The intention of this article is not only to help you overcome depression.
I imagine that not all the people who read it will be going through a depressive process, for that reason it is important that you know that the same strategies that I am going to give you to overcome depression can also be useful to prevent it.
In fact anyone who puts them into practice systematically for a couple of weeks, will notice improvements in their mood and their quality of life.
In the previous article we talked about the 3 key factors involved in depression: inactivity, negative thoughts and negative emotions; and how anyone is susceptible to getting lost, without even realizing how he got there, through the labyrinth of depression at some point in his life.
Regardless of the cause, if you are trying to overcome a rupture , if you were fired from work, if you are going through a bad life or just feel sad and do not know why this article can help you.
We also talked some time ago in another article about how depression develops through an active learning process and how we can develop it voluntarily. So before continuing with the reading I recommend you take a look at these two articles.
Sadness is a natural emotion and we are all going to spend moments in our life in which we feel sad, however what we have to avoid is that this sadness becomes a vicious circle that we do not know how to get out of and that sometimes even we come to think that there is no way out other than suicide. If this happens, we will have developed a depression. But calm, although we put ourselves in the worst case, there is a solution.
Some of the people come to consult with the idea that depression is something chronic , and that although you can improve and learn to live with it, you will never be able to overcome it completely.
Thank God, except in a very small percentage of cases where there is brain damage, this idea is very far from reality; although it is not surprising, that those people who have been lost for many years through the labyrinth of depression , come to the conclusion of the exit does not exist.
Before continuing, I want to make clear that the depression can be overcome , provided that the appropriate strategies are used and persistent. I’m not saying it’s easy, of course it’s not, many times it’s really complicated and hard, but with the right help you can.
The strategies that I am going to present to you are not mere advice, on the contrary they are guidelines that are shown to be effective in the treatment of depression and are supported by a lot of research about human behavior.
Of course, not everything goes for everyone, since each person is a unique being and although two people have the same symptoms, it is possible that what works very well in one is not appropriate for the other. So if these strategies are not as effective as you would like in your case or you fail to implement them properly, do not hesitate to ask for help from a professional to analyze your case thoroughly and take you by the hand in the process of recovery.
As I said before, the vicious circle of depression consists mainly of inactivity, negative thoughts and negative emotions, so we will use those same weapons to get the smile back . Until we play with the same weapons that depression uses, we will not be on equal terms.
This strategy is based on a premise as simple as certain: No matter how depression has been generated, one of its main characteristics is inactivity , which leads to negative thoughts, and consequently the negative emotions they generate, invading life of the person thus making the action more difficult.
So the behavioral activation is based on that regardless of their mood, the person is able to maintain a certain level of activity , thus cutting the vicious depressive circle. To do this, the learning principles that underlie the learning of human behavior are used so that the depressed person progressively begins to perform activities that are pleasurable and provide a sense of control over their own lives.
It depends on the level in which the person is, we can start from very basic levels, for example, instead of spending the day in bed, see half an hour a day a series that you like (or that you liked before) on the sofa, to more advanced levels how to look for hobbies, set goals, expand social circle, etc …
One of the best antidotes for depression is action , when we maintain a certain level of activity we feel useful and we acquire a certain sense of control over our life. That is why it is vitally important that everyone, regardless of our life circumstances, reserve a space every day to do those things that we enjoy, with which we can disconnect from the automatic rhythm of day to day and be at peace with ourselves fora while .
A problem that usually appears in depressed people is that they have lost the ability to enjoy , the things that they were passionate about do not matter to them the least, so when you ask them to tell you activities they enjoy they do not know that answer you
In this case we have to think about activities that we enjoyed before having developed depression and take them back to practice regardless of whether we do not want anything. In this way the most likely is that after you perform a few times (as long as we focus on the activity and not on the reasons why what we were passionate about now we do not care) we will enjoy them again.
That said, if I had to give a prescription for a preventative for depression, it would be as follows:
When we are depressed, we often think in a way that does not correspond to reality.
I am referring to thoughts like “No one will ever love me” “Everything goes wrong” “I’m sure I’ll have a bad time” “I do not like people” “This has no way out” “I’m ugly , useless, silly, clumsy, etc … “In short, biased ways of reasoning , which trigger a torrent of very intense negative emotions, and that in most cases are far from reality.
The way we think is a habit that develops in the same way as any other and that therefore can be changed. Excellent news! So in the same way that you have made it a habit to think in a negative way, you can replace it by thinking in a more rational way and therefore making you feel better.
How can you do this?
Submitting to debate the irrational thoughts you detect. From now on, pay special attention to your thoughts and when you feel bad ask yourself what is it that I am thinking? Once the thought is detected, pass it through these three filters:
We are frightened of our own emotions, we are very afraid of feeling bad and we are not aware that emotions are not other things than emotions, in most cases harmless, and that with a little practice we can acquire some control about them.
From now on, I propose that you stop being afraid of your own emotions and expose yourself to them; feel them, smell them, look at their physiological symptoms, put them face, color, texture, observe them, but never feed them with negative thoughts. If you simply observe them and let them flow without feeding them, you will see how they happen, and how the storm leaves room for calm .
Morrie told me about her most fearsome moments, how much her chest felt blocked by fits of coughing or when she did not know if she would breathe again. They were horrible moments, he said, and his first emotions were terror, fear, anguish. But when he came to recognize the feeling of those emotions, their texture, their humidity, the coldness in the back, the suffocation that runs through your brain, then he was able to say: “It’s okay. This is fear. Get away from him. Back off”
Open the tap. Wash yourself with the emotion. It will not hurt you. It can only help you If you let fear in, if you put it on like a regular shirt, then you can tell yourself: Well, it’s just fear, I do not have to let it control me. I see it for what it is.
The same happens with loneliness: you let yourself go, you let the tears come out, you feel it completely, but in the end you are able to say: Well, this has been my moment in solitude. I’m not afraid to feel lonely, but now I’m going to set aside those loneliness
The problem is when instead of observing the emotions, we become frightened of them and the foods with negative thoughts, which in turn generate more negative emotions, thus keeping us in the vicious circle of depression .