“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.” – Joyce Meyer
It’s very normal to feel stressed or upset sometimes. We all have days when we feel blue and upset about seemingly nonsensical things. However, if those feelings stick around and don’t go away, or interfere with your life significantly and hurt the people you love, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a very common condition, which is why its symptoms can sometimes be overlooked, leading those who suffer from it to not seek any treatment.
Dr. Myrna Weissman says, “Now, depression is a biological disorder. It’s not all in your head. But the triggers of depression, and whether you have an episode and when you have an episode or an onset are probably related to environmental factors. And those are loss of attachments and stress and loss in your life.”
With depression, it’s always very difficult to identify the root cause of what’s making us upset. That’s because it’s often the case that it’s not just a single factor contributing to our depressive feelings but several circumstances, ranging from past experiences to current stressful situations. Here are seven of depression’s most common causes and several tips on how to avoid them.
Here Are 7 Reasons Why People Get Depressed And How To Avoid It
1. Overthinking and stress
Naturally, stress is a part of everyone’s life, but depressed people have a tendency to go over and over stressful situations that they have experienced. Sometimes, trying to focus on the details of what’s made you stressed can actually cause you to relive the stressful situation again. That way, you can easily get trapped in a vicious loop.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Chronic stressful life situations can increase the risk of developing depression if you aren’t coping with the stress well. There’s also increasing evidence of links among poor coping, stress and physical illness.”
A good way to overcome this is through mindfulness and affirmative thinking. It’s never easy to just stop thinking about something, so it’s always better to try and replace the stressful thoughts with something more affirmative.
2. Thinking the worst will happen
That’s kind of the same as overthinking but the other way around – overthinking something that will happen in the future rather than a past situation. Focusing too much on things like whether your new boss will like you or whether your date will go well only causes more stress which leads to depressive thoughts. The best way to avoid this behavior is to busy yourself with everyday chores and avoid focusing on what’s to come. Keep yourself rooted in the present to stop thinking about the future.
3. Having money troubles
Being in debt is always a stressful situation to find yourself in, and the more you dwell on the money you’ve already lost, the more acutely you’ll feel your depression creeping in. Researchers have found out that it’s not the lack of money that can fuel your depression, it’s chronic debt and being constantly poor.
Researcher Dr. Thomas Richardson says, “People who are depressed may struggle to cope financially and get into debt, which then sends them deeper into depression.”
A good way to remediate this is to focus on controlling your spending and trying to find activities to enjoy that don’t involve money. That way you can reassess some of the good, free things in your life.
4. Focusing on body image
In a society where body image is everything, it’s no surprise that many women and men get overly obsessed with the way they look. This obsession can very easily turn into depression. Giving in to that feeling and pushing yourself to an unachievable standard can lead to serious illnesses, such as anorexia. One way to avoid this is to raise your own self-esteem. Spend some time in the mirror, looking at your own body and the features of your face. Give yourself a compliment on the things you like. That way, once you start accepting yourself, you will see that others also accept you just as you are.
5. Because of a relationship breakdown
Relationships are hard, and seeing them end can often be a root cause for depressive feelings. It’s difficult to see someone drift away from you, especially if you’ve been so close. It can even lead you to think that you’ll never be able to find love again, or that you aren’t worthy of it.
Professor Constance Ahrons, PhD, states, “The depressed person often feels responsible, but they feel like they can’t do anything about [their inertia].” The best way to handle this is to talk to the people you love. Your family and friends will always be there for you and besides, when you share your pain, you’ll instantly feel better.
6. Due to old age
Emotional well-being can suffer a lot with old age. As our bodies change, our brains struggle to keep up and the emotional intensity of our experiences can make us miss our younger days. That’s why it’s very common for depression to develop after the age of 50. A great way to resolve this is to focus on your achievements through your life. Think about your family, or your career, your education – focus on what you’ve gained rather than on what you’ve lost.
7. Could be because of grief
Grieving is a part of human nature; however, it is especially difficult when dealing with the loss of a loved one. If not handled correctly, grief can develop into a pattern for depression and even suicidal thoughts. The best way to ensure that is to talk to a specialist. Grief counselors help you come to terms with the concept of mortality and encourage you to grab life by the horns from now on. If you, or someone you know is grieving, make sure to seek help before it’s too late.
Mental health and mental illness are very much still stigmatized in our society. Especially when it comes to depression, many cases go undiagnosed and can sadly end tragically. That’s why it’s vital to address symptoms of depression if you notice them in one of your friends, family, or even yourself.
No matter how hard anyone tries, you have to try and help yourself first. Recognize these seven reasons for depression and reflect on your own experiences with one or more of these life events. We need more and more people to be open and honest about their mental health if we are to ever break that taboo.