4 Tips for Combating Depression

Experiencing Depression can be an incredibly exhausting, and often will greatly impact the functional status of those living with its symptoms. Combating depression though possible, takes time, a support system, clear goals, self-care and consistency, which for those actively experiencing depression, can be hard to access. The following tips are to provide an accessible starting point for those who may be struggling with depressive symptoms.

  1. Seek Medical/Therapeutic Services.
  • Depressive symptoms, specifically those associated with a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder come with biological symptoms such as; sleeping too much or too little, increase or decrease in appetite, weight loss or gain, difficulty concentrating etc. For this reason it is imperative to visit your primary care physician to rule out a medical reason for the biological symptoms of depression.
  • Therapeutic services can help to provide consistent support and reflection for past and current distress. Together with a mental health provider one can develop skills for distress tolerance, mindfulness, and self-care, as well as aid one in identifying cognitive distortions and unhelpful cognitions that perpetuate a depressive mood.
  • Group Therapy could be used as a means to get out of the house and connect with others experiencing similar struggles and difficulties.
  1. Utilize S.M.A.R.T Goals
  • M.A.R.T goals are pneumonic for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely
  • Often we can set goals for ourselves that in the current moment set us up for failure especially when battling with depression. This can lead to exacerbated feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in working towards recovery.
  • M.A.R.T goals aid one in developing a specific goal, creating a measurement to track progress, laying out and identifying what steps will be taking to work towards that goal, aid in identifying how the goal will help the current “problem”, and doing so on a timeline of your choosing.
  • M.A.R.T goals are something that can be worked on with a therapist as well and could prove to be a helpful guide for how you would like to use your time in therapy.
  1. Behavioral Activation
  • A major challenge of battling depression is how it can feel as if all of the motivation has been drained from ones being. This can lead to situations in which are responsibilities begin to pile up around us and the building feeling of insurmountable stress can lead to more avoidance.
  • Behavioral Activation though it may seem counterintuitive notes that through the engagement of beneficial behaviors one can decrease the depressive mood that they are experiencing.
  • Behavioral activation can be accomplished in a plethora of ways, for example going for a walk, brushing ones teeth, cooking a meal, reading about something new , volunteering, visiting a friend, speaking with someone on the phone, drawing, etc.
  • Behavioral activation can be a method that is utilized when creating S.M.A.R.T goals as well and with the help of a therapist.
  1. Socialize
  • Isolation is very often a symptom of depression. If one has no motivation and feels worthless it can be very difficult to spend time with others.
  • However it is critical that one does so, isolation can lead to internalization of negative self-talk and negative cognitions. Being around others, especially those we feel supported by can help to interrupt the cyclical pattern of depression.
  • Support groups, group therapy, meet up groups, spending time with a friend, playing video games with friends, recovery meetings (if in recovery), clubs with those of similar interest.

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