By Connie Limon
Depression is not a part of getting older. If you are one in the senior age groups and you are feeling more depressed today than yesterday and days before yesterday try to determine what it is that is causing your “down” feelings.
First of all, are you one that focuses on the flaws and failures of your life? If you sit and ponder about all the mistakes you have made thus far you could be suffering a bit from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can result in a “distorted self-image that can feed your depressed mood. In fact, as long as you have a low self concept of yourself you are going to feel down and depressed much of the time. This is probably not a clinical or serious bout of depression, but something you can work on daily to improve.
Most people feel bad about themselves from time to time. I truly do not think there is anyone who is on top of the mountain all the time. Your temporary feelings of low self-esteem may also be triggered by being treated poorly by someone else recently or in the past. Don’t let low self-esteem be your constant companion especially if it progresses to affecting your mood. There is no need for anyone to go through life feeling badly about their present or past life. Low self-esteem keeps you from enjoying life, and doing the things you truly want to do each day of your life.
Instead of sitting and thinking about your flaws and your failures try some tips to help you battle those feelings of low self-esteem.
Try making lists. Reread your lists often. Rewrite your list from time to time. If you have a journal, write your lists there. If you don’t, any kind of notebook or piece of paper will work.
Your list should include:
• At least 5 of your strengths
• At least 5 things you admire about yourself
• Five of the greatest achievements in your life so far
• At least 20 other accomplishments (can be as simple as learning to sew a button on a shirt) to as great as a Masters Degree in Business Management
• 10 ways you can “treat” or “reward” yourself that does not include food and does not cost you anything, such as a walk in a favorite park or wooded area, shopping just to be browsing around, or chatting with a favorite friend
• 10 things you can do to make yourself laugh
• 10 things you could do to help someone else
• As many things as you can think of that makes you feel good about yourself.
Read through your list frequently, re-write the list as needed.
Other things you can do to help elevate your down feelings is to prepare for major life changes such as retirement or moving from a home of many years. These types of changes sometimes bring discomfort. If you do a little planning ahead you can find ways to make the changes easier.
You can develop a hobby. Hobbies are excellent ways to help keep your mind and body active.
Stay in touch with your family.
Get physically active. Being active truly does help. Exercise can even help prevent depression and lift your mood if you are already depressed. There are many different kinds of ways you can get and stay active. Examples are:
• Walking outdoors, shopping malls or fitness centers
• Swimming (if you can swim, this is one activity that works out every muscle in your body).
Older people who are depressed can gain benefit from mild forms of exercise like walking and walking in shopping malls or fitness centers. Being physically fit and eating a balanced diet helps avoid physical illnesses that may lead to disability or depression.
If you are an older woman chances are you still spend a lot of time nurturing other people. This is truer for women than men even for the older women still working outside the home. A woman spends more time buying and giving the birthday cards in a family and friends circle. They are the ones who call the sick to help and support and do much of the work coordinating caring for members of their family and circle of friends. It seems our American culture depends and expects the woman to be self-sacrificing rather than self-nurturing. A woman who puts herself first is often seen as “selfish.”
If you are an older man, our culture has probably placed more emphasis on you getting ahead in this world. This oftentimes places a man distant from the “caring and nurturing” side of the equation.
What equals the above two is women are pressed to give to others and men are pushed toward the receiving end. This imbalance between the two genders creates sources of distress and depression for both. Actually men and women, of all ages, can benefit from learning to focus on themselves in healthy, rejuvenating ways.
If you experience more depression as you age, do not accept this as being just a normal part of getting older. It is not true at all. When depression is treated at any age, most people find positive thoughts gradually begin to replace the negative ones. Practice the few simple techniques as outlined in this article plus learn to do more self-nurturing. And by all means, if you are still feeling blue, seek out professional medical help.
*Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not meant to diagnose or treat any kind of a physical or mental problem. All physical and mental symptoms and problems should be addressed by a Medical Professional of your choice.
Source: National Institute of Health
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Author: Connie Limon. Please visit our Nutrition and Health Article Collection at nutritionandhealthhub.com
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