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exercise for depressionWe keep hearing about depression and how it is becoming more common.  More and more adults and young people are struggling with depression.  Our world is becoming more challenging and demanding and for some, this can result in episodes of feeling really low and down.

Our press is full of statistics that show how depression is on the rise.  Your GP might give you a formal diagnosis that you are currently experiencing a depressive episode.  But there is no need at all to think that depression is something that you have to live with forever.  For many, it is an short episode that is clearly linked to current circumstances.  When those circumstances change, the depression can often lift on its own.

Depression does not need to hang around

But for others depression can linger.  It does not have to hang around forever.  It can be lifted and there is plenty of evidence that suggests it can be temporary if treated properly.  There is research suggesting that anti-depressants can help but that their benefits do not always last or prevent the depression from returning.  They can be really useful in stabilising the mood so that other treatments can kick in.

Depression is a condition that makes us look inward.  We ruminate and can often think ourselves into a seemingly bottomless pit. We often become isolated.  We don’t sleep properly and that means we have even less energy and motivation to face the world. A good therapist can explain the cycle and help you break it.

What can you do?

But one of the easiest self help tools we have is exercise.  The latest research shows that exercise is one of the best cures for depression.  Especially if you can do it outside and with others.  But in our long and miserable winter, a trip to the gym would be perfect.  If you can muster up the strength to join a class, even better.  Not only are you exercising, but you are also engaging with others.  Feeling connected to others is one of our emotional needs.  Exercising with others will go a long way to get this need met.  Being around others and talking to them is a start to breaking the internal monologue that so many clients struggling with depression live with.

A word on anti-depressants:

I am not a medic or a psychiatrist and would never tell someone not to take them.  But the questions I always suggest my clients to ask their GP or psychiatrist are:

  • How long am I going to be on these for?
  • What are the possible side-effects?
  • When will we know it is time to come off them?
  • What is the plan for coming off them?