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8 Tips for Students to Prevent and Avoid Depression in College

As one wakes up from a teenage sleep to adulthood, one has to travel through a very rough and rocky road. The transition stage usually surfaces as the chapter of college life begins. It is when most young minds are brought to foreign places to sharpen their minds and skills for a brighter future. Also, it is when they experience almost the firsts of everything.

Adjustments do not happen overnight. Being a stranger in a crowd, most of the time makes students feel bad and scared. It is normal to feel down at times but if the feeling of anxiety and emptiness doesn’t go away, there is a possibility that they are developing depression in college.

Depression in college students

“I am depressed!” This is the common expression among college students, may it be after a social event or academic activity. But depression in college has a deeper meaning which most students and even professionals sometimes fail to recognize.

It is actually a condition of mental disturbance that causes a feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness and eventually affects the routines of a person in a negative way.

Depression in college is indicated with loss of social interest, changes in sleeping and eating habits, increased alcohol or drug intake, increased crying, hopelessness and worthlessness.

Depression has been already considered a serious problem among teens and early twenties. With the rising cases of depression among college students, every individual should be aware of the things to avoid in order not to suffer this condition.

Assessing oneself from time to time is an essence to reduce the intensity of the damage brought by depression.

Causes of depression in college students

There are different possible roots of depression in college. Pressures in a foreign environment are a common denominator among students. This is when they meet different kinds of personality and expose to various influences such that they start to adapt and change their image to avoid rejection among peers. In effect, they started having identity crises and sometimes develop inferiority complex especially if their friends have better attributes than they have.

When people enter college, they are expected to accomplish a degree at a certain period of time but due to some external factors such as family issues, peers, media, etc., they lose their focus. Losing one’s focus usually ends up to academic failure and having red marks on their transcript could be a turning point of losing self-esteem and self-confidence.

For instance, James is an achiever in everything that he does back in high school but when was about to go to college, his family started having financial instabilities and relationship issues. With the thought of helping the family, he applied for a scholarship and got accepted but along the course of college life, he started flunking his subjects. He tried so hard but just couldn’t do his best because his mind would always fly back to his family issues.

He then started isolating himself from the crowd and developed fear of facing people. With the goal of giving the family a better life, he started to fight his fears by socializing with his colleagues and having constant talk to the school counselor. Fortunately, he still graduated with pride and happiness.

Most people undergo a stage like that of James but have different ways of coping up with the problem. Others engage to alcohol or drug intake to take their mind off their problem. They neglected the fact that increasing alcohol intake could induce more emotional instability in their system. It becomes a habit of escaping from one’s problem plus creating a new problem making their life more complicated.

Others engage to too much food intake causing them to gain weight. Having a bad body structure could be another reason for depression especially when people around always notice one’s figure.

Most people ignore depression especially when they have tons of work to do but the mind is so powerful that it acts differently than what the person is trying to do.

How to Prevent Depression in College

Depression in College – to be on completely on your own for the first time and face new and exciting life with new friends. It really do sounds exciting, making college one of the most anticipated part of every child’s life. Still college means completing a degree, finishing studies and to get the best job after graduation.

It may be exciting when speaking about independence but with challenges that a college student has to face as an adult without any physical support from parents, it can also be very overwhelming.

It is no longer a surprise that when depression is discussed, there is a big group of college students within the pie population. Depression can strike as early as teenage life until adulthood but a significant number of depressed patients are college students.

Why is this so? Why are college students very prone to depression?

Be Aware to Prevent Depression in College

To prevent depression from taking a full swing is to be aware on its symptoms, once someone shows these signs it can be nipped in the bud. And part of being aware is to know what triggers depression in college. Here are just some of them:

Dealing with unknown issues

Students are excited to become college students because of independence. No need to ask permission, no need to hear Mommy “do this and do that” or have to answer the same question “How’s school”. College is living on your own – no rules.

But it is the obligations that tagged along independence that can trigger someone to be depressed. It is in college that someone will deal with many things for the first time – and alone. From financial troubles to poor judgment – no one is going to help you out. And this is very true among freshmen students where they are still building their network of friends.

Feeling alone, adding homesickness can make a college student extremely sad which can also lead to depression.

Lack of support

This is related to the first one. The lack of support, the feeling of being just by yourself can really be depressing. When a college student doesn’t have a support group just when they need someone to help them or extreme loneliness can be a factor of depression in college.

Support can be felt with today’s technology but physical presence is still very important. Parents and best friends can call or cheer you up or visit you in the campus but they cannot rush to your dormitory at the exact time that you just feel someone to be with you.

Exposure to unhealthy lifestyle

What makes college, really exciting? It’s the drinking, partying and lots of sex! Sounds fun of course but these go totally out of control along with other factors can trigger depression.

Depression is not just about being extremely sad, it is also viewed as an illness – aside from sociological and emotional factors, depression can also be caused by something physical. With unhealthy lifestyle like poor diet and lack of sleep, these will affect our brain’s hormones. Mix this with other factors like sadness and loneliness and you have the perfect formula for a depressed college student.

What to do when depression comes

Typical warning signs of depression include the feeling of being awkward, social detachment, rapid decline of school performance, being lost and even being violent. If you have a friend who verbally expresses his/her loss of interest about life or hinting of suicide, then someone is in deep trouble that needs to be addressed quickly. Even the slightest signs of abrupt changes in personality should be dealt with right away – do not wait for it to get worse.

Some will just shrug it off believing that it will just pass or just an emotional trip downhill but hey, this can get severe and can lead to depression in college.

The first step to intervene any sign of depression is psychotherapy. This type of therapy is a drug-free treatment and instead, utilize counseling and support groups.

As depression in college is no longer uncommon, colleges have support groups and school counselors that students can visit anytime. With school counselors students can freely visit and talk – things that are bothering them. With constant communication, students are guided to the right track on what to do and what decisions to make. In effect, the student will feel better gradually and naturally treating his depression.

There are also many support groups that students can join. Usually they talk in front of other members. This therapy is very effective as students will feel not alone on what they are dealing. Sometimes, students fall into depression because they feel that they are the only one who is experiencing such issue or situation. Students can also learn from other members of a support group.

Depending on the type of depression and after diagnoses, a college student may be required to take some medication to control anxiety and to bring the chemicals back to balance. Patients can also be advised to attend some psychotherapy along with medications.

Depression in college can be lessened and prevented just by being aware. Information drives can also be used for students to have the knowledge on how to help themselves and other students. When college students are aware of the symptoms and even the causes, overcoming depression is not as hard as we all think it is.

Depression in college: What you can do

As soon as you receive your high school diploma, you become so excited with the life that waits for you in a university. College life has various impacts towards a college student depending on the personality one developed throughout the years. One’s upbringing becomes an essential aspect in measuring the survival skills in a foreign place.

College life is usually equated with stress and seriousness because it is the time when you are trained how to balance your academic life and extra-curricular activities. But along the course of living up to your almost perfect life, external factors and influences would certainly ruin it if your foundation is very weak.

Falling into the trap of failure and emptiness could further lead to depression in college if not attended immediately. Coping up or avoiding in college is just a piece of cake as long as you are equipped with proper goals and survival skills.

Develop a healthy relationship.

A university houses diverse individuals having different principles, ideals and values but finding a buddy is easier than finding your thesis topic. People whom you called friends play a great part in the healing process of depression as well as positive people. They are the venue where you could air out your issues or concerns that constantly bothers you. One of the reasons behind depression in college is the lack of emotional support.

When most of the people you trust the most are back home or studying in a different campus, do not hesitate to build a new support network. They make you feel good by attracting yourself to their positive vibes. But before anything else, you have to accept the fact that you have a problem and you are willing to seek help from others by submitting yourself to counseling. Counseling or having constant conversations with a friend could help both of you adjust to your needs.

Set smart goals and priorities.

When you have goals and priorities, you have a driving force that pushes you to fight against hopelessness and sadness. Smart simply means specific, measurable, available, realistic and time-bound. When your goals have these characteristics, you certainly have the edge among others. But sometimes having goals is not enough to keep you moving. This is where a friend comes in.

Having someone, who wipes your tears after accomplishing a common goal, is better than hearing a million of claps for having a sole success. Motivation is more powerful if induced by a person than a paper. Along your journey, you would encounter difficulties which you could recall after completing your task or maybe after recovering from depression. Memories are more valuable if you have someone to share and laugh it with.

Start living a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy doesn’t point only to the physical aspect of a person. Even though you don’t feel like eating and doing exercise due to depression, you still have to because the consequences go back to you. Some people, for instance, handle depression by eating too much. In effect, they started gaining weight and developing an undesirable body figure that could lead to low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. The depression only worsens.

Having a friend is a total yes because he/she becomes the police officer who stops you from committing injustice to your body as well as your fitness instructor who accompanies you in shaping your body. Likewise, just like other types of depression, enough sleep and regular exercise can help ease the burden of depression in college.

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Participate in university activities and organizations.

All work, no play makes you a boring person. College life is like a trial version of reality wherein you have to learn the basics of independence but it can be a lonely place too. Balance in your life is achieved by knowing proper time management wherein you should rank your activities according to importance.

Engaging in extra-curricular activities and joining organization will absolutely help you expand your connections and acquaintances. Meeting new people and hearing their stories most of the time makes us realize that our issues are very shallow compared to what others have in hand.

Listening to other people or maybe your own friend’s problem plays a significant part in your healing process. Through this process, you realize that you are very much contained with your problem that you fail to help your friend who has greater concerns that need immediate attention.

Have a prayer time.

Seeking God’s guidance and protection is very helpful in the healing process of depression. Most people only talk to God when faced with big storms. They forget to thank God for waking up in the morning or for having good grades in exams. Prayer is actually more powerful if you have a prayer buddy whom you could ask to include in his/her prayer your petitions. We all have secrets that only ourselves know and so this is a perfect time to share to someone your activities on a certain day and the frustrations that arise along the way.

Every complexities of life started in simple circumstances. Similarly, doing simple gestures for a problematic friend maybe useless for others but could be like winning the jackpot prize in a lottery for that friend. If you ever noticed someone has been lost in his right mind but not to the extent of craziness or maybe you are the victim, now is the right time to stand and make a difference in someone else’s life. If nobody does, who else will?

How to Deal with Depression in College

If you are slapped straight to the face with these facts, then you have to act now. The best thing to do first is to do an assessment of yourself and list down the bad and good changes in your life. Then focus on the bad habit and study the possible causes and effects.

Have someone to talk with constantly, either a family member or a friend who can help you in a positive way or better consult to the university counselor and air out your issues. This is simply a way of building healthy relationships among others.

Doing exercise every day is also a yes to your problem. It is the best venue to release the stresses and tensions brought about different factors around you.

It should also be accompanied with proper diet. Diet does not mean eating less than your usual but it means that you have to eat the right kind of food that could make your body fit and healthy.

Also, accompany your healthy living with proper sleep to avoid more irritations caused by a lack of sleep.

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    7 Best Ways to Prevent Depression Naturally

If you have goals to run after but stuck with a mountain of negative issues along the corner, you better increase your courage level and fight them with all your might. If you don’t want to be hit by a bullet straight to your heart, the right time to act is now while the demands are still mild.

Depression in college is something that you have to deal and never hide it from your friends and even from your mentors. It is a serious situation that needs immediate action but you yourself can control and avoid.

8 Tips to Help You Avoid Depression in College

"College life is pressure and torture, pressure from your parents and torture from terror teachers..." This is a perception with its own touch of reality. No matter who you are and what you can do as long as you decide to enter college especially a university, you surely will experience the stress that if left untended will lead to depression in college.

Other than hormonal and family history, the main factors that can contribute to depression in college are stress and unhealthy lifestyle. Stress is part of college life and you can do nothing to avoid it but depression is another thing. You can always find ways to make your stay in college successful and depression free.

Below are some tips that will help you avoid college depression by controlling stress and living a healthy lifestyle.

Set your priorities or goals.

This is the first thing that you should consider since the level of stress you will be experiencing is dependent on the goals you want for yourselves to accomplish. If you want to graduate with honors, then expect yourself to be pressured in your studies. But if you want to have more time in extra-curricular activities, then you need to adjust your standards. You define what makes college life successful and you will always start it by determining and setting your priorities and goals.

Develop time management skills.

Don’t procrastinate. It is true that you will have lots of free time in college compared in high school but you have to manage this free time wisely. More often than not, professors require you to read on certain book chapters, do research and answer assignments. When you tend to postpone doing these things, you will eventually find yourself stock with a lot of work to do and you panic. Avoid this kind of situation because it is in a situation like this that you are more prone to depression.

Cultivate good study habits.

There’s no shortcut to success in college. Sooner or later, you have to study. Studying could be a struggle but if you are armed with good study habits, then studying will not be that hard for you. Mnemonic verses by taking out the first letter of the keywords and making a code out of it. When studying, you can use mnemonic verses to make it easy for you to remember data and procedures.

To cultivate good study habits, take down notes, do your homework, use the library and study in advance. Another tip also is, avoid cramming and rather establish a study schedule. To do well in exams, follow these tips and make them a habit.

Join organizations and co-curricular activities.

All work and no play will result to boredom. Joining in organizations and co-curricular activities will provide a balance to students’ academics. It promotes psychological and social development through leadership trainings, group interactions, community service, etc. It also provides color, vitality, variety and pep to an otherwise serious academic pursuit.

Make use of consultation hours and share learning with others.

Professors give free consultation hours during their free time. Take initiative in consulting them regarding lessons you hardly understand or talk to them regarding things that you can do to help you pass the subject. If you can’t face your teacher, then other alternative would be joining in study groups where you can exchange notes, discuss readings and lend materials. Study groups make learning lighter and fun.

Eat a balanced diet and don’t skip meals.

Most college students tend to forget the importance of eating a balanced diet and this is important to avoid depression in college. Bear in mind that our minds won’t work properly if we starve ourselves with healthy food. As the Greeks would say, a healthy mind is a healthy body. A hungry student cannot concentrate and focus well in class discussions especially during exams. It is not how much you eat but what you eat that spells the difference. Balance your meals and never miss breakfast.

Relax

Sometimes at the end of the day, all you need is to relax in order to relieve the stress.  Relaxation can take several forms depending on your terms and natural ways in dealing depression in college. You can either watch movies, swim on the beach or just sleep. No matter what your preferences are, the important thing is that you don’t forget to spend some time for recreation.

Anxiety dissipates energy. Instead of worrying, make anxiety push you to study better. If you’re homesick, just think how happy your parents would be if you do well in your studies.

Pray

If you have done your best, leave the rest to God. As one of the gospel readings says, pray like everything depends on God and work like everything depends on you. Ask for guidance from above. You will not be disappointed.

How to Protect Yourself from Depression in College

If you are going to college or currently in college, passing your exams and getting a degree is not just your main goals. You must literally survive college and deal with undesirable events that can happen to anyone and this includes depression in college.

It is not a surprise as stress, unhealthy habits and being on your own can trigger depression. The good news is that you can start by protecting yourself from such traps. Here are some of the things one should observe and learn to avoid depression.

Avoid living a double life.

Living a double life means doing things which are prohibited of you without letting other people know. An example is hiding misconduct from parents. This is a usual scenario especially for teens with strict parents.

The idea of doing misdeeds like drinking, using drugs and the likes could not hurt parents unless they know that you are doing have motivated young ones to participate in these highly-prohibited activities. Doing this is definitely wrong not only because you are disobeying your parents but also because you are exposing yourself to danger.

Living a double life will cause you to suffer the pangs of a guilty conscience and feelings of guilt can make people go insane. Hiding something from someone will damage your conscience which could result to emotional disturbances.

Careful with trust

Parties and dates, these make college life really fun. With the aid of mobile phones and internet, it has become possible for two people who don’t personally know each other to communicate. This is a problem for the reason that number of cases have been recorded that secretly dating someone known only through texting and chatting resulted to acts of sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment like rape belongs to the top reasons why college students suffer depression. Be wise and critical in getting to know a person especially if you have plans of establishing a mutual relationship with that person.

Have constant communication with family members.

Talking with members of the family can actually protect you from being a victim of depression in college. Family conversations encouraged each member of the family to communicate rather than just talking.

Communication is essential because it is through communication that people are able to release emotional pressures. Being able to share with someone your problems and thoughts will help you develop a healthy emotional life.  Family knows best. Therefore, communicate with your family in whatever problems you are into.

Learn how to cope with stress.

This is important because stress is one of the major factors that cause depression. College students are more prone to stress because they are more subject to changes. Therefore, it is important more for teens to know how to cope with stress.

The best way to cope with stress is to relax. There are many ways to relax but it is advisable for teens to avoid the unhealthy ways such as smoking, overeating and using pills. Experiment with different techniques and strategies to know the best method of distressing that fits you. Just focus on what makes you calm and in control.

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Learn how to socialize.

The best way to deal with loneliness is to be with friends. But before you can have friends, you should know how to socialize. If you are one of the people who have difficulties in socializing, then maybe you should start by knowing yourself first before getting to know the others.

In knowing yourself, begin with focusing with your assets. Determine your strengths, talents and positive qualities. Recognizing your assets will give you the confidence you need to socialize.

The next step would be practicing on how to start a conversation. Don’t be shy. Your goal here is to let other people feel that you are interested in knowing them.

By following these tips, you can reach out with other people and can overcome feelings of loneliness.

Learn on how to deal with criticism.

You will be depressed if you don’t know how to handle criticism. Criticism even when carefully delivered could trigger resentment and then escalate to depression in college. This reaction is understandable but the thing here is other people’s opinion in you could affect the way you see yourself.

It is normal to be criticized. No matter how good you are in everything, there will still be people that will criticize you. The trick here is that every time that someone will criticize you, just listen and absorb only the good thoughts and just let the bad ones pass by your ears.

There are many factors that could cause depression in college but if we know how to prevent its occurrence, we could be safe from becoming one of its victims. We should be aware of what to do because the possibility of suffering depression will greatly depends on how well we can manage ourselves physically and emotionally.

Conclusion

In order to survive college life, you need to balance your academics and extra co-curricular activities. Getting good grades or even passing a certain subject could cause depression if you don’t know how to deal with them.

Arm yourselves with these tips and be ready to face the demands of college life.  It doesn’t mean that if you live an unhealthy lifestyle and stress yourself, you will be depressed. Depression also involves the person – how they deal with stress and how their body reacts to certain changes. Still, there is no exact profile on who will develop depression in college and there is nothing wrong if you avoid them by practicing the tips mentioned above.

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