Learn To Recognize Negative Thinking
Sometimes these thoughts can be obvious, such as times when you berate or criticize yourself. Other times, they can be more subtle. You might find yourself engaging in things like catastrophizing or all-or-nothing thinking.
Catastrophizing involves always anticipating negative outcomes. All-or-nothing thinking means that you think of things as either successes or failures with no in-between. Once you get better at recognizing these cognitive patterns, you can start working on some healthier replacements.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.
During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.
Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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How To Identify The Core Emotion Thats Upsetting You
List your concerns or problems and assign the emotions, thoughts, and beliefs attached. If youre unsure what those thoughts are, Robistow recommends a So what does that mean? exercise.
The So what exercise example:
Problem: Everyone expects me to rearrange my schedule to fit theirs.
Feelings or emotions: anger, resentment, hurt
|So thats selfish of them to not even think about how this inconveniences me.|
|So what?||So if I want to see them or be part of the event, I just have to suck it up.|
|So what does that mean?||It means that if I dont make the effort, Ill never get to spend time with them|
Possible conclusion: which means that Ill be all alone, and theyll eventually forget about me. Im afraid Im forgettable, or they dont care about me.
The meaning we uncover in the exercise might feel brutal. But thats when the true work of CBT, or organizing your feelings, comes into play.
Look for exceptions, Robistow says. Ask yourself, Is that really true? Or can I find evidence that contradicts that belief?
In the example provided, the person might think of times when others have gone out of their way to see them or expressed having a blast after hanging out. Theyll know that the conclusion they arrived at is false.
How Are Depression And Anxiety Currently Treated
The most common approaches for treating depression and anxiety are antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants.
However, many people dont want to rely on medication as their only source of treatment due to the side effects that can come with them.
Here are some common alternative ways to cope with anxiety disorders and depression:
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Ways To Combat Depression And Anxiety When They Hit You
Feelings of depression and anxiety can come seemingly out of nowhere, and they can be debilitating when they do. Knowing how to fight them off is important. There are a number of ways to redirect your mind when these feelings come creeping in and help you to learn how to combat depression and anxiety. Keeping these 7 easy suggestions in mind can help you to combat these unwanted emotions:
Give Yourself A Bedtime
With your busy schedule, theres no time for sleep, right? Some workaholics brag about only needing three or four hours of sleep a night, as if to say, Im more determined and committed than everyone else. But no matter what you might tell yourself, youre not a robot. Humans need sleep to function properly, so unless you beamed in from some nearby planet, this also applies to you.
Whether you deal with insomnia, purposely limit your amount of sleep, or youre a self-professed night owl, chronic sleep deprivation makes you susceptible to anxiety. Do yourself a favor and get eight to nine hours of sleep every night. Develop a bedtime routine to read a book or do something relaxing before bed. The better prepared you are to get a good nights sleep, the better quality of sleep youll have, which leads to a better morning as well.
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Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Listen To Upbeat Music
There’s no doubt that music can have an impact on how you feel, so choosing the right music when you’re feeling down might be an effective way of lifting your mood.
Research has found people who are depressed may have a tendency to choose music that intensifies rumination, sadness, and emotion-focused coping. So while you might be tempted to turn to somber tearjerkers when you’re feeling down, consider listening to more upbeat songs to boost your mood and inspire positive feelings.
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Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from your friends and family, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain. You can challenge your neurons and alter your brain chemistry by doing something entirely different.
Research also shows doing new things can improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
When you do something you love, or even when you find a new activity you enjoy, you may be able to boost your mental health more by taking time to be thankful for it.
Research shows gratitude can have lasting positive effects on your overall mental health.
Meet Yourself Where You Are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
Every day with this disorder is different. Its important to take your mental health seriously and accept that where you are right now isnt where youll always be.
The key to self-treatment for depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what youre going through.
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Small Steps Big Impact
Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
Values Vs The Pain Monster
So if values are so important, how come we dont live them? One of the most common ways that we lose track of our valued direction is the Pain Monster. The Pain Monster says Living that way is going to hurt.
If you look at Briana, she wanted to be friendly and nice and she wanted to go to school thats what she valued but the Pain Monster said Doing that might make you anxious. You should avoid that. So she did. She stopped going to school. She stopped hanging out with friends.
Living a valued life includes discomfort. Doing something good like making new friends, serving others, creating art, making YouTube videos it all requires vulnerability, maybe some anxiety, maybe disappointment.
For example, you might say I dont want to have that conversation because it makes me anxious or I need to use drugs to avoid the grief Im feeling.
As long as youre alive youre going to make choices, and as long as you make choices you have to choose what you base your choices on. Ifyouve been making choices based on doing what feels good in the moment or what feels less bad in the moment, you get to escape pain, but in the long run what are you actually getting? Greater suffering.
But when you clarify what is most important to you, what is it? Is it living a pain-free life? Or is it living your values? Most people would say the most important thing to them is to live their values, to have good relationships, to help others, to create beauty in the world.
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Try To Eat A Healthy Diet
Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. Others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight.
Antidepressants can also affect your appetite.
If you’re concerned about weight loss, weight gain or how antidepressants are affecting your appetite, talk to your GP.
See tips on how to eat more healthily.
One: Figure Out What Youre Feeling
The first step to organizing your feelings is to list your problems or worries.
That might sound like a negative thing to do, but sometimes just writing them down will ease anxiety, says a 2018 study focused on evaluating the positive effects of written expression.
Identifying the underlying thought or belief, evaluating it for its helpfulness and truth, and then changing it if its not serving us well can be incredibly powerful, Robistow explains.
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Therapy Activities For Adults With Depression
Science has proven the healing benefits of some activities, especially those that allow the mind to relax. Some of the best therapeutic things to do for depression include the following.
- Yoga: Since this ancient practice is a spiritual one at its core, the benefits of yoga go beyond physical. When you include yoga and all its mindfulness practices with your treatment for depression, like antidepressants and therapy, you will likely see an overall improvement in your physical and mental health.
- Meditation: Like yoga, meditation is an excellent way for you to learn how to relax your mind and efficiently refocus it.
- Coloring: Adult coloring books may seem like a fad, but they have legitimate value in treating depression. Allowing you to be creative, focused and occupied, adult coloring books soothe and bring peace of mind.
How To Find The Right Treatment
Sticking to your treatment plan is one of the most important things you can do. Its easy to get discouraged in the first few weeks of treatment, and you may feel like you dont want to continue. All types of treatment can take a few months before you notice a difference.
It can also feel like youre doing much better, causing you to stop treatment altogether. Never stop treatment without consulting your doctor first.
You should feel comfortable talking to your therapist. If you dont, try switching to a new one. You may have to meet with several therapists before you find the one thats right for you.
You should also talk to your therapist about your feelings toward your therapy sessions and your overall treatment plan. This allows them to work with you and make changes if your treatment plan isnt working.
Finding the right treatment is often a trial-and-error process. If one doesnt work, its good to move on. If 2 or more months have gone by and youve stuck to a treatment but dont feel any relief from the depression, its likely not working for you. You should experience relief from depression within 3 months of starting a medication.
Talk to your doctor immediately if your:
- depression doesnt improve after several month of treatment
- symptoms have improved, but you still dont feel like yourself
- symptoms get worse
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