Therapy

Recession Depression- Coping with troubling times

‘RECESSION DEPRESSION’

By BARRY MIDDLETON Guest Columnist

Published: Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

As a mental health professional, I am seeing more and more patients who are suffering from what I call “recession depression.”

There is no doubt that in recent weeks a new element has appeared in the mental health field. People are worried about the recession, losing value in homes and stocks and losing their jobs. The stress is new, but the tools needed to cope are not.

Acceptance of circumstances which are beyond our control, an organized wellness program, and positive thinking habits are still the best defense against depression.

Here are a few coping tips that will help:

  • Learn the basics of positive thinking or cognitive management. Our own thoughts are a powerful tool for calming and self-soothing.
  • Create a budget that allows you to spend less money than you earn. Get some help with this if necessary; don’t tell yourself it can’t be done.

 

‘RECESSION DEPRESSION’

By BARRY MIDDLETON Guest Columnist

Published: Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

As a mental health professional, I am seeing more and more patients who are suffering from what I call “recession depression.”

There is no doubt that in recent weeks a new element has appeared in the mental health field. People are worried about the recession, losing value in homes and stocks and losing their jobs. The stress is new, but the tools needed to cope are not.

Acceptance of circumstances which are beyond our control, an organized wellness program, and positive thinking habits are still the best defense against depression.

Here are a few coping tips that will help:

  • Learn the basics of positive thinking or cognitive management. Our own thoughts are a powerful tool for calming and self-soothing.
  • Create a budget that allows you to spend less money than you earn. Get some help with this if necessary; don’t tell yourself it can’t be done.
  • Reset priorities and put your energy into what is most important. What is most important will likely turn out to be people, not money.
  • Exercise, eat right and get enough rest. Taking care of your body is essential to staying well. Have a plan for nurturing your health.
  • Take time every day to relax and do something fun. When people are stressed, this is sometimes the first thing that they neglect. Remember, fun can be free.
  • Resist the temptation to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Quit smoking if you possibly can, limit caffeine, and don’t abuse street drugs or medications.
  • Walk instead of driving when possible. Plan your trips. Be aware that gas prices have come down because the world is using less petroleum-based energy.
  • Keep busy with meaningful activity. Turn off the TV and take a walk, read a book, plant a tree, go to a park, frame a picture, pot a plant, listen to music, cook a meal — the possibilities are endless.
  • Realize that social life is about time with friends, not money spent. There are many social events that are free or low cost. Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread still make up a pretty good dinner.
  • Find the center of your life, your own spirituality, and lean on it. Try to live up to your beliefs about what is right and wrong. Follow the golden rule: Treating yourself and others well is an essential step toward happiness.

I hope these guidelines to basic wellness will be of use in these troublesome times.

Barry Middleton is a licensed mental health counselor who works for Bayside Center for Behavioral Health at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

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