Hello, Depression is truly a difficult disease to battle, and most people feel ashamed to talk about it. Society places Stigmas upon people who suffer with depression to just deal with it, get over it, get on with your life. But I know different, and I know what it is like to be in this state of mind. So I thought I would share these self help techniques to help any of you out there that may be having a difficult time with your depression. Just remember one little step at a time, progress not perfection, can make a world of difference for you and your loved ones. If you know someone who is suffering with Depression, don't judge them, help them if you can with these self help techniques if they cannot help themselves.
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Depression self-help tip 1: Cultivate supportive relationships
Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. But the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make depression even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.
The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking. You loved ones care about you and want to help.
Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time. Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
Join a support group for depression. Being with others who are dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.
10 tips for reaching out and building relationships
Talk to one person about your feelings.
Help someone else by volunteering.
Have lunch or coffee with a friend.
Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
Accompany someone to the movies, a concert, or a small get-together.
Call or email an old friend.
Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
Schedule a weekly dinner date.
Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.
Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member.
Depression self-help tip 2: Challenge negative thinking
Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future. But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Ways to challenge negative thinking:
Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking
Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
Keep a “negative thought log." Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. But maybe he’s just having a bad day.
Types of negative thinking that
add to depression
Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground
(“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)
Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold
true forever (“I can’t do anything right.”)
The mental filter
Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one
thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
Diminishing the positive
Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“She said she had
a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)
Jumping to conclusions
Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a
mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic.”) or a fortune teller
(“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever.”)
Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel like such a loser.
I really am no good!”)
'Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’
Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do,
and beating yourself up if you don’t live up to your rules.
Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings
(“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)
Depression self-help tip 3: Take care of yourself
In order to overcome depression, you have to take care of yourself. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning to manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day.
Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits. Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden. Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that are stressing you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, taking on too much, or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.
Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.
Do things you enjoy (or used to)
While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark. Push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.
Develop a wellness toolbox
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better.
Try and implement a few of these ideas each day,
even if you’re feeling good.
Spend some time in nature
List what you like about yourself
Read a good book
Watch a funny movie or TV show
Take a long, hot bath
Take care of a few small tasks
Play with a pet
Write in your journal
Listen to music
Do something spontaneous