Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. The good news is, however, depression can be treated. While severe depression requires medication, mild depression can be managed with simple everyday activities that promote mental well-being.
Depression, which is the focus of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day 2017 on April 7, affects an estimated 5.8 per cent of Singapore’s population according to the Institute of Mental Health. It is twice as prevalent in women as in men and commonly begins in one’s 20s to 40s.
Depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Common symptoms include:
- Persistent sadness
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of guilt/worthlessness
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Lack of concentration
How you can overcome depression:
Hang out with family and friends. If you are depressed, the worst thing you can do is to be alone. Rather, you should spend time with friends and family, as this will keep you occupied and fulfil your need for social connection.
Develop hobbies. Listen to music, teach yourself to play an instrument, read or cook so as to focus your attention in the present moment. This is to prevent unproductive thoughts from spoiling your mood.
Spend time outdoors with nature. It’s amazing how quickly sunshine and greenery can change your perspective. Whether you choose to walk your dog, exercise outdoors, or simply soak in the sun, you will certainly benefit from being with nature.
Be grateful. Taking notice of even the smallest good aspects of your life – and feeling grateful for them – is a surefire way to lift your mood. You can start by keeping a gratitude journal and writing thank-you cards to the key people in your life.
Laugh and have fun. Fun and laughter can do wonders for your mental health. So if you’re feeling down, watch a comedy, play childish games and joke around with your friends.