Relaxation Techniques

Depression steals away perspective and it becomes difficult to view life objectively. Little irritants grow in magnitude, and big issues become overwhelming. Stress is a major factor in these responses. Research tells us that in most cases, the first two episodes of major depression are stress-induced. If the condition repeats itself a third and continuous times, the consensus indicates the cause may be genetic. Either way, to keep stress at bay while you recover, and to help ward off a reoccurrence, consider trying a few antidotes. You may find these simple activities bring relief now, and on-going pleasure when you've recovered.

Get outdoors.

This isn't about a daily dose of Vitamin D. Rather, fresh air, sunshine, singing birds, and blooming flowers conspire to produce peace and happiness. When weather permits, take a morning cup of tea or coffee outside. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Listen, watch, and appreciate the new day. Fill the birdbath or plant a pot of flowers. The world of nature waits outside your door, ready to dazzle and amaze you.

Move toward health.

Major depression causes hurt in the body, and pain in the spirit. So the idea of exercise may seem daunting or totally out of the question. However, studies show the smallest amount of physical activity can help in every aspect of recovery. Start small, and ask a friend to participate with you. It may be a short walk around the block, or a cruise around the mall. Promise yourself a reward when you get done, and bump up the bonus as the activity increases. Do it daily, make it enjoyable, and notice the benefits.

Enjoy good scents.

Fragrances trigger happy memories and persuade the mind to relax. Lavender, for one, is well known for its therapeutic properties. You may have others as personal favorites. Find a scented candle you enjoy, a bed linen spray to spritz your pillow, or a spicy carnation to grace your nightstand. The art of aromatherapy can be personalized to your preferences – and has the ability to change the atmosphere surrounding you.

Feed your body.

A well-nourished body fuels the spirit in the fight for recovery. When your appetite is missing, try to eat small amounts of nutritious foods more often rather than skipping a meal, or looking to junk food. Include citrus, leafy greens, eggs, beans, bananas, and whole grains for energy-boosting properties. It's an old adage, but true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you start out nourished, the slump of a hungry body is less likely to occur. Watch sugar intake, baked goods, and pastas (refined carbs), as they can cause an energy spike and slump. When possible, dine with company. Easy-going conversation during mealtime makes everything taste better. Choose a light topic; no stressful discussions allowed at mealtime.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Well, maybe not the best. However, a giggle or grin can dramatically alter the day's complexion. Granted, sometimes it may not be on your radar screen. But think about renting the funniest movie you've ever seen. Skip the ones with a heavy plot. Think mindless and amusing. Laugh at simple things (humor at someone else's expense is not allowed). For easy entertainment, feed the squirrels and watch their antics. Check out Johnny Carson reruns on YouTube. Look for the humor in everyday life. Allow yourself a minute to snicker, smile, chuckle, and eventually, laugh.