Why Am I So Sad All the Time?
Depression is defined as an ongoing feeling of sadness that often includes feelings of hopelessness and gloom. It is estimated that about 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression and must attempt to deal with the everyday challenges of life when all they want to do is hide from life in their own little world.
Many people turn to antidepressants to get through each day, but did you know that medication is not the long-term answer for ongoing sadness? You can climb out of that dark hole of depression and find that happy place you once enjoyed. It all starts by making changes in how you deal with negative emotions and how you react to the ups and downs that life inevitably throws at everyone.
What Causes Depression?
Depression has no single obvious cause, but it often occurs as the result of one or more disturbing or life-altering events in your life. Some people become depressed after losing a job, the death of a loved one, developing a major illness, or even passing one stage in life to another. These events become the catalyst for depression when you do not have the skills needed to successfully cope when life lets you down.
How you choose to react to any situation does affect your mood. You are in charge of your emotions — no one else! If you’re feeling down all the time, it’s because you choose to harbor negativity.
You Can Beat Depression
To climb out of the dark hole of depression, you must learn to have control over your emotions instead of allowing others to control how you feel about yourself and your life.
Start making small goals and follow a few tips to help you overcome the negativity inside you. Even seemingly trivial things can make a huge difference when it comes to depression. Here are a couple tips for beating the blues:
- Supportive Relationships: Spend time with family and friends that make you feel loved and cared for. These people in your life can’t “fix” you, but they can listen to your concerns and be the strong emotional connection you need to get through your dark hours.
- Keep Moving: Once you’ve fallen into the trap of depression, you may find it difficult to even get out of bed in the mornings. One way to help boost your mood and increase your brain’s natural antidepressants, which are neurotransmitters and endorphins, is through physical exercise. Just 30 minutes each day of walking, bicycling, dancing, or any other activity you enjoy can be as effective as antidepressant medications.
Combating Negative Thinking
If you are filled with negative thoughts and internal dialogue, it not only drags you into despair, but also holds you hostage there. Learning to challenge negativity with positive thoughts helps you react differently to what life throws your way, so that you are able to see the light even in dim situations.
Negative thoughts and internal dialogue often lead to anxiety, depression, or both. This negativity affects how you see your life and your reactions. It’s not as easy as just thinking positive thoughts, however. It takes practice to unlearn the negative thinking to which you have become accustomed.
You have to start replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones. Don’t let other people’s opinions dictate how you see yourself and your situation. Ask yourself if your negativity is based upon what you think of yourself or what someone else thinks of you. Then replace those negative thoughts with your more positive thoughts.
Perfectionism is often the root of negativity. No one is perfect, so allow yourself to be less than perfect and accept that you make mistakes. Instead of feeling like a loser when things go wrong, remind yourself that you had courage to try and learn from the experience.
There are many types of negative thinking that lead to sad feelings:
- Anything short of success equals failure — no gray area
- Focusing on only the negative and ignoring positive — everyone has both success and failures
- Caring too much about validation from others — you are good enough and no one else has the right to judge you or your life
- Canceling positives with negatives — you jump to conclusions about others’ motives. Example: My boss said I did a good job, but he was probably just being nice.
You can beat depression. The key is to start small and remember change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, but with daily practice, you can do it.