Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression – Make It Easier To Cope

If you are dealing with depression, remember that you’re not alone. More than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability.

Depression can be a lifelong struggle. But you can deal with it effectively. You just need to know about the strategies that can help you. I’m going to cover these strategies in detail.

These strategies are broken down into three categories:

  • Thought Strategies
  • Behavioural and Social Strategies
  • Lifestyle-Based Strategies

So, first up is . . .

Thought Strategies

Accept Your Depression

It’s often difficult to accept your depression. For some people, it has become part of their identity. A label that they give themselves. But depression is an illness – it’s not who you are.

Accepting your depression is an important first step. It will help you put things in perspective and get rid of some of your hang-ups. It can also help you open your mind, so you can try to understand what caused your depression.

Depression is your mind and body telling you that you need to make a change. Listening to it can help you make that change.

Try Not to Blame Yourself 

Some people blame themselves for their depression. They feel as if somehow it’s their own fault. This only makes their depression worse.

Depression can make you feel or behave in ways you don’t like. Some people blame themselves for this as well. But again, this only makes things worse. Remember, when struggling with depression it’s hard to do things. You may not always be able to perform as well as you’d like. That’s OK, you haven’t failed.

Depression is not your fault, and it isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s an illness, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s not something that can be self-inflicted.

Identify and Challenge Negative Beliefs

Negative beliefs about yourself can contribute to depression. They can also help perpetuate it. These beliefs are often irrational. If you examine them, you can replace them with positive, rational beliefs. Doing this will help to relieve your depression.

You need to challenge negative beliefs. You can do this by asking yourself suitable questions. For example, you may believe that everyone hates you. This is obviously not true.

You can challenge this belief by asking yourself “Would I believe this if it was someone else in my position?” and “Would it be fair?”.

Behavioural and Social Strategies

Behavioural Activation

Behavioural activation involves gradually increasing positive activities. These activities help you to have more pleasure and control in your life.

To practice behavioural activation, do the following everyday:

  • a healthy activity that gives you pleasure – such as going for a walk or visiting a friend
  • an activity that gives you a sense of achievement – such as doing housework or going shopping

Each of these activities is a real achievement. It’s important that you acknowledge this after completing each one. It’s a good idea to keep a journal to keep track of your accomplishments. Persevere with this and it will become a habit. You can then gradually add more activities.

It’s hard to motivate yourself when you’re depressed. Behavioural activation helps you to overcome this. It also helps you stop procrastinating.

Social Interaction and Community Involvement

Surrounding yourself with your loved ones can really help you cope with depression. Their presence will help reduce the depressive feelings and thoughts.

It will also help prevent the isolation and loneliness that often results from depression.

You can get similar benefits by belonging to a community, such as:

  • an activist or volunteer group
  • a depression support group
  • a sports club

Lifestyle-Based Coping Strategies

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is living in the moment and being in touch with your surroundings. This allows you to set your depression aside for a while each day.

Mindfulness meditation helps you to develop mindfulness. Daily practice can help reduce your depression. It will also help you live in the moment, so you can “Stop and smell the roses”.

Gratitude

When you are struggling with depression it’s very hard to be grateful. But having something to be grateful for, however small, can improve your sense of well-being. And cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” doesn’t have to be difficult.

Do you have something that not everyone in the world has? That is something you should be grateful for. For example, the ability to walk. Some people don’t have this ability. Therefore, the ability to walk is a reason to be grateful.

Try to think of as many reasons for gratitude as you can. It’s a good idea to keep a journal to keep track of these reasons for gratitude.

Experience Nature

Experiencing nature, such as walking in the countryside, is good for your mental health. And just like mindfulness, it helps you to set your depression aside for a while.

Try spending an hour or two experiencing nature whenever you have the time.

Even if you live in an urban area you can increase your access to nature. As well as travelling to the countryside, you can spend time walking in the local park.

Summary

I’ve covered a number of strategies for dealing with depression, split into the following groups:

  • Thought Strategies
  • Behavioural and Social Strategies
  • Lifestyle-Based Strategies

These strategies can really help you deal with your depression. Not only will they help you cope better, they will really help your recovery.

Start incorporating these strategies into your daily schedule. Pick just one to start with, and put it into practice. Go on, start NOW . . .

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