Question: I feel so down. I don’t want to leave my house. Yet, I feel so lonely. What can I do to find a friend?
Answer: Friendships are great for our mental health. Having healthy friends…and being one, can actually help fight depression. Loneliness is a chief cause for depression. Many times, people who experience depression feel isolated and lonely. They may have a harder time connecting to other people or may struggle with their esteem. This can lead to mismanaging friendships resulting in depression.
Even one good friend can help alleviate depression. Being a great friend to someone else is equally beneficial. Here are some dos and don’ts for using healthy friendships to defeat depression.
Mental Health and Friendship- Beating Depression One Friend at a Time
Do’s and Don’ts for beating depression with friendship
- Do check on your friends routinely
- Do be a great listener
- Do schedule time together
- Don’t avoid important discussions
- Don’t put off your responsibilities
- Don’t forget to have fun
DO- Check in with your friends routinely. Feeling isolated and lonely can lead to serious depression. Depression can include a lack of interest in things that usually bring you joy. This includes engaging friends. If you feel depressed you may resist reaching out to friends or responding to friends reaching out to you. Understanding that isolating is a chief factor in depression can help you remember to reach out to friends routinely to keep a healthy connection.
DO- Be a better listener. Depression can be triggered by overwhelm. Being able to talk things out helps. Being a great listener is an excellent way to help friends feel heard and solve their problems. Many times, people who are struggling simply need someone to hear them rather than offer them solutions. Getting great at the art of listening can help build healthy friendships.
DO- Put friendship on the calendar. Making time for friends is an act of self-care. Being intentional about friendships and doing fun things with friends is important. For a lot of people scheduling specific time to be with friends enhances their lives and makes it easier to get together and have fun. Without putting it on the calendar, it may never happen. Make it a priority to schedule friendship time in your weekly schedule.
DON’T- Avoid the tough stuff. Being at odds with a friend or harboring ill feelings can lead to depression. Unfinished business has a way of causing a lot of stress and anxiety. If there is something that needs to be addressed in your friendships, take action. Be willing to have important discussions to help get things in the open and make them better.
DON’T- Neglect your friendships. Letting friendships suffer or leaving them unattended can lead to them falling apart. While it shouldn’t be work to keep great friends, there is some general maintenance involved. Do your part to be an active participant in the friendship and make it a priority.
DON’T- Forget to have a good time. Depression can make life feel colorless and void of fun. Simply doing something lighthearted can make all the difference. Ask a friend to do something you both enjoy and soon the fog will lift and things will feel brighter.
Friendships are great for your mental health and your friends can be the ticket out of depression or help you avoid it altogether. Use these dos and don’ts to help keep your mental health game strong and you and your friends free from depression.