Depression is characterized by extreme and constant feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, irritability and guilt accompanied by loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, loss of concentration, and a change in sleep patterns. In moderation, these feelings can be a natural response to disappointment or grief and will not necessarily be diagnosed as depression. Only a mental health professional can diagnose someone with clinical depression. Whenever you are feeling unhappy or sad take these steps to elevate your mood.
- Do something you love or try something new. If this means attending an on-campus concert or event, or joining a student group, keeping yourself active and engaged will help you feel involved with the UCLA community.
- Be active. Try taking a Fitwell class at UCLA Recreation. Exercise increases circulation, releases endorphins, and boosts your mood.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. Be aware of what makes you feel good and what situations trigger negative thoughts. Keeping a log of how you feel throughout the day can be helpful for identifying triggers.
- Live healthy. College students are notorious for keeping poor sleep schedules, drinking too much alcohol, and not having the best diets. All of these behaviors can worsen feelings of anxiety and depression. Give yourself 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Be smart about how you consume alcohol and drink lots of water. Try to eat healthy as often as you can and make meals a time for relaxation.
If you feel like the emotions described above are constant, extreme, and interfere with your daily life you may be dealing with depression.
Take an anonymous and confidential screening to see if you or someone you care about should connect with a mental health professional.