Finding your passion can help you to overcome depression. Passion fuels your soul and adds juice to your life. It gives you a sense of purpose and engages you in everyday life.
However, finding your passion when depressed can be an uphill task as depression often causes a loss of energy, motivation, and focus. Nevertheless, you can gradually pull yourself out of the rut with a bit of determination and support.
Below are tips to help you find your passion when feeling depressed.
Get Professional Help for the Depression
There has been an increase in proponents of self-treatment for depression. While it works for some people and in instances of mild depression, you may require professional help. A professional can help get better more efficiently.
Depression treatment is multidimensional and may involve different mental health specialists. In most cases, it involves psychotherapy to help you deal with negative thoughts, behaviors, perspectives, and feelings. You may also be put on drug therapy to help stabilize your brain chemistry and regulate your moods.
Treatment could also include working with a counselor or a social worker to help you make lifestyle changes that improve your symptoms of depression. Also, joining a support group may be beneficial. Some mental health professionals also recommend various alternative treatment methods (e.g., acupuncture, massage, Ayurveda diet, etc.) to complement your treatment plan.
Remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” cure for depression. What may have worked for someone else may not work for you. However, by working closely with a professional, they will be able to come up with a treatment plan suitable for you. And they can evaluate your response and adjust it accordingly. It may take some time to establish the right treatment plan, but you will get better eventually.
Find Joy in the Smallest Things
Depression causes your brain to function at a low frequency as it alters your brain chemistry. It particularly causes the hippocampus neurons to shrink. As a result, it inhibits optimal cognitive functioning, resulting in loss of memory and difficulty concentrating.
The shrunken hippocampus neurons also cause immense feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, sadness, and anxiety. In this state, the brain develops a self-perpetuating cycle of pessimism and focusing on the negative. It becomes difficult to control your moods and emotions. You also become more prone to stress and anxiety.
Endeavoring to find joy from moment to moment each day can drastically change your brain chemistry. It induces endorphins in the brain, causing a feel-good cycle. It also conditions the brain to be proactive about seeing the good in life.
At first, you may find it quite difficult to refocus your brain, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Focus on the small things and the most accessible feelings of joy.
For instance, the soft feel of your bedsheets on your body when you wake up or go to bed; the bright sun rays penetrating through your blinds or curtains into the house; the warmth of the sun on your skin; the smell of the coffee as it brews or food as it cooks; the sound of someone’s laughter; the sound of your air conditioner, etc.
Numerous research studies show that meditation and mindfulness can help to improve or alleviate various symptoms of depression and anxiety. Depression causes inflammation in the brain leading to a decline in neurotransmitters.
Consequently, it significantly reduces serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine hormone levels resulting in low energy and loss of interest. Inflammation also inhibits blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
Meditation helps restore the chemical balance in the brain and improve oxygen transmission. It trains the brain to better handle stress and anxiety by focusing on the present moment and going through life a present moment at a time. Instead of fighting the sadness and the dark thoughts or trying to eliminate them, meditation teaches you to sit with them and observe them.
Therefore, meditation is a crucial tool to help you find your passion when depressed. Incorporate it into your every day, preferably in the morning and the evening. Meditating first thing in the morning gives your brain a sense of direction and conditions it to be grounded. It enables you to get ahead of your thoughts and emotions. You tend to be calmer and more peaceful throughout the day when you meditate in the morning.
On the other hand, meditating in the evening before you go to bed allows you to release the stress and anxiety of the day. As a result, you sleep more restfully and wake up refreshed with renewed energy to handle the day.
Even meditating for just 5 minutes each day, in the morning and evening, can cause a significant improvement in your energy levels, mindset, moods, and emotions. You may find yourself having renewed energy to do some tasks each day.
As you get calmer and calmer, you may start to get an inkling or itch to do something you used to do or explore a new idea. Before you know it, you are fully immersed in something that brings you joy. It could be learning a new skill, a new relationship, a new hobby, etc.
Mindfulness meditation is the most recommendable type of meditation for depression. It requires you to focus on your breath and sensations, first as a way of reconnecting with yourself and secondly as an anchoring tool for your thoughts and emotions.
Find a short guided mindfulness meditation for depression on YouTube to get started. Remember, meditation is not a magic pill that will eradicate your depression with just a few sessions; rather, it is a tool to help you cope and overcome.
Do Something Out of the Box
Doing something out of your comfort zone can help you come out of depression and find your purpose. It forces you to muster the energy and focus on surviving the new conditions or circumstances.
It also breaks your thought pattern of dark thoughts and sadness as your mind is more focused on figuring things out or learning something new. It can also spark curiosity. Ultimately, it helps you re-establish your self-identity away from places and situations that could have caused you to be stressed.
When finding something out of the box, ensure that it has a level of challenge and newness without causing too much stress and anxiety. Some people opt to take a long vacation, do a solo trip to a place they have not been before, or sign up for a spiritual, yoga, or meditation retreat.
Others choose to relocate to give themselves a new beginning. Yet, others take up new jobs, volunteer in organizations whose work is in line with their interests, or fully immerse themselves in learning a new course.
One of the most common effects of depression is wanting to disconnect from people. You may feel that you do not have the energy for social engagements, or you may be emotionally and mentally exhausted from dealing with dark thoughts and heavy emotions.
Perhaps, you feel ashamed of your situation or guilty of not being as engaged as you would like in your relationships. Or, you feel like you are overburdening other people.
Leaning on your loved ones for support can help you cope better and beat depression. It can help maintain a healthy perspective of life and boost your mood.
Reaching out is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength. So, pick up your phone and call someone who cares for you and that you can trust. You could also do face-time or meet up with them.
Tell them about what you are going through – you will be surprised how simply having someone listen to you without judgment can help you make your struggles feel manageable. Also, try to keep up with a few social activities that resonate with you.
Find Ways to Support or Assist Others
Receiving support is nice, but offering another person support can benefit you. It helps to take your mind away from your issues and gives you the chance to make a difference in another person’s life.
Besides, hearing about what other people are struggling with and how they are dealing with it can help shift your perspective about your own challenges. It also improves your relationships.
Therefore, consider volunteering, engaging in community service, or meeting up with a friend facing challenges and listening to them. You will feel much better about yourself – like you have an impact on the world and other people’s lives.
Dial Down on Your Health
It is much harder to do this when depressed, yet it is pivotal for your recovery and engagement in life. Eat healthily, exercise, get enough sleep, and drink enough water.
Poor health habits can leave you feeling more tired, lethargic, and sad. On the other hand, eating healthily will supply your body with all the vital nutrients for optimal functioning and high energy levels.
You require a diet rich in various nutrients to support your body and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D are crucial in managing depression. Minimize sugar and refined carbs as they may feel good immediately after eating them, but they cause an energy crash within a few hours.
Exercising offers numerous benefits in fighting depression. It helps to get rid of toxins and improve circulation in the body. It also boosts endorphin and serotine production in the brain for better brain chemistry and improved mood and energy levels. Exercises with an aspect of progressive improvements, such as weightlifting, swimming, and running, give you focus and a sense of purpose as you work towards getting better.
Exercising also has a mindfulness element in that it forces you to focus on the activity at hand. This breaks the momentum of negative thoughts, even for a few minutes. Also, as you utilize your breath and notice sensations in your body during a specific exercise, you train your mind to handle stress better. Besides, you will be so tired that you fall asleep without any struggle at the end of the day.
So, purge your fridge and pantry of unhealthy foods and put in some fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Make yourself your favorite smoothie for breakfast, or substitute your pizza order with a salad. If you feel up to it, try out that healthy recipe you have been meaning to.
Sign up for a dance class in your neighborhood or take a walk around the block. You could also sign up at the gym and start weightlifting. Establish a morning routine that helps you set up for the day and a bedtime routine that enables you to wind down. Start with small manageable changes and stack-up positive habits over time.
Finding passion is not easy for most people. It is much harder when you are depressed. However, with deliberate effort and some support from professionals and loved ones, you can find your passion and beat depression.
Start by accepting where you are and then find ways to infuse joy in your life. Initially, it might be lingering in the feeling of the sun on your skin or getting out of bed and spreading it. Or, on some days, you may be energetic enough to go to the gym or make yourself a hearty, healthy meal.
Do what you can each day, and as your mood, energy levels, and interest begin to improve, you will be able to do more and explore more. Seek medical help for the depression, lean on your loved ones for support, and offer a helping hand.