According to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the year 2020, depression will be the number two cause of "lost years of healthy life" worldwide. However, the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
While it is arguable that depression is not always preventable, there are many cases, when using the following ideas, will keep you in good spirits - most of the time. Unfortunately, we cannot be happy all of the time, but there is something we can do about it.
Working with a variety of clients over the years, I have seen how Yoga and exercise changed, and continue to change, them for the better. It is a well-known fact that endorphins are produced from a variety of exercise routines, including gentle Hatha Yoga.
Endorphins reduce stress and enhance good moods. Just that information alone is enough to start an exercise program, but weight control, muscle-tone, circulation, flexibility and a variety of other health benefits, should be an incentive to start a mild exercise program.
If you have been inactive, I suggest a beginner Yoga class with a very mild-mannered Yoga teacher. Without pushing this any further, let’s look at other options to start, and things to avoid.
Participate in social activities, support groups, senior centers, or local church activities. The activities could be in your local mosque, temple, or shrine, as well. There is always an activity that you can find around any religious center.
You could also join a league for golf, tennis, fishing, bowling, bocce, or any other activity where people gather to share a few laughs. Take competition in stride, and don’t take anything too serious.
Many social groups also function as support groups. The collective activity is good for all involved. Stay away from “alcohol drinking” clubs. This is not just bars, or nightclubs, but local clubs, who organize for the common good, and then, routinely get together to drink.
There is a conflict here, in that alcohol is a depressant, and if you are prone to depression, this is not a good combination. On top of that, there are plenty of health problems that accompany alcohol abuse.
Substance abuse is not a solution to depression, and you won’t find a purpose in life through it. So, let’s keep it simple and stay away from drinking alcohol - altogether.
If your friends and family abuse alcohol, they need counseling, and you will have to look outside your normal circles to get guidance. You need to surround yourself with positive and energetic people.
Also, don’t hang around your house too much, especially in dark or unlit areas. Get outside, take a walk, go shopping, get a little sunlight, and if you are in the house all day, open the curtains during daylight hours. If you have a sunroom to relax in - that’s good, too. Lack of sunlight can cause elevated levels of melatonin, which is sometimes called the “sleep hormone.”
Lastly, visit the self-improvement section of your local bookstore. It is a hidden treasure within itself. This is a great reason to leave the house.
Audio books are also good for traveling in your car or listening to in your sunroom. Pick out books that really captivate your imagination. If your local bookstore has CD’s, you may want to pick up some relaxing music for your ride home.
Paul Jerard, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? - for Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher.