Feeling blue? Expert shares tips on beating depression

UAB mental health expert shares ways
to 'beat the blues'
We all experience 'down days' when we feel blue that we consider to be a normal part of life. But a mental health expert from University of Alabama says it's just as important to address having a bad day at work or a "bad week" as it is to treat any type of depression.

In order to 'beat the blues', start by paying attention to your feelings says Diane Tucker, Ph.D., professor of psychology. 

Feeling down is a form of depression that can affect our appetite and how well we sleep.

Tucker said in a press release:
“One of the first steps to feel better is to reach out to your network of good friends or social contacts. They can help provide a validation of the strongest parts of oneself.”
She adds that it's important to look at how we spend time nourishing ourselves. 

“When people feel down, they’re less likely to be doing things that help them feel centered and personally efficacious.” 

Other ways to stay happy and fend off the 'blues'

  • Find an enjoyable activity like gardening, painting or reading that provide personal satisfaction
  • Prepare a healthy meal for yourself
  • Exercise - (Tip: taking a stroll in nature has been shown to boost creativity)
  • Journal your feelings daily - focus on things that make you feel happy. 
Tucker says we tend to get "stuck" on things that make us unhappy. Keeping a journal can help move us away from that rut. 

"People are different in terms of biology and the way our brains work; some people are prone to depression, and others are prone to high blood pressure,” she said. “If it becomes a chronic problem, most cases can be helped by medication or psychotherapy."

Spending time with friends, sometimes forcing ourselves to exercise, making healthy food choices are all activities that can increase our self-worth and lift depression. Spending time with friends who can provide positive feedback also makes us feel less alone. 

Source: UAB News