Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 264 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. It may become a serious health condition.

In 2017, a World Health Organisation report found that Nigerians have the highest incidences of depression in Africa, with more than 7 million people in the country suffering from the illness. Depression can result from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. 

It can feel impossible to know how to think positive when you’re depressed, however, an optimistic attitude can have a big impact on your physical and mental health.

Taking the following small but positive steps daily can help lift the heavy fog of depression you find yourself in; 

Reach out: Getting support from friends and family plays an essential role in overcoming depression. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help.

Do things that relax and energise you: Keep stress in check. Practice relaxation techniques like Yoga deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mediation. Aim for not less than six hours. Etc

Eat healthy: Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones

If you’ve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. There are effective treatments for moderate and severe depression. Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).