Depression - Tips
Tips for coping with depression
Would you like some tips and advice how to deal with depression?
This forum is a great place to:
- explore several tips.
- share the tips that work for you.
What's your tip how to deal with depression?
Overview of tips
Tip 1 - Three anti-worry-tips
In general, thinking about a problem is a very useful way to find the solution for a problem. But sometimes we keep on thinking very hard to try and force a solution to come that is just not there yet. This creates a kind of thinking that is more like worrying and it seems like you do not control your thoughts anymore. Many people have this.
Here are 3 anti-worry-advises
1. Stop your thoughts
When you notice you are worrying, say STOP IT to yourself. You can visualize a symbol for that, for example a traffic light or a traffic sign that says STOP. Then think of something funny and also make a symbol for that. For example a nice holiday memory.
2. The 'hair band'
This simple method will help you to release yourself from thoughts: Put a hairband on your wrist. Every time you notice you are thinking too much, pull the rubber band. The little pinch will get you out of the thinking loop. Then think of something nice again.
Allow yourself to write down all your worries. For that time, don't do anything else, just concentrate on writing down your thoughts. Set the alarm for fifteen minutes, choose every time the same place to sit down for it and just allow your thoughts, without talking drinking or eating. When the alarm goes off, you immediately stop writing. Then go and do something nice.
Tip 2 - Facial feedback
Research has shown (Strack, Stepper & Martin, 1988), that a positive facial expression creates a positive emotional experience. So, a smile can have a lot of influence on your emotional well being.
Experience it yourself:
Put a smile on your face and keep it there for 20 to 30 seconds. Then relax your face again. Repeat this 10 to 20 times and see if you feel suddenly more positive.
Even better: Do this exercise in front of a mirror so that you can experience what psychologists call 'facial feedback': your emotions start to resonate with your facial expression.
Tip 3 - Find distraction and do 'fun stuff'
Find distraction and do 'fun stuff'
Try to keep on doing 'fun stuff'. You can think of things that you used to really enjoy before the depressed feelings started. Often you feel a little bit better afterwards.
When you do nothing while you feel depressed, you will get even more down. You will keep on thinking and worrying.
Make a list of the things that were (or are) relaxing for you and make some time for this. Even when you don't feel like actually doing it yet. The joy in your life will gradually find its way back when you pick up your life again.
Tip 4 - Start everyday with a Body-Scan meditation
With a Body-Scan meditation (check youtube) you practice conscious breathing while you focus on the body. As you know, body and soul are connected. Feelings are in the body and not in the mind.
A relaxing Body-Scan is also a great gift you can give yourself everyday: a relaxed mind in a relaxed body. Do it! You will notice it will make you feel better.
Tip 5 - Practice mindfulness
Look with a mild, gentle and friendly attention to your depression.
Accept that the depressed feelings are there, without identifying with them. You are not the depression, you have the depression.
By approaching yourself and your depression in a gentle manner, you can relax deeper and then your feelings can become soft too.
Tip 7 - Don't escape into alcohol and drugs
Don't escape your depression by using alcohol or drugs. It might seem like a way out and it seems like it makes you feel better. But it is not a solution.
On top of it, it might create an extra problem: an alcohol/drug addiction.
Also escaping your depressed feelings by emotional eating is not a solution.
Tip 8 - Seeking Meaning
Just like a fever is the body's way of letting us know something inside needs our attention, so does depression allow us to realise a deeper need is not being met.
Apart from therapy, others ways to explore the personal meaning hiding inside depression can be through creative practices like collage, free-hand drawing or spontaneous journal writing. Don't decide before hand what to create, just go for it and see what comes out.
Being curious about the inner meaning, giving a voice to that, activates what Jaak Panksepp called the "Seeking System", and according to brain-savvy therapists like Bonnie Badenoch, when the seeking system is alive and looking for meaning, depression is already being swept away.
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