Assess The Parts Instead Of Generalizing The Whole
Depression can tinge recollections with negative emotions. You may find yourself focusing on the one thing that went wrong instead of the many things that went right.
Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was happy about the event or day. Then write down what went wrong.
Seeing the weight youre giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were positive.
Combat Depression With Behavioral Activation Therapy
In the past few decades, mental health has become a focal point in our culture. From mental health awareness month to ground-breaking research, the topic of mental health has garnered the attention of everyone from high-level officials to grade school students. In particular, depression has been recognized as one of the most common mental disorders worldwide, affecting approximately 264 million people around the world . Given its high prevalence rate and its high rate of being present with another mental disorder, researchers and practitioners have scoured for the most effective treatment. One of which is behavioral activation therapy.
Tip #2 Listen To Positive Upbeat Music
Listening to positive upbeat music is a simple, yet effective way to boost mood and motivation. According to neurologists, listening to music affects our emotions and brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.
Research shows that different kinds of music can actually produce different kinds of emotions. Sad music can help offer a release of pent up negative emotions, while positive upbeat music helps move the brain into a more active state as brain waves actually synchronize somewhat to the pace of the music youre listening to.
When were trying to invigorate brain function and activity, theres nothing more powerful than music. Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.
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See Positives In Life
You can also try on seeing positive things in life. Its not always going to be easy, but it can help you feel better in the long run. When youre feeling down, try to take a few minutes every day to think about something positive. This could be something like your favorite thing about yourself, a happy memory, or something good thats happening in your life right now.
Individual Or Group Therapy
When you hear the word therapy you might automatically think of one-on-one sessions with a therapist. However, group therapy can be very useful in depression treatment as well. Both group and individual therapy sessions usually last about an hour. What are the benefits of each? In individual therapy, you are building a strong relationship with one person, and may feel more comfortable sharing some sensitive information with one person than with a group. You also get individualized attention.
In group therapy, listening to peers going through the same struggles can validate your experiences and help build self-esteem. Often group members are at different points in their depression, so you might get tips from both someone in the trenches and someone who has worked through a challenging problem. As well as offering inspiration and ideas, attending group therapy can also help increase your social activities and network.
When the going gets tough in therapy
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Identify Activities That Are Uniquely Important To You
When implementing behavioral activation, sometimes people identify activities that are important to other people. Basically, people identify activities based on what they think they should be doing as opposed to what they want to do. If you come up with activities that aren’t important to you, it’s going to be difficult to be motivated and to really feel connected to the activities you’re engaging in.
When you’re choosing activities for behavioral activation, try to think of what’s uniquely important to you. What matters to you? What kind of life do you want to build for yourself? Come up with specific activities that really matter to you and that are about your values and desires. This will help give you that extra boost of motivation when your mood is down or you’re experiencing high levels of anxiety.
Are There Any Risks
There is little long-term emotional risk associated with CBT. But exploring painful feelings and experiences can be stressful. Treatment may involve facing situations youd otherwise avoid.
For instance, you may be asked to spend time in public places if you have a fear of crowds. Alternately, you may need to confront difficult sources of trauma, like the death of a loved one.
These scenarios can provide opportunities to practice altered responses to stressful or adverse situations. The eventual goal of therapy is to teach you how to deal with anxiety and stress in a safe and constructive manner.
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Discuss Supplements With A Doctor
Some supplements may be beneficial when people with depression take them as part of a treatment plan.
However, it is vital to speak to a doctor before taking supplements. Some may interact with antidepressants or other medications, or they may be unsuitable for people who are pregnant or have existing medical conditions.
Examples of supplements that people sometimes take for depression include:
Connect With Friends And Family
This can be one of the hardest things to do when feeling depressed, but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Isolating oneself from others may seem like a good idea, but put a limit on it and then get out there again.
Confiding in friends and family members can have a huge positive effect on your mood.
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Setting And Managing Goals
It is very important to have goals in your life. Goals can give your life purpose and direction, as well as motivate healthy behaviors focused on improving your life. However, goals can also be very overwhelming and a source of stress.
Therefore, you have to be careful when you set goals. It is important that goals are approached in a way that improves your mood and quality of life, as opposed to increasing distress.
How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.
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Focus On External Behavior
Behavioral activation alone only focuses on behavior and mood, not on how someone thinks. It can disrupt negative thinking patterns as they are happening, but it does not attempt to help someone unlearn them.
For people with mental health conditions that are influenced by their thoughts, this may not be enough to create long-term change. It is for this reason that behavioral activation is often a part of CBT, which focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected.
Behaviourism: The Behaviourist Theory Behind Ba
Behavioral activation is informed by a behavioral model of depression, such as the one outlined by Lewinsohn & Shaffer .
These researchers believed that depression was a behavioral issue that arose from a lack of positive reinforcement, particularly in social relationships.
Since they subscribed to a behavioral model of depression, the authors believed that the best way to treat depression was to restore an adequate schedule of positive reinforcement for the individual by changing the patients behavior and/or the environment.
While some psychologists still subscribe to radical behaviorism, most modern behavioral models are not exclusively behaviorist and do include cognitive components.
Most modern psychological models, in general, include both cognitive and behavioral aspects, exemplified by cognitive-behavioral therapy , perhaps the most common therapeutic treatment today. In fact, behavioral activation has begun to be explored as a component of CBT for disorders beyond depression, such as anxiety .
Interestingly, behavioral activation may even be the driving force behind the efficacy of CBT. A study by Jacobson et al. which found that to be the case is one of the main reasons people are interested in Behavioural Activation today. Specifically, those researchers found that people with depression who completed BA saw as many benefits as people with depression who completed both BA and some cognitive components of CBT.
Evaluate The Need For Medication
Anti-depressants have reduced or eliminated symptoms in millions of people. These medications work best for people suffering from chronic or moderate to severe depression and are not as likely to work for people who are mildly depressed. For many, medication is a jump start that helps them feel better and find the motivation to follow other strategies. Unless their depression is more severe, many people choose to stay on medication for just a year or two.
Of course, a medical doctor has to prescribe a medication. I recommend making an appointment with a psychiatrist who is experienced in working with depression, rather than relying on a family doctor. A psychiatrist is trained to not only prescribe but monitor and adjust the medication to find the right prescription for a given individual.
Tms Therapy For Depression
If youre suffering from major depression that has been resistant to therapy, medication, and self-help, then TMS therapy may be an option. Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is a noninvasive treatment that directs recurring magnetic energy pulses at the regions of the brain that are involved in mood. These magnetic pulses pass painlessly through the skull and stimulate brain cells which can improve communication between different parts of the brain and ease depression symptoms.
While TMS may be able to improve treatment-resistant depression, that doesnt mean its a cure for depression or that your symptoms wont return. However, it could provide sufficient improvements in your energy and drive to enable you to begin talk therapy or make the lifestyle changessuch as improving your diet, exercising, and building your support networkthat can help preserve your depression recovery in the long term.
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How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles
All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!
One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.
Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost .
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
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The Benefits Of Focused Meditation
In this style of meditation, what youre really doing is exercising your mental muscles. Your brain is highly affected by dedicated and concentrated meditation practice.
Scientists have performed countless studies on focused meditation and have found that active meditators have more gray matter volume in their brain and, therefore, offsetting the cognitive decline that comes with aging. So, not only does practicing focused meditation help you learn how to focus better on certain tasks, but it also improves similar functions, such as memory.
Likewise, it helps in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, which our society is currently crippled with. By settling your attention on an object, you are essentially building your ability to observe your thoughts and sensations from a place of objectivity. This allows you to detach from negative self-talk that is often the breeding ground for depression and other mental illnesses.
From a guided meditation for focus to practicing it yourself, daily meditation for focus comes with several benefits:
- Itll reduce stress
- Helps you to focus on the present moment
- Increase your creativity and imagination
- And boost your patience and tolerance for things.
Seeing A Psychologist About Depression
Licensed psychologists are highly trained mental health professionals with experience in helping patients recover from depression. Several different approaches to psychotherapy have been shown to help individuals recover from depression, especially those with mild to moderate depression. Psychotherapy can help people with depression to:
- Pinpoint life events that contribute to their depression and help them find ways to change, accept or adapt to those situations.
- Set realistic goals for the future.
- Identify distorted thought processes or unhelpful behaviors that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
- Develop skills to cope with symptoms and problems, and identify or prevent future episodes of depression.
Two of the most common evidence-based therapies for depression are cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
There is no one “right” approach to therapy. Therapists work closely with their patients to create tailored treatment plans to address their unique needs and concerns. Psychotherapy can help patients learn ways to better cope with stress and manage their symptoms of depression. These strategies can lead to recovery and enable patients to function at their best.
To find a licensed psychologist in your area, use our Psychologist Locator.
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Applied Behaviour Analysis: Can Aba Help Your Client
Behavioral activation is a type of applied behavior analysis, which is a field of research based on the principles of B.F. Skinners work, and particularly his findings that in a given environmental context, behaviors that produce favorable outcomes will continue to occur through the process of reinforcement and those behaviors that do not produce favorable consequences will decrease over time, or extinguish .
One of the strengths of behavioral activation is that it can be customized according to a persons values and abilities, and can also be customized for specific types of MDD, such as comorbid MDD and a personality disorder . In other words, in almost all cases of depression, some sort of BA intervention is appropriate.
One thing to keep in mind about BA interventions is that the therapist must be mindful of their own reinforcement of the clients behaviors . That is, the therapist should make sure to reinforce healthy behavior from their client during their sessions.
How To Overcome Depression: In Conclusion
We all experience sad, challenging chapters in our lives just as we all experience change. And regardless of whether or not our outside circumstances drastically shift, if our minds change, everything can change. This is why some people have very few resources and swear that they are the happiest people on the planet, while others have literal fame and fortune and yet they struggle with depression and addiction.
If you are battle weary from depression, try challenging your next dark VOD. Try doing the opposite of what the voice of depression suggests. Try upgrading an unkind mind mood to a kinder, quiet one. Seek out safe support from someone who really understands. Practice compassionate inner dialogues and more spirit fillers than time killers. Make sure you are properly charging your body battery and see how the next chapter unfolds. Thank you for joining me. Take good care.
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