What A Psychiatrist Recommends If You’re Feeling Pandemic Depression

May 21, 2020 at 12:08PM

If you’re facing a similar experience, know that you’re not alone. Here are some brain-based ways to boost mood that I recommend to patients who are trying to feel better during this uncertain time.

Rewire your brain’s “negativity bias.”

The human brain is hardwired for negativity—it’s part of what has helped us survive since our cave-dwelling ancestors were on the lookout for creatures that could kill us. But now is not the time to let your brain wallow in fearful, depressing thoughts. Did you know that whenever you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals? We typically have about 60,000 thoughts a day, so that’s a lot of chemicals flooding our systems.

Whenever you have a sad, hopeless, or worthless thought, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel bad. On the flip side, hopeful, loving, happy thoughts release chemicals that make you feel good. While you’re sheltering at home, if most of your thoughts are focused on what you hate about self-isolation, your brain and body will be drowning in feel-bad chemicals.

To trigger the release of those feel-good neurochemicals while you’re practicing social distancing, you have to proactively search out the silver linings of self-isolation. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s great about staying home?
  • Are you loving that you don’t have to sit in traffic or get on a packed subway to get to work?
  • Do you have more time to learn something new, like how to meditate?
  • Do you have more time to spend with your pup or kitty?

In addition, be sure to bookend your days with a dose of positivity. First thing in the morning, tell yourself, “Today is going to be a great day!” And at night when you’re ready to fall asleep, ask yourself, “What went well today?”

Each of these natural remedies may help aid your mood, but if you’re experiencing prolonged symptoms of depression, consider reaching out to a medical professional. If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal depression, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Author Daniel Amen, M.D. | Life by Daily Burn
Selected by CWC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: