Says That You May Only Be Able To Tackle Small Activities When Depressed But You Can Progress To
The third step is to try engaging in more difficult activities. One man used all his energy to push himself to go to the gym every day during his depression and he also found he got distracted by Wimbledon! Another isolated man eventually started to play bowls, and was able to make valued friendships as well as become ‘one of the boys’ – something he had longed for in life. One young man was initially sceptical that his doctor’s advice to ‘do just physical things’ could work to help lift his depression. Nevertheless, he was pleasantly surprised to find that gardening made it easier for him to defeat negative thoughts.
+ Ways To Distract Yourself: The Ultimate List
Distraction as a coping mechanism can be useful for anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelming emotions, negative thoughts, pain, or emotional triggers. This post covers what distraction is, how its used as a coping mechanism, how it works, and over 200 ways to distract yourself.
When you grew up with abusive parents, you likely struggle with a lot of whats mentioned above.
You may have a lot of anxious or negative thoughts that often cause you to spiral into panic or hopelessness. Maybe, like me, you are easily triggered, which can cause overwhelming feelings, thoughts, and emotional flashbacks.
During times like that, you may be tempted to do whatever it takes to quiet those thoughts and emotions. But thats when youre at risk of resorting to unhealthy coping methods that end up hurting you more. I know Ive been there before.
This is where distraction comes in.
Resting/taking A Lot Of Breaks
Rest. Literally sounds ridiculous that someone would tell me Im lazy because I choose to rest when Im depressed instead of throwing myself into the deep end that will make me more depressed. Resting helps me recharge faster, and because Ive done this more, my depression episodes dont last as long. Sloane S.
When I am not at work I take breaks in between tasks. I lie down with my heating pad and just rest. I set an alarm in case I fall asleep to make sure I am on time for my next task. I still get done what I have to, but conserve energy on my low days so I wont get overly tired and quit. I allowed my depression to get so bad once that my house was disgusting and my friends who helped me move saw it and I was so mortified for them to see it, but too exhausted to clean. I swore never again, so I force myself to clean even if it means lying down after each room. Charly B.
If you can relate, check out this list of 24 motivation tips to get through the day when youre depressed.
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Ways To Try To Distract Yourself From Pain
Everyone needs to be distracted from time to time, whether from illness, whats going on around them or simply from life itself. Distractions dont take the problems away, but they might take your mind off whatever is bothering you. When youre living with pain, learning to distract yourself from it might help. A distraction might take your mind off the pain for a few minutes or even a few hours.
We need all the help we can get when we live with chronic pain because there is not one single stand-alone solution. Pain medication and some techniques like breathing and relaxation can help but distractions play an important role too. Im not suggesting that distractions can cure chronic pain but they can give us some breathing space.
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Women
The symptoms of depression in women vary from mild to severe and are distinguished by the impact they have on your ability to function. Common signs of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. You feel as if nothing will ever get better and theres nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- You dont care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, and social activities you used to enjoy.
- Appetite changes often leading to significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Changes in your sleep pattern.
- Feeling angry, agitated, restless.
Women also tend to experience certain depression symptoms more often than men. These include:
- Depression in the winter months due to lower levels of sunlight.
- Symptoms of atypical depression, where rather than sleeping less, eating less, and losing weight, you experience the opposite: sleeping excessively, eating more , and gaining weight.
- Strong feelings of guilt and worthlessness. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
If youre feeling suicidal
Problems dont seem temporarythey seem overwhelming and permanent. But if you reach out for help, you will feel better.
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Visualize A Daily Task You Enjoy Or Dont Mind Doing
If you like doing laundry, for example, think about how youd put away a finished load. The clothes feel warm coming out of the dryer. Theyre soft and a little stiff at the same time. They feel light in the basket, even though they spill over the top. Im spreading them out over the bed so they wont wrinkle. Im folding the towels first, shaking them out before folding them into halves, then thirds, and so on.
What To Say When Someone Is Depressed Or Anxious
You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: It seems like things have been hard for you lately. Whats on your mind? and: What can I do to help?
Something Ive learnt is to ask sincere, open-ended questions like, How does this feel? So the other person can feel supported, comforted and safe, rather than being told what to do. ayrc_1904
When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when youre both comfortable, relaxed and theres some privacy. Dont push them if they dont want to talk, and be there for them if they become upset. You might not have an answer or a solution, but just being there to listen can be super helpful.
It might be difficult for your friend to accept your help continue to check in with them and let them know that you care about them, and that youre there for them if they need you.
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Stop The Negative Self
Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong, they blame themselves, and when they go right, they put it down to luck. Depression reinforces self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness.
Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is being clouded by your depression. Dont take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Acknowledge the thoughts, but this doesnt mean you have to believe them.
How To Distract Yourself
Sometimes, distraction can help There are healthy ways to distract yourself from a breakup, depression, anxiety, panic attack, from eating, physical pain, stress, intrusive thought, sadness, thinking about someone, negative thoughts, OCD thoughts, smoking, hunger and etc. This is called purposeful distraction.
Purposeful Distraction is anything you do to temporarily take your attention away from strong emotion. Sometimes focusing on a strong emotion can make it feel even stronger and more out of control. Therefore, by temporarily distracting yourself, you may give the emotion some time to decrease in intensity, making it easier to manage.
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Trains Brain To Crave Dopamine
Often, when were distracting ourselves, were really doing one thing: searching for our next dopamine hit. Whether were craving salty, fatty potato chips or another Facebook like or the thrill of a loot box, distractions are really a hunt for happiness.But cheap thrills have big consequences. Dopamine makes us want more. Soon, youre not just excited about new Instagram followers. Youre craving them, and you start dreaming of bigger and bigger numbers. It becomes a primary focus at the expense of important physical must-haves, like exercise, healthy foods, and social interactions.If you notice yourself stuck in a pleasure-reward pathway, its time to step away.
Why We Need Distraction From Depression
We need distraction from depression because our thoughts determine our feelings. Therefore, it follows that our depressed feelings come about because of our depressed thoughts. If all we are ever doing is thinking depressed thoughts, all we will ever likely feel is our depressed moods.
I often tend to ruminate. I will obsess over events, things said to me, and things Ive said to others. I can get caught in a thought loop where I think and think about whatever is bothering me at the moment and has captured my attention. My mind tells me that I need to solve this problem. Yet when Im reliving mistakes Ive made, there is nothing to solve. The constant dwelling just makes me feel worse.
When I can distract myself with enjoyable, productive activities, I find that my mood improves greatly. And Im not the only one. Studies show that:
. . . the use of distracting activities as a means of coping with depression has been shown to have a more positive influence on the management of depression and to result in a greater reduction in depression than the use of more self-focused or introspective activities such as journal keeping or identifying positive and negative adjectives that describe one’s current mood.1
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Ways To Help Yourself Through Depression
If you are going through depression, it’s best to get help from a therapist. To get the most from your therapy, you can do things to help yourself too.
Here are 5 things you can do to feel better. They may seem simple, but they can help a lot.
Impacts Your Brain Health Too
Multitasking with your favorite distraction isnt just bad in the corporate world. In addition to spiking the dopamine feedback loop, our brains get a thorough beating from the modern world. Spending too long scrolling can spike your cortisol, which increases stress, and adrenaline, which leads to a fight-or-flight reaction. The result? Fuzzy thinking and trouble concentrating.This goes double if youre trying to learn and distract yourself simultaneously. Studying for your stats exam while watching old episodes of The Office might seem like a phenomenal idea, but your professor might just disagree. Science says that multitasking makes it hard to absorb new information. Instead of storing itself in the hippocampus where information is easy to retrieve that essential knowledge goes to the striatum, which holds procedures and skills.If youre distracting yourself to get through a dull work or school task, try hard to focus. Otherwise, you might wind up wondering where all that information went.
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Put Your Thoughts On The Witness Stand
Once you identify the destructive thoughts patterns that contribute to your depression, you can start to challenge them with questions such as:
- Whats the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?
- What would I tell a friend who had this thought?
- Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?
- How might I look at this situation if I didnt have depression?
As you cross-examine your negative thoughts, you may be surprised at how quickly they crumble. In the process, youll develop a more balanced perspective and help to relieve your depression.
Solo Activities To Help With Depression
Coping with depression can feel like an uphill battle as it saps your energy, motivation and self-esteem. Finding ways to climb out of a depressive episode is not easy, but understanding the illness and how it affects you specifically is the first step to being able to find the coping mechanisms that work best for you.
While spending time with trusted loved ones and going to therapy regularly are healthy ways to cope, sometimes depression makes you want to hide. Luckily, many things can help distract from the debilitating feelings of this mood disorder.
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Ask A Doctor If Medication Is Right For You
Antidepressants are generally the first medical treatment that your doctor will try. If you have already tried an antidepressant without success, don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for the medication to begin working. And if you’ve been taking antidepressants for a while, stopping abruptly can result in withdrawal.
Not everyone reacts the same to a specific medication. Sometimes it’s a matter of trying a different antidepressant, finding the right combination of antidepressants, or adjusting the dosage.
A review of 522 different studies on antidepressants found that a majority of people have a reduction in symptoms in the first two months after starting antidepressants.
It’s important to remember that either changing medications or adding additional ones can improve recovery rates. Don’t give up on treatment too early.
Manage Your Stress Levels
If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it, such as learning a few time-management techniques.
Introduce regular exercise and time to yourself. These are positive changes. Taking control of your time in this way can effectively reduce stress.
If you have feelings of anxiety along with your stress, breathing techniques can help. Try this breathing exercise for stress.
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Socialize With Friends And Family
Even if you are experiencing mild depression or a funk, you might find yourself drawing away from others, avoiding social situations, or not wanting to burden people with your feelings. One of the hardest but most helpful things you can do to see yourself through depression is to find that strong support circle and spend time with the people you love.
Schedule times to visit with family and friends or plan to grab lunch with a coworker so you have a specific time and place where you can lean on others when youre feeling blue. You might also find that some of these people have experienced depression themselves and they might be able to relate with you on the subject and share ideas of what has helped them in the past or just lend an open ear.
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Listen To Upbeat Music
I have always thought of music as food for the soul. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.
One study found that findings indicate that music listening impact the psychobiological stress system, which means music has the ability to lower stress and regulate mood. Both of these can help relieve some symptoms of depression.
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Healthy Ways To Distract Yourself From Pain
Chronic pain can be made worse by stress, anxiety, and depression. Not only can our negative emotions and mental state make pain worse, but pain can make us more depressed, stressed, and anxious. This can create a vicious cycle of chronic pain and chronic depression or anxiety. However, there are ways to help you cope with the stress and anxiety and make you feel better. In the long run, this can help with managing your chronic pain.
Listen To Uplifting Music
I say uplifting music because some music may have the potential to make you feel worse. Whatever your genre of music preference is, music has the ability to help you forget about your troubles and lift your mood.
In a review of 9 research studies, psychological therapy was found to be more effective when combined with music therapy for improving mood through emotional expression.
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Ways To Distract Yourself
- Bite into a chilli
- Chewing leather
- Draw over all your old scars, which will provide a repetitive action and hopefully will relieve urges.
- Draw yourself or around your arm on a piece of paper, draw the harm you are imagining then destroy the picture
- Drawing on yourself in red marker
- Make ice cubes with added red food colouring and rub them on where you want to self-harm
- Mix warm water and food colouring and put it on your skin
- Putting on fake or henna tattoos and then peeling them off
- Putting plasters or bandages on where you want to self-harm
- Snapping an elastic band on your wrist
- Squeezing ice cubes
- Take a hot shower and use a good exfoliating body wash and a sponge or glove and scrub!
- Take a photo of yourself when you are feeling upset, write all over it how you are feeling then destroy the picture.
- Use skin coloured plasticine, smear it on your skin, cut into the plasticine pour fake blood or food colouring into the fake cut.
- Use stage makeup to create fake injuries
- Going for a drive/bike ride/ bus ride/walk/ run
- Going to the gym
- Having a pillow fight with the wall
- Playing catch with a ball
- Playing with a stress ball
- Plucking your eyebrows
- Ripping up paper into small pieces
- Shouting and screaming
- Stamping your feet