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A lot of times, we find ourselves at our lowest, we feel things just can’t get better any longer. Then, we gather strength, snap out of it and start working towards making life worth living. Unfortunately, some never come out of it.

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Most of the things that make you more likely to get depression are things you can’t control, including your genes, chemicals in your brain, and your environment. Symptoms of depression include trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions, fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness, pessimism and hopelessness, irritability, persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings and suicidal thoughts or attempts. The following are points to note to prevent or avoid relapse into depression.

1. Get enough sleep
Getting plenty of high-quality sleep is necessary for both mental and physical health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with insomnia have a tenfold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well.

2. Exercise
Exercise is incredibly valuable, not only for general health, but for its mood-boosting effects, too. Exercise can help in the treatment and prevention of depression in several key ways such as increasing the body temperature to have a calming effect on the central nervous system, releasing chemicals like endorphins which can boost mood and reducing immune system chemicals that may worsen depression. You don’t need to run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise.

3. Regulate your blood sugar
Whether you’re battling depression or just trying to avoid the afternoon crash, balancing your blood sugar is key. Make sure to eat regular meals and snacks, including a good source of protein at every one.

4. Cut back on social media time
Research has shown that increased social media usage can cause or contribute to depression and low self-esteem. Social media can be addicting, and it’s a necessity to stay connected with family, friends, and even coworkers. Go to social media with a purpose and avoid logging on several times a day just for something to do.

5. Eat healthy fats
Researchers have found that eating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (like those found in salmon, trout and sardines) reduces symptoms of depression. Flax-seeds and walnuts are also great sources of omega-3s.

6. Find passion in life
Even if you’re eating healthy, getting enough sleep and doing your exercise, nothing will boost your mood like having a sense of purpose. Finding activities you enjoy that give you a sense of purpose is a surefire way to improve your mood and reduce your risk of depression.

7.  Build strong relationships
Having a strong support system and an active social life is important for our mental health. Make sure that you’re regularly connecting with friends and family, even when your lives are busy. Attending social events when you can and finding new hobbies that could help you meet new people can all help you build new relationships too.

8. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity can result in low self-esteem, especially once you start adding in the judgements and criticisms of other people. Additionally, adults with depression are more likely to be obese than those without it.

9. Reduce alcohol and drug use
The excessive use of alcohol and any drug use not only is associated with higher risks of depression, but also high risks of depression relapse. Limit alcohol intake, and eliminate any drug use as safely as possible.

10. Stop blaming yourself
If you’re prone to depression, you may mentally berate yourself for missteps, either real or imagined. You need to learn to accept what you can’t change and focus on changing what you can.

One can go from being just sad to being depressed if care is not taken. Whatsoever you may pass through in life, be optimistic. The truth is you always have a lifeline, you only need to reflect deeper to know what it is.

Life is totally worth living!

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