Three Effective Practices to Improve Symptoms of Depression
It is common for individuals to encounter sensations of sadness. A fundamental aspect of the human experience is the capacity to perceive a range of emotions, encompassing both positive and negative ones.
-Building Meaningful Connections
-Distinguishing Opinion from Reality
Overcoming Self-Criticism in Times of Depression
Depression, in contrast to simple sadness, encompasses more than just feeling low. It can involve experiencing guilt or hopelessness, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, lacking energy, and feeling emotionally numb. As a therapist who specializes in assisting adolescents and adults dealing with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety, I possess a range of techniques and approaches to support clients coping with depression. It is also crucial to identify behaviors and inclinations that can heighten depressive symptoms. The subsequent three prevalent patterns often observed in individuals grappling with depression may further exacerbate their condition.
1. The Art of Making Meaningful Connections
When individuals experience depression, they often have a tendency to remain in bed or withdraw from social interactions. However, isolating oneself from others can exacerbate the negative emotions in the long run. In order to address this issue, I propose that clients engage in a therapeutic technique known as "opposite action" within dialectical behavioral therapy. If depression leads one to desire seclusion and avoidance of the external world, it can be beneficial to act in a manner that contradicts these impulses.
Despite lacking the motivation to reach out to someone or venture outside, it remains imperative to engage in these activities. Making social connections, seeking support, and embracing the outdoors can profoundly uplift one's emotional state, even if these actions may not seem initially appealing. According to therapist Rachel Rosenthal, MSW, LCSW-C, prioritizing self-care through activities like going for a walk, conversing with a friend, spending time outdoors, or indulging in a book is vital when battling depression. Remember that you are not alone, as there are individuals willing to offer their support.
"You are not alone, and there are individuals who will be willing to offer their support."
Distinguishing between Opinions and Facts
In our daily lives, we generate numerous thoughts. However, it is crucial to understand that not all of our thoughts are factual. It is essential to identify the thoughts that may be fueled by depression rather than unquestioningly accepting them as absolute truths. The experience of dealing with depression can create a perception akin to wearing dark sunglasses, which can taint our outlook with pessimism. It is of utmost importance to view these thoughts as mere narratives constructed by our minds. Instead of blindly believing every passing thought, it is advisable to discern between thought and fact. It is necessary to evaluate whether these thoughts contribute positively or negatively to our well-being. If they prove to be unhelpful, leading to feelings of hopelessness or avoidance of meaningful endeavors, we should practice letting go of them.
Overcoming Self-Criticism in the Face of Depression
Clients who are facing depression often tend to be self-critical, which exacerbates their emotional state. Rather than engaging in self-blame, it is crucial to cultivate self-compassion and acknowledge that experiencing depression is not a choice. Depression is a complex condition influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. When grappling with depression, it is important to treat oneself with kindness and understanding. It is beneficial to remind oneself that in any given moment, one can only do their best. It is helpful to extend the same level of compassion to oneself that one would offer to a loved one. Kelsi Huerter, a mental health therapist at Crown Counseling, emphasizes the significance of practicing self-compassion in managing depressive thoughts, stating that it eases the burden imposed by the challenges of life and depression.
By engaging in "contrary behaviors," mastering the skill of separating oneself from negative thoughts associated with depression, and cultivating self-compassion, individuals have the ability to transform their connection with depression and develop a fresh outlook.