A Guide to Help You Reduce Depression Symptoms
As a TMS therapy technician and patient advocate, I have had the privilege of treating and getting to know many wonderful people who struggle with depression. Although I am not a medical doctor and do not suffer from depression, I recognize that each person is different and sometimes what works for one, might not work for another.
My hope is this blog will help a few of the nearly 18 million people in America, and the over 500,000 in the Bay Area, who experience the debilitating effects of depression. I have seen first-hand how depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, lowers self-esteem, and causes isolation, which complicates relationships, performance at work, and can affect or lead to other ailments. I have also seen that building positive altering behaviors can decrease depression symptoms when combined with proper self-care, along with professional help. I have developed this guide through research, education from our medical colleagues at Bay TMS and my personal career and private life. I encourage you to consider identifying one or a few of the following to help make a difference in your life.
Reach Out for Professional Help
If you struggle with depression, you are not alone. Make an appointment with either your primary care physician, therapist, or psychiatrist. Keep in mind that there are healthcare professionals that want to help you. They draw from their areas of expertise and personal experiences. That means if one professional is not meeting your needs, there’s another who is a better fit. Keep trying.
Form a Team of Supporters
It is important to have a team of people who you feel comfortable with and who you can trust during the hard times. Feedback, advice, or even a listening ear can help you make the best decisions in your recovery from depression. This includes healthcare professionals, support groups, friends and family members.
Keep a List of Memories and Visions That Makes You Smile and Laugh
What are some things you can look back on or pull up that will instantly make you smile or laugh? It’s easy to feel sad in certain situations and sometimes you just need a “pick-me-up” to improve your mood. These might include a friend you can call, a compilation of funny animal videos, pictures from a fun vacation, a playlist of your favorite songs or an inspirational quote.
Allow Yourself to Vent
In most (though not all) situations it’s better for you to discharge negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside. If you do not want to call or talk to anyone at that moment, try writing your thoughts down. This can help reduce stress, clarify your thoughts and feelings, and solve problems more effectively.
Think About What Went Well
Think of three positive moments in your day, and even replay them in your mind. Mentally revisiting these moments will help bring back the good mood and feelings they initially created.
Get out and be active. Exercising helps release feel-good chemicals such as endorphins into your brain and help lift up your mood. It is a way to clear your mind from negative thoughts while improving your overall stamina and health. The right exercise can even be fun. Build exercising into your routine! Refer to our “Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail- and What to Do to Be Successful” blog for useful tips and information for a successful New Year’s resolution.
Lend a Hand and Get Involved
Volunteering can help boost self-confidence and provides a sense of pride and identity. Interacting with the community and doing good for others can help with relationships because it increases empathy, which makes you appreciate the good in your own life. Look for ways you can make a difference and that will make a positive impact in your life and the life around you.
Do Things That You Enjoy
Do something fun or creative that you enjoy. There are many things that happen every day that can cause you to feel ill, uncomfortable, upset, anxious, or irritated. You will want to do things to help yourself feel better, like drawing, gardening, playing music, reciting or writing poetry, crafting, reading a book, playing a game, completing a puzzle, or reading inspirational material.
Keep Calm and Be Patient
Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Giving yourself positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and help you focus on achieving your goal. Practicing patience can help increase your ability to remain calm and cool in stressful situations.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Let yourself be lifted by people who will make a positive impact in your life. Think about the people you know who could be positive influences and spend more time with those people who will improve your happiness and lead you to greater success.
Be Present - In the Moment
This is called mindfulness. We often focus on the future or the past and risk missing out on fully experiencing what is going on in the present. Making a conscious effort to focus your attention on what you are doing right now and what is happening around you can help you feel better. Be in nature. Listen to the drip of the rain. Feel your feet on the ground as you take a step. Look at the sky when it’s filled with stars. Breathe.
Explore Your Options
Exhaust your options! If medications, therapy, and other common services and support don’t seem to work, look into other options such as TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).
Please take a moment to check off the ideas that appeal to you and give each of them a try. Make a list of the ones you find to be most useful, along with those you have successfully used in the past, and hang the list in a prominent place as a reminder—like on your refrigerator door or on your bathroom mirror.
About Bay TMS
We believe in providing excellent, state-of-the-art, individualized mental health care with a focus on attention to detail and your well-being. We pride ourselves in our outstanding commitment to ensuring that you have a meaningful connection with your TMS doctor and technician throughout the duration of your treatment. After your initial evaluation with your TMS doctor, you will meet with him or her every week and we will send updates to your regular doctor and psychotherapist to keep them informed about your treatment progress. In addition, we encourage you to remain actively engaged with your technician throughout each treatment session. Scientific evidence suggests that these interactions may help to alleviate depression by simultaneously activating other important brain systems.
Call our offices for more information or to schedule an appointment: 510-809-1599