‘What can I do to help manage my depression on a practical level,’ some may wonder. If you can find an exercise that you enjoy, it can help boost your mood and according to a Mayo Clinic Staff, exercise “has many psychological and emotional benefits.” The Mayo Clinic further notes exercises can help you:
- Gain confidence – Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Take your mind off worries – Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Get more social interaction – Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way – Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
For people like Garry Jones, along with his prescribed medications, he’s started to enjoy things he’s only dreamed about such as skydiving. Skydiving may not be for everyone but I’m certain there are things we can think of that we’ve only dreamed of doing. Though it’s a struggle to get out of bed at times, Jones makes it a point to exercise regularly for his physical and mental health. As he reflected on this topic Jones spoke of the importance of “taking medication as prescribed by doctors.” He’s also spoke on a panel on the topic of depression along with Terrie Williams (his mentor) at the National Book Club Conference held in Atlanta, GA. Terri Williams authored, Black Pain: It just looks like we’re not hurting.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2011) An Estimated 1 in 10 U.S. Adults Report Depression. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsDepression/
Diamond, Jed, (1998), Male Menopause. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Male-Menopause-Jed-Diamond/dp/1570713979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336601609&sr=8-1
Mayo Clinic Staff; (2010). Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-exercise/MH00043
National Institute of Mental Health. Women and depression: discovering hope. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health; (2009). Retrieved from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/women-and-depression-discovering-hope/complete-index.shtml
Smith, Melinda, M.A., and Jaffe, Jaelline, Ph.D. (2012), Depression in Women Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_women.htm
Watkins, Boyce (2009), Terrie Williams on “Black Pain” and Depression, Retrieved from: http://www.bvblackspin.com/2009/07/31/terrie-williams-black-pain-depression/