They say about 50% of our day is done out of habit. We are thinking the same thoughts, responding to life in the same way, and acting out the same routine day after day. But what if you realize that you want to do something different. If you’re a teen, for example, and you realize that you’re doing things the way your parents did them, you may want to do what you can to change them. You might want to learn about how to change the habits you’re in.
But more importantly, you might want to learn about habits that could be contributing to a depressed mood. This is especially important because depression can so easily go unnoticed, even to us! If your parents were depressed for most of your life, you might think that feeling the way you do is “normal”. Also, even if you notice yourself feeling depressed from time to time, you might not want to say anything because admitting depression might feel like admitting weakness.
However, there are some habits that you might have picked up in your family environment that could easily contribute to depression or at least a low mood. Some habits that seem familiar to you might not be serving your emotional and psychological well being. For instance, habits are not only repetitive actions we take in our day; they are also repetitive thoughts. And this can also be the foundation for depression and other psychological concerns. Let’s say, for example, that you notice that your father is frequently criticizing himself. He’s always saying things like, “Oh that was so stupid of me!” or “That’s horrible!” After awhile you might notice that you are also doing that. Your self-criticism is getting out of hand. You’re being judgmental and hard on yourself for no reason. When those types of habitual thoughts get out of hand they too can contribute to depression.
If you want to change the way you feel, take a look at the following habits and see if any of them are playing a role in your life. If they are, that’s good news! You can take action on changing them so that you can feel better.
No Exercise – It’s been shown in research that exercise can actually prevent depression. However, if you had parents who were the intellectual type, for example, or if exercise was simply not emphasized in your family, then perhaps you’ve gotten into a habit of no movement. In time, lack of movement can lead to lethargy, hopelessness, and depression.
Lack of a Vitamin Rich Diet – Vitamins like Omega-3 fats are like gold for the brain. It helps build brain tissue and prevent low moods. Find this vitamin in seafood or take fish oil supplements to make sure you’re feeding your growing brain what it needs.
Poor Sleeping Habits – Sleep habits can both contribute to depression but depression can also lead to sleeping poorly. It’s can be a catch-22 sort of situation. But if you notice that you already have a depressed mood, try to find a way to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Look for other ways to fall asleep and stay asleep so that you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep per day.
Eating Sugary Foods – Sugary foods and especially foods that are high in both sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to depression. They contribute to feeling high at first but then create a crash shortly thereafter. If you notice that these types of foods are a major part of your diet, perhaps making healthier food choices can contribute to a happier mood.
Going At It Alone – Attempting to ignore the fact you might not be in the best of moods won’t help feeling better. Plus, teens who feel depressed tend to isolate themselves, which can only make things worse by possibly feeling lonely. If you have someone that you can turn to – a parent, teacher, friend, or counselor – get the help you need from someone you trust.
The habits we formed, whether consciously or unconsciously, can contribute to how we are feeling day to day. Changing some of these habits can help feel better not only immediately but also over the long-term.