and much more. With regards to, for example, exactly how much social interaction or exercise one needs to feel well, there is a wide spectrum. But we all fall somewhere on that spectrum, and when we leave it, we can feel the effects. With that in mind, here are habits that can induce depression.
Eating too late in the day
Maybe it’s your way of cutting calories or finishing work faster, but you don’t eat anything until two, three, four pm…While skipping meals may mean you finish the day’s work an hour earlier, it could also mean you feel depressed all day. That’s not really worth it, is it? Your blood sugar levels are closely tied to your moods and you should keep them as stable as you want to keep your moods.
Remaining silent all day
If you work from home, or even from an office, you may be so invested in your tasks that you forget to speak to another human until one in the afternoon. But humans are social creatures. We get important chemical boosts by interacting with people. We don’t just get those from knowing someone is in the cubicle next door; we need to engage. Take five minutes to chat with someone in the coffee shop or break room before diving into your work. It could make a world of a difference in your mood.
You may start by comparing yourself to someone who is “behind you” in your industry, to make yourself feel better. But your brain will quickly turn that into comparing yourself to people who are far ahead of you. This can leave you with a feeling of hopelessness because you wonder, “How will I ever get there?” You don’t see or comprehend all the little steps that person took to get there—the steps that you can take too. All you see is what they have, and what you don’t have.
Too much coffee
Coffee may make you feel a bit better in the moment, but becoming reliant on it can mess up your body’s serotonin levels. Studies have found that when people who drink a lot of caffeine cut back on it, they experience a dip in serotonin that causes depression.
Over-prioritizing your work
In our guts, we all know that money and status does not make us happy. And yet, money and status are the things we keep striving for. As a result, our relationships tend to take a hit. We’re left with a little more money and a lot less joy. Don’t put too much stock in your career. Work on it, but when you get home to friends and family, put it away until tomorrow. Being present for those precious moments with the people you love is what keeps you sane. You won’t be glad tomorrow because you skipped dinner with your family to work tonight; you’ll just be sad you missed family time.
Are you a bit of a martyr? Do you have a hard time enjoying vacation because you think of all the people in the world who can’t have vacations? Do you struggle to enjoy a spa day because the massage oil company gives its proceeds to a non-profit and you start thinking about everyone in need? Cut. That. Out. You don’t help those people by refusing to enjoy yourself. You could, however, use this relaxation to refuel yourself and go out in the world to volunteer or help those in need. If anything, you’re doing the world a disservice by not relaxing for a moment.
Watching the news
I understand that it’s important to stay up to date with world news. It’s part of your responsibility as a human to be informed. But there is a difference between retrieving the facts and becoming a glutton for depressing news. Find a source you trust, get the facts, and ignore the shows where journalists yell at each other for hours about how the world will end.
Being too available
This may not be a popular opinion, but depressed people can be toxic. They don’t mean to be, but being around happy people can, in fact, make them more depressed. So they subconsciously, unintentionally, bring the whole group down to their level so they don’t feel so alone. Be wary of depressed people in your life. Be there for them, but create boundaries.
Checking your bank account
Has checking your bank account ever made you happy? Probably not. If the number is low, you become stressed out. If the number is high, you somehow find a way to tell yourself it should be higher. Or you become stressed out trying to figure out how you should invest that money. Set budgets that let you live a little, while putting aside money, and stick to them.
Looking too far into the future
Stop thinking about the tasks you need to do tomorrow, next week and next month. Stop thinking about the inevitable hardships that life will bring, like the loss of elderly relatives or the collapse of your company. Consider it a gift that that day is not today and know that, when those hard time come, only memories of better times will carry you through. So be present in these better times.
Looking into the past
You’ve probably done some things you aren’t proud of. Maybe your relationship with your family is good today, but there were some rather dark times that are hard to relive. So stop reliving them. You lived them then. You went through those emotions then. You did the work of feeling the pain then, so you could feel good now. Now let it go.
Being too independent
Everyone has dreams of silently working hard, off in a corner, having nobody notice them until—SURPRISE—they’re majorly successful or famous one day. But it doesn’t work that way. You need to ask for help. You need guidance from those who are ahead of you. Trying to do everything on your own will leave you feeling depressed and excluded. Furthermore, asking for help is a strength—not a weakness.
Asking for other’s opinions
While you should ask for help from people who are more informed and have more experience than you do, be wary of asking for people’s opinions. You probably ask for the opinion of people you shouldn’t too often. If someone doesn’t understand you, doesn’t know what you want and doesn’t share your values, don’t ask for her opinion.
Buying stuff you don’t need
If you started throwing away things that didn’t make you happy and only holding onto items that made you feel instant joy, you’d suddenly be standing in an empty home. Think about that. Now stop adding to your pile of stuff. You feel the joy of new shoes for an hour and the sting of less money for weeks.
Having nothing to look forward to
Living in the present is important, but having something good to look forward to is also important. It adds levity when the present is difficult or unpleasant. Consider it a top priority to always be planning something to look forward to. There should be at least three things on your calendar like that now, from trips to concerts to spa days.