How to Cope with Depression and Depressive Disorders
Depression can keep you feeling stuck, unmotivated, depressed, and tired. In my last blog, I discussed depression symptoms and depression disorders. In this blog, I share active ways to start the journey to overcome depression. You may feel a lack of interest and energy to engage in these techniques. Use momentum to participate in these activities. It's difficult to get started, but once you do, it gets easier. Keep it simple. Use one technique at a time and practice self-compassion throughout the process.
Explore the Cause of your Depression
Depression can be associated with many situations in life including traumatic events, health conditions, transitions in life, the loss of a loved one, stressful life circumstances, financial stress, or problems within your relationships. Make a list of the potential reasons or cause for your depression symptoms. Making a list can give you insight about your next steps to overcoming depression.
Know What you are Thinking and Feeling
Have you noticed that thinking about your problems or thinking that for example, you are unlovable, increases the intensity of your depressed mood? To understand your depression it will be important to bring awareness to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Keep track of situations, your thoughts, and feelings.
Journal to Cope with Depressive Thoughts
Journaling is a private way to write out your thoughts and stories. Journaling can help you find patterns in your thoughts, behaviors, and decisions. It will also serve to let go of some of the thoughts or feelings that weigh heavy on your shoulders. Journaling can also assist in meaning-making of your life story and finding purpose.
Two of the symptoms of depression include fatigue (or loss of energy) and diminished interest which can make exercise challenging to complete. Know that exercising provides energy and elevates our mood. As mentioned before, focus on the concept of momentum. The hardest part is to get started.
Embrace the fact that life will come with adversities, barriers, and discomfort. Embrace the hard moments; these moments can bring light to your strengths and provide the environment for growth. Readjust the thought that you and your life need to be perfect.
Mindfulness- Be Present
Don't get lost in your thoughts. Right your thoughts down, then let go of them. If those thoughts come back, honor them and let them flow away. Stay present in the NOW as much as you can.
Identify your Core Values and Ideal Life
What do you need to do to meet your needs and live according to your core values? Start with keeping track of how you spend your time in an average week. After you are done keeping track of your time, make a list (or a collage) of your values and the life you want. When you are done, ask yourself these questions to analyze your data:
1. Where do I spend most of my time (work, friends, family, chores)?
2. Is that where I want to spend most of my time?
3. Does your core values reflect how you use your time? If it does not, take action?
Of course don't hesitate to get help from your doctor, psychotherapist, or counselor. They are delighted to help!