How To Stop The Spiral Of Depression
Catching ourselves in the moment of negative thinking, and then changing them to actions are the keys to shifting our mood. Becoming fixed, or only focusing on things that are out of our control is draining and causes depression to become worse. It’s not good or productive for healing or growth.
The downward spiral. Varying factors contribute to the onset of depression, so Where you learn to stop the spiral is unique to your own goals and experiences, but little things Rumination, or focusing on meaning and thoughts, leads individuals into deeper spirals, and this is how they become stuck.
A depression self-care checklist to help you break out of the downward spiral. Follow this simple checklist and get your mind back on track. When I get depressed the first thing I stop doing is cleaning up after myself. Unfortunately, when you stop washing dishes, things get out of control fast.
The chart below is from of a report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield, an insurance company who examined their data base of 41 million Blue Cross Blue Shield What can you do to maintain your mental health or reverse the course of depression without taking medications like anti-depressants?
What to do when the moment of anxiety ends. Learning to calm your anxiety in the moment is crucial. But making those anxiety spirals less frequent means Guglielmo D, et al. Symptoms of anxiety and depression among adults with arthritis United States, 2015-2017. Centers for Disease Control and.
Ask For A Reality Check
Sometimes, a voice that isnt your own can help you realize that most often, your thoughts arent true. Taking a reality test with a friend, who will question your thoughts and ask you to find evidence of them being truefor instance, the irrational fear of you suddenly deciding you fail at everything you put your mind tocan really help put things in perspective, says Lundquist. This friend can offer alternate thoughts, distract you, and recommend other ways to deal with your emotions.
Anxiety And Depression Coping Method #1 Exercise:
When you exercise, it releases positive endorphins into your body. This in turn helps you feel good, and it pushes anxiety and depression that much farther away. Whenever Ive fallen into a slump, Ive usually stopped exercising.
Keep in mind for me exercising is doing something outside that I enjoy. Im not a person who visits a gym. In fact, I snowboard in the winter to stay in shape. During the summer I play volleyball, bike, and work construction .
Even something simple like going for a walk can be beneficial. The key is to remove yourself from the stress and do something where youll have an elevated heart rate.
No matter what you do, make yourself get tired or exhausted at the end of it. Youll be amazed at how much better you feel. Minus the soreness the next day, but thats also a triumphant pain.
You did something good.
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Three: Challenge Your Anxiety
Similar to the so-what game, we need to learn to challenge our anxieties. For most of us, our anxieties are perceived notions, stories weve made up to be true, when, in fact, there is nothing truthful about them. Ask yourself, is this anxiety real, or is it perceived? Then ask, is this something likely to happen or unlikely to happen? If its unlikely, like getting swallowed into a black hole, then put it in its place and move on. If it is likely, then make a plan to combat it.
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How To Stop Feeling Depressed
Before I begin, I want to say Im not a doctor. Im just talking from my personal experience and sharing with you the steps I took to get out of depression. If you have chronic depression and you cant resolve it, please consult a professional instead.
Here are 9 different ways to stop feeling depressed.
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Reversing The Downward Spiral To Depression Takes Less Energy Than You Think
Depression and loss of energy it is the beginning of a waiting game that does not end well.
Sometimes depression is born from loss of achievement, loss of goals, and loss of positive feelings about oneself. When low energy plays a role, a person who is not blessed with high drive and physical energy can see a spiral into depression start quickly. But even people with more energy lose it while bearing the weight of the losses. And, without a lot of energy, people begin to wait for things to get better around them rather than take action to make change.
Spiraling the word makes it seem like a gentle way to go down, but when it comes to depression, going down is hard to stop, and once at the bottom, reversing the spiral takes intention and support. I hear about this often from my younger depressed clients those adults who started out of high school or college ready to be successful but who found the world did not fulfill the vision they had.
How is it possible to reverse the spiral? Raising energy is a primary initial goal with or without motivation. To start the spiral on an upward trend, simply:
Stop telling yourself negative things: you only reinforce the belief they are true. Interfere with negativity, saying , Stop! I choose to believe I will solve this!
S To Stop The Downward Spiral
Im pretty open about my journey with depression. But I dont think you have to struggle with DEPRESSION to know the battle of the emotional downward spiral.
Ah, The Downward Spiral.
The truth is, even on anti-depressants, I still battle that downward spiral. For many of us, being swept into that emotional landslide can be triggered by a variety of things. Perhaps you know your triggers. Or maybe it blindsides you.
Regardless of the cause, most of us know the spiral when were in it.
Although I cant always avoid the emotional spiral completely, I HAVE learned some reliable ways to STOP IT. Here are five tried-and-true ways to stop the downward spiral:
1. Get perspective.
Put things in perspective and rate your situation on a scale of 1 to 10. I know it sounds too simple to work, but it can be very effective. Heres what I sounded like just this morning:
Today FEELS LIKE a Level 9 crisis. Molly woke up with a nightmare at 1:30 AM, Owen got up for the day at 5:45 AM, and there is not enough coffee ON THE PLANET for this day Im tired. Just being awake feels overwhelming. I FEEL LIKE Level 9.
But what is the ACTUAL crisis level? I set aside the feelings. I look at the facts. And I realize there is no actual crisis. At least not a Level 9. Really, this morning just feels harder than my PREFERRED way to start the day. So well be generous and give it a 2.
Now, I can start dialing my Level 9 emotions down to Level 2 reality.
2. Get grateful.
3. Get outside.
4. Get sweaty.
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How To Stop The Downward Spiral Of Depression
Since battling depression since the age of 12 I have devised a few sure-proof ways to stop or pause the downward spiral that is so commonly associated with depression or mental anguish. I would like to share them with you in the hopes that maybe you will find something that can help you out today wherever you are at mentally and emotionally.
At university In 1995, I was referred to the campus doctor for crippling depression, then released with no support network. From there, making today better for myself was all I focused on for years into my recovery. Sometimes Id forget to do that. 24 years on and some days I struggle to get out of bed until I remind myself of my little mantra: You can make today better. Sometimes that means going out for coffee with a friend. Other days it means just getting out of bed, having a shower and getting dressed. For quite a while, I could only focus on how to make the day bearable for my children, protecting them from my depression because doing even that took a huge amount of effort.
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Use Your Logical Brain
Once youve dialed down your catastrophic thinking to its source, take time to dissect your specific anxieties about the issue. Now is a great opportunity to practice your meditation skills, lest you fall into yet another spiral during the dissection! Perhaps learning how to drive terrifies you, and your thinking catastrophizes every time you get behind the wheel.
Use logic to help defeat your wily brain. A lot of panic comes down to overestimating the true chances of danger. Learning the facts may sooth your mind: Research how often car accidents happen and read up on best driving practices to ensure that youre the safest driver you can be.
Are your concerns health-related? While it might seem scary, the best cure is seeing your doctor. Or if youre struggling at work, talk it through with your boss chances are theyll be more kind and receptive than you expected.
Remember To Be Grateful
Another small change that can promote happiness is embracing gratitude. According to Korb, feeling grateful has many positive effects on the brain, including boosting the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Gratitude toward others can activate the social dopamine circuits and encourage social interactions, which can help reduce depression.
If youlike many people when they are sadhave trouble finding something to be grateful for, it doesnt matter. The act of trying by itself can still have a positive impact on your mood.
Its not finding gratitude that matters most its remembering to look in the first place, wrote Korb. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.
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How To Stop Those Negativity Spirals
You do something impulsive, or under stress. Instantly, you feel ashamed and embarrassed, which turns into frustration, anger, despair, or anxiety.
The more you feed intense feelings with negative thoughts, the more emotional distress you inflict on your ADHD brain.
Break that unhealthy spiral with these strategies.
Moving Through Moving To: Six Gentle Steps To Get Out Of The Dark
In my many musings, I have found a natural progression that helps us out of our darkest places. I call it Moving Through, Moving To, and, in this case, it means moving toward a little Hope.
When nothing else seems to work amidst the immobilizing fear and grip of extreme anxiety or depression, this progression has helped me move gently, first out, then up. I only hope it might help you to do the same. In this gentle process, I first outline the step, then demonstrate an example in italics. Please feel free to cater it to what feels right for you.
Step One: I am
In my depressive worst, at the bottom of the barrel, there are times when I cant even move. I dont want to do anything. I dont want to say anything, and I cant explain it. I could call someone, but no. I could get out, and eat something sweet. But no. Yet if I can, I try to muster the strength to at least say how I feel, at least to myself. Because its not like I want to be there. So, I try to get it onto the page. I try to at least say the words of the worst, of where Im at, what I am, and how I feel, simply.
I call this the I am stage: I am miserable. I am awful. I am broken. I am battered. I am lost. I am afraid. I am. Just let it out.
Step Two: You are
Step Three: You will
Talk to yourself. Write it down.
Step Four: I will
Step Five: I am
Step Six: You are
Last medically reviewed on May 20, 2020
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A Slip Doesnt Always Mean A Relapse
One of the things we might fear when we can feel things slipping is that well end up in the middle of a relapse. It can be scary to be facing that. Living with mental ill health can be a lonely and painful place to be. Once weve managed to improve things a little, the prospect of being in a horribly low place again can be terrifying.
A slip doesnt always mean a relapse. Our mental health naturally fluctuates, its not ever static , and that fluctuation can be influenced by several factors. At other times, it might be the beginning of a downward spiral. But if we have an idea of our early warning signs, and some plans as to what to do about them, it can help us to stop our mental health from deteriorating further.
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When Loneliness And Social Anxiety Are At Odds With One Another
When we are living with social anxiety, it makes socialising really difficult. We might find ourselves feeling very isolated and lonely. Loneliness is damaging to our overall health. Feeling connected and having a sense of belonging are needs we all have. When we have social anxiety and feel lonely, the two can feel at odds with one another with conflicting needs and feelings.
Re-Learning To Socialise When Were Out Of Practice
Rethink What It Means To Have A Social Life
You dont have to go out to brunch and bars in order to stay social.
Nows the time to tap into the many different options for digital communication, including video hangouts, Netflix parties, and a good old-fashioned phone call.
Scheduling regular times to gather virtually with friends can help keep you from slipping too far into isolation.
Feeling anxious about making the first move toward socializing? Think of it this way: For once, everyone else is in the exact same boat as you.
Your friends and acquaintances are stuck at home too, and hearing from you might be just what they need to feel better about the situation.
This is also an opportunity to spend time with our furry, feathered, and scaly friends, as pets can offer great company and stress relief when you cant get the human connection you need.
Look around you right now. Is your homes appearance chaotic or calming? Does it make you feel trapped or comfy?
Now more than ever, the state of your space can make a difference for your mental health.
You dont necessarily have to keep your home looking immaculate, but even a few small steps toward decluttering can help make your space feel warm and welcoming, rather than a place youd like to escape.
Try taking one thing at a time, like clearing the pile of clothes from your bed one day and putting clean dishes away the next.
No matter how much effort you put in, it can still be difficult to prevent and cope with depressive episodes all on your own.
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What To Do About It
Planning for the bad times can be triggering in itself, it can take us back to where we dont ever want to be again. It can feel as though being ready for another grotty period, can somehow think it into being. But theres also something quite comforting and reassuring about having a process in place which helps us to take action earlier on in the downward spiral than we might have done in the past.
Our toolkit might include some daily self-care non-negotiables the things we know nourish us and keep us mentally well. A list of emergency self-care for the tougher times. A list of organisations we might reach out to for support. Maybe we give our loved ones a list of what they might be able to do to reach-in. Perhaps we have a crisis plan in place just in case and its communicated to our loved ones so that they understand how and when to help.
Then, when we start to experience and notice our early warning signs, were not put on the spot, we know what to do. Whether thats to up the self-care ante, ask for help, accept help from our loved one or use the crisis help available. We can use our hindsight, as our foresight too.
Session : Recognizing Aversion
Session 4 can feel daunting as we move up close to depression while exploring ways to stay in the present moment. Settling and grounding are important, so the teacher ensures that time is provided for people to take their shoes off and wriggle into positions of wakefulness, comfort, and ease before moving to a full sitting practice with focus on the sensations of breathing, the body, receiving sounds, and being with the coming and going of thoughts.
In the inquiry that follows, the topic of thoughts is pursued, which beautifully illustrates the growing awareness participants are experiencing about their minds and hearts in the present moment. One participant mentions, I am finding it harder. I found I was so calm that there were fewer thoughts. I felt as if I needed to bring them in and noticed I dont want to do this now. Another adds, I noticed that I assumed that there would be such a rush of thoughts but it was the opposite, they were not there, so I almost needed to look for them.
Mike gives an example of thoughts leading to a downward spiral:
Mike: I had thoughts about having depression. And with that was a sadness. I was glad when the bell went.
Teacher: And what is your experience now?
Mike: Still feeling a bit low and disappointed and very anxious as well.
Teacher : This reminds me of the Niagara Falls metaphor and how the thoughts can so quickly drag us down the river, pulling us towards the falls.
Alicia R. Fenley, … David A. Langer, in, 2021
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