Each issue, WebMD the Magazine's "Health Highlights" focuses on a national health theme for the month with expert tips, reader comments, and eye-catching factoids. October is Depression Awareness month. Follow these tips to stay at your peak!
When heart specialist John M. Kennedy, M.D., of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, stands at the scrub sink before an operation, he breathes deeply with seven-count exhales, visualizing how he wants the procedure to go. "Athletes use these techniques to perform under pressure, but we can all call on them in our regular lives," Dr. Kennedy says. It starts with knowing what kind of breathing works best for the challenge you're facing. Here's what the latest research shows.
If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 800-273-TALK.
3. Open up
The sooner you seek treatment -- talk therapy and/or medications -- the better your outlook.
4. Sleep better
Treat problems such as insomnia or sleep apnea to help ease symptoms.
5. Call in
Try therapy by phone when you can’t meet in person.
6. Eat well
A quality diet rich in veggies, fruits, whole grains, and fish may help fight depression.
7. Monitor your mood
Download the WhatsMyM3 app for iPhone and Android.
8. Find a resource
Visit WebMD’s Depression Center for comprehensive info and the latest news.
9. Walk away
Depression can cloud your judgment. Take a deep breath, and make big decisions when you start to feel better.
10. Watch out
Depression can return, so make sure you talk to your doctor if you begin to feel symptoms again.
Expert Tips on Depression
Tips from Robert Rowney, DO, psychiatrist, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland
"Reduce stress to help relieve depression. I make lists of the important things I need to do and then focus on one at a time. That keeps me from feeling overwhelmed."
"Socialize! Get out of the house and interact with people. That will reduce stress, expand your interests, relieve boredom, and sharpen your mind, all of which can counter depression."
Tips from Jennifer Payne, MD, director, Women’s Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and associate professor, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore
"Keep a mood calendar to track how you feel from day to day. This is especially helpful when you start a new medication, which may take weeks to become effective."
"Exercise boosts the mood. We know that from studies, and I see it in my patients who work out. An early walk gets you up and outdoors first thing."
Tips from Bryan Bruno, MD, acting chair of psychiatry, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City
"Exercise benefits people with depression, so do it regularly to keep your mood up. Cardio and light weightlifting especially get my patients going in the morning and improve their alertness and energy all day."
"Sound sleep will help counter depressive feelings. My best moods occur after I get a solid eight hours of sleep, and my patients report feeling better when they sleep well."
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