Our teenage years can be a very confusing period in our lives. With so many changes going on in our bodies, such as mood swings and self-consciousness that we don’t understand it is unsurprising some teenagers feel depressed. The good news is that mild teenage depression is common, if not a rite of passage. Here are some pointers to help you guide your teen through depression.
Many GPs will respond to complaints of depression by prescribing one of many anti-depressants available on the market. While it is comforting to know that we can use drugs to fight depression if all else fails, these drugs do have side effects, so it is best to consider a variety of other options before deciding to medicate.
Meditation is a powerful tool for many in helping to manage stress and combat depression. Learning how to quiet the mind and find inner peace are not the domain of yogis and gurus only. There are many meditation groups around the country with all types of people attending to learn how to control their thoughts and to use them more positively. Alternatively, there are a number of books advising on meditative practice.
A Consistent Exercise Regime
Getting your heart racing for at least 20 minutes three times a week will ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Exercise also boosts the amount of serotonin in the brain, the chemical that combats depression. Exercise is also an effective form of stress relief and encourages team playing and sociability.
Yoga is also effective in combating depression. Yoga seeks to bridge the gap between body and mind so that there is a strong element of mindfulness in every posture held. This concentration moves the mind away from negative thought patterns and obsessions or compulsions. Over-thinking is a symptom of depression and regular yoga can help to train the mind to be nurturing rather than self-destructive.
Fresh Foods and a Healthy Diet
The cliché that you are what you eat is largely true. Feeding your body good food is nurturing. If you are feeling self-hatred or anxiety about yourself you are more prone to deny your body food or feed it junk. This will perpetuate the cycle of negative feelings that can lead to depression. This is another way to be proactive in combating depression and can be a very empowering act.
Cutting out stimulants that can incite anxiety such as nicotine and caffeine will also benefit those fighting depression. Teas, coffee and some soft drinks can contain large quantities of caffeine, so it is surprising how much you consume unconsciously, unaware that you are putting yourself into a fragile state of mind.
Keep a Diary
Encourage your teenager to keep a diary in which they can articulate their frustrations or analyse problems that they are having. By articulating our grievances we exorcise them from ourselves. A diary can also be a useful tool in identifying patterns of behaviour that make you depressed. By keeping a record of moods and what activities or experiences preceded them it is easier to identifying negative factors in life.
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