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September 21, 2023

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Freshmen and depression

At yesterday’s First Year Success Series presentation “Blue at BGSU – Coping with Depression” graduate students Jessica Hauser and Linh Nguyen presented four tips to help students combat the disease.

Changing negative thoughts, cultivation supportive relationships, healthy lifestyle habits and coping and reducing stress were the four topics Hauser and Nguyen discussed with students.

“Depression is a common thing,” Hauser said. “It is normal to have down days, but it is tough to watch friends go through that [depression].”

Despite depression being a common reality, it is important to understand the signs of depression, Hauser added.

“When things you used to enjoy or that made you happy doesn’t anymore, that is a sign of depression,” she said.

Not only is loss of interest in daily activities a sign of depression, but feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, appetite or weight changes, sleep changes, loss of energy, self-loathing, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, irritability and aches and pains are also signs of depression.

One of the best ways to get oneself out of a funk is to keep negative thoughts at bay.

“It is common to have negative thoughts,” Hauser said. “It is hard to talk yourself out of that, but one of the best ways to combat depression is to change those negative thoughts into positive ones.”

Another way to beat depression is to make sure you have a chain of friends and family you can count on, Nguyen said.

“Those relationships [with friends and family] are what is going to get you through your down days,” she said. “Those are the people that get you out of those hard times.”

One way to gain supportive relationships are to partake in social activities, join a support group or see a therapist, Nguyen added.

The third tip in keeping depression away is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Eating healthy and staying away from emotional eating is important, Hauser said.

Not only is eating healthy important, but so is exercising.

“Moderate exercise is a good way to get your mind off of whatever is bothering you,” Hauser added.

Reducing one’s stress is also a way to keep woeful thoughts off one’s mind.

Deep breathing, mediation, muscle relaxation, imagery, listening to music, writing in a journal, drawing, painting, coloring, yoga and spending time with friends or family are great ways to de-stress oneself, Nguyen said.

Ashley Koch, a physiology major, felt the topic was well-presented.

“I really liked the physiological component of the presentation,” she said.

Koch added she wanted to go to the “Freshmen 15” presentation, but missed the date.

“This one seemed like it would be better than the others,” she said.

Hauser and Nguyen ended the presentation by warning students to see someone if they are having suicidal thoughts or feelings. Adding there are may resources on campus for students to go to including the counseling and psychological service center.

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