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BellaOnline's Depression Editor

Isolation and Depression

When weíre feeling depressed, itís only natural to self-isolate. We donít feel like being around other people, for one thing. And for another, we donít want to bring them down. But remember--isolation is the best friend of depression.

We are social animals. Itís in our DNA to seek out friends and a mate and to visit with family members. When we deprive ourselves of social activities, depression thrives. Without interaction with other people, negative, dark thoughts invade our psyches and take us to places that are difficult to escape.

Have you ever been invited to a gathering of people and really didnít want to go, but went anyway? Almost always, youíre glad you decided to go. It might take every bit of strength you have to do it, but it will be worth it.

If youíve moved away from family and friends, make contact with them by phone or the internet. Social networking sites like Facebook are a great way to reconnect with people with whom you were once close. Sometimes it might only take getting back in contact with someone special from your past to help you dig your way out of that hole youíve found yourself in.

If you have children, get involved with the Parent-Teacher Organization, or other school functions. Volunteer to work at a concession stand or to pick up trash after the games. People who are willing to get out there and do some of the work without being paid are very much appreciated!

Volunteering for other organizations such as homeless shelters is another great way to help people and make connections. The act of helping others alone is enough to lift your spirits!

For those who enjoy tennis or other organized sports, join a league. Or if you arenít so great at a sport, but would like to be, take lessons. That way, you have interaction with people, and youíre getting some exercise, too.

Take a class at your local community college. There are all kinds of continuing education classes that might be of interest to you. You might find something you can really enjoy, which might even lead to a career change.

Another great way to meet people and become a part of something importantósomething bigger than yourselfóis to join a church. It might take trying several churches to find one where you feel comfortable, but there is one out there for you. The fellowship you have with the other members is invaluable, but your relationship with God is of even greater importance and value.

Whatever you do, donít just sit there staring at your TV. Thatís easy, but itís one of the worst things you can do if youíre depressed. It might be kind of tough to get up the nerve to reach out to others, but once you take that first step, you might end up having so much fun, your depression could turn into just a bad memory. So get out there and make some connections and have some fun!

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