The Cleveland Clinic has this list of 7 Secrets to Happiness.
Happiness is a transitory state usually resulting from accomplishments, unexpected gifts and "happy" events, once in a lifetime occurrences. Rather than seeking happiness pursue joy. There are small moments within each day that can lift your heart, such as, the glimpse of a loved one, the memory of past joys, a budding flower, a kind interaction. To use an over-used word, mindfulness can put you in touch with the tiny joys which present themselves through your surroundings; the beauty of nature, a well-done exercise routine, a hot shower, the aroma of fresh baking, favorite music, a delicious meal and connections with other people. The list is endless if you pay closer attention to your senses; the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches within easy reach. Becoming more conscious of the tiny joys around can habituate you to perceiving things differently, to gathering the pleasantries within even the grayest day and lead to a steady state of contentment. Then you don't have to wait for the happy events to come along. You have many joys whenever you tune into your senses to experience the present. Here are some easy steps to help focus on the joys around you.
The Cleveland Clinic has this list of 7 Secrets to Happiness.
Sadness that won’t go away, episodes of crying, dwelling on bad feelings. All of those familiar mood-disorder symptoms are common in women with depression — but not so much in men.
“When men are depressed, they may be less likely to express sadness and more likely to express anger, irritability and aggression,” says clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD.
Other signs of depression in men can include:
Men and women also may share some basic depressive symptoms, like low energy, poor concentration and lost interest in activities they used to enjoy says.
Not all drops in mood are depression. Common sadness or irritability is usually temporary and triggered by something specific. Depression may have no clear trigger. And symptoms seem to take over your life (emotionally and physically), for two weeks or longer.
The effect on a man’s body
The thing about a mood disorder is that it’s not just an emotional problem. It can have physical effects too.
In women, depression can present as panic attacks or eating problems. Men, however, are more likely to complain of headaches, digestive problems or other physical aches and pains, says. They may have trouble sleeping or eating — or sleep or eat too much.
They also may have decreased sex drive and trouble performing in the bedroom.
It’s often easier for men to see a doctor for their physical issues than emotional ones. They may be less willing than women to talk about emotional issues or less likely to realize their physical symptoms are depression.
How to treat male depression
Men who may be depressed should start by seeing their primary care provider, who can rule out other health conditions and discuss ways to treat depression. Usually depression is treated with psychotherapy, medication or both.
Therapy can help patients uncover and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that could be contributing to depression. Sometimes it includes finding new ways of dealing with interpersonal conflict or other problems.
Antidepressants treat depression well, but can take several weeks to work fully. Symptoms may lift slowly and gradually.
There are dozens of safe and effective antidepressants available, but they don’t work the same in everyone. It may take more than one try for you and your doctor to find the right antidepressant for you.
What to do if a man is depressed
Many men won’t seek medical care for depression on their own. They may need encouragement from family or friends who’ve noticed a change in their ability to work, interact with others or function in everyday life.
If you think the man in your life may be depressed, here’s how you can help:
For most of us, asking for help can often be difficult. Yes, asking for advice on planting a garden is easy. But for a serious issue, such as your mental health, you may find that you don't want to admit to the problems you're facing.
It's not hard to understand why you may be reluctant. Admitting that you're struggling or feeling overwhelmed is like admitting you're weak or inadequate. Many of us learned as children that it's important to be independent, strong and self-sufficient. That background makes it difficult to tell someone else that you're really not okay.
The result is that people often decide to just try and do the best they can by themselves. In some cases things might just turn out fine, though there are no guarantees. But going it alone could involve considerable amounts of stress and anxiety, and may even lead to bigger and more serious problems.
Another common option is to turn to family or friends. This can be a good idea if those you trust with your problems and fears are truly understanding and are able to offer meaningful support and help. Sometimes they can, but often times they just can't be objective enough.
If you're facing a difficult time or situation, something that's causing depression, high stress and anxiety, and is making it difficult or impossible for you to enjoy life, it may be time to seek out professional help. Doing so can be a difficult choice, since it means asking for help from a stranger, and usually will involve a fee.
However, realize that a professional counselor is someone who has gone through extensive training and has many tools to help those feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to go on. Despite the way it's often portrayed on TV, counseling is not something just for "crazy" people. Most counseling assists perfectly normal people who are simply facing issues and problems that are negatively affecting their lives. There are no reasons to suffer emotional pain when licensed, professional counselors are available, willing and competent to help.
There are many ways to find a counselor. You can ask a friend, your doctor or dentist, teacher or someone you respect to give you a referral. Many communities have counseling centers. If there is a resource at your job you can ask about the Employee Assistance Program. You can find a counselor by simply Googling "Find a Counselor". There are many referral sites that you can search geographically and by topic, e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, marital conflict, parenting.
Asking for help is never a sign of weakness but rather of the strength to recognize when your problems are real and that you need help to do something about them.
Here are some reasons NOT to ignore your Mental Health from the Cleveland Clinic as well as some signs to help you decide if you need professional help.
Adapted from American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.
Now that spring is here it’s time to revise or create an outdoor exercise routine. The list of the benefits of regular aerobic and strength-training exercise is too long to post here. However, relief of depression is an important one.
Depression is a common disorder that is associated with compromised quality of life, increased health care costs, and greater risk for a variety of medical conditions, particularly coronary heart disease.
Here are some tips to help you get started and maintain the benefits of regular exercise.
To use that famous NIKE slogan, “Just Do It.”
Here is a recent article from Slate which provides information on the anti-depressant effects of regular exercise. Exercise and Happiness from The NY Times provides more information. And another one about exercise to lower blood pressure and reduce fat.
Everyone has difficulty falling asleep occasionally. You can improve your sleep hygiene and reorganize your bedtime routines to create an external and internal environment which is more conducive to restful sleep.
Here is a brief visualization called The Body Scan which can help release tension and quiet the mind.
If your sleep is disturbed for many nights you may be experiencing insomnia which is habitual sleeplessness, wakefulness, restlessness. Prolonged insomnia can have serious psychological and health problems. If this is the case, consult a physician.
Researchers at Harvard have developed a list of 12 tips to promote better sleep. Look them over.
There are many factors that can have negative effects on us, but sometimes it's important to focus on those things that can actually improve the quality of our lives. Yes, exercise, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep all can contribute to better physical and mental health, but another even simpler antidote that is often overlooked is making sure to laugh frequently.
Laughing is a natural part of life. As infants, we started smiling within our first few weeks and were laughing out loud within just months. Unfortunately, as we get older and life gets more serious, the ability to laugh can sometimes be diminished. Fortunately, you can learn to laugh again regardless of age.
How does laughing help? In addition to adding joy to your life laughter can:
You can increase your laughter quota by searching out things that make you happy. Maybe it's playing with a small child or a family pet. Maybe it's taking the time to find a funny movie, TV show or a video on YouTube. Try reading a humorous book, or sharing a good joke or funny story with others. Read the comics, watch a comedian on TV, or have a night out at your local comedy club. Yes, life can be serious and we can't always be laughing, but putting a little extra effort into trying to find the funny in your life can leave you feeling happier while providing real benefits to your physical health and mental well-being.
Adapted from The American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.