Seven Ways to Lift Depression
There are concrete actions you can take. I know this because I've worked with people who believed their depression would never lift, and I've seen them take action to turn the corner and find the peace, love, and joy they'd been yearning for.
There is hope. You can dig yourself out of this over or under whelming feeling. Here are seven ways to do it.
1. Reach out to someone safe for support. Don't be alone with your feelings of hopelessness. You only have one perspective: yours. Two heads really are better than one, and other people can help you find new opportunities, solutions, and insights that you might not have otherwise seen. There's always someone out there--a family member, friend, counselor, or support group--ready to listen. Sometimes it's easier to seek support from a stranger, and that's exactly what community hotlines are good for.
2. Be open to medication. Don't judge yourself for needing help. Depression can deplete your energy and erode your health. It's a very real, physical condition, and there's no shame in admitting you can't heal yourself. Medication may help at times like this--even if it's short-term, to get you through some rough times. When you're feeling really bad, it's good to consult a doctor to determine if medication might help you manage these intense, down feelings that don't seem to lift. And know it might take trying out several before you find one that works for you.
3. Focus on specifics and take little doable steps. Don't lump all your woes together. This is called globalizing, and it will cause you to feel overwhelmed. Try not to use words like "always," "never," and "everything," as in, "I always get into this fix, and it never works out. Everything in my life is a total mess." You'll only sink deeper into despair. Instead, deal with one challenge at a time.
Write down specific issues you're bummed about: relationship, job, death, made a mistake, health, not having friends, no money, etc. This will enable you to deal with one specific loss, hurt, regret, injustice, violation, or threat at a time. It may take some time, but the progress you make in one area will help in other troublesome areas.
4. Don't dismiss your emotions as unimportant. When you deny your emotions, you start to create blocks that will deplete you. Soon you'll be spending all of your energy trying to act different from how you really feel--and avoiding the sadness, fear, and anger that is trapped inside of you.
Get that emotional energy out of your body physically (even if it feels like the last thing you want to do) by crying, pounding, and shivering. Make sounds to voice your emotions. If you're crying about a loss, say "Good-bye!" to what you lost while you cry or just say "I feel sad." For feelings of anxiety, shiver while saying, "I'm feeling scared." Acknowledge your rightful anger by pounding the heck out of something inanimate, like a mattress, while just making sounds (like growling, for example) or saying, "I feel so angry!" You'll feel so much better.
5. Wage a battle against downer thoughts. Don't let
negative thoughts go unchallenged. Practice interrupting old spin and stretch your brain to find something positive from every interaction. Take control over downer thoughts, such as "There's no hope" or "Life is bleak."
Interrupt and replace future-oriented thoughts by repeating a statement such as, "Be here now. I don't know the future. What's one positive thing I can do for myself today/right now?" Quickly replace thoughts of unworthiness with "I'm doing the best I can. I'm a good person. I'm whole and complete. My job is to take care of myself."
6. Abandon "waiting." Don't wait for someone to rescue you. Pulling yourself out of despair can't happen until you acknowledge that you need to take action. Behavioral and emotional change has to start with you.
Work to give up unfounded hopes or waiting for others to change. Write down all the things you wish were different, then take the first statement and put before it, "I give up all hope that..."For example, "I give up all hope that my parents will ever understand me," or "I give up all hope that my boyfriend will be faithful." Keep repeating the statement, constructively express any anger or sadness that arises, interrupt destructive thinking, and focus on what you are saying. Soon you'll be able to see what's true for you and what's in your control to do right now about each item.
7. Refocus on connecting to yourself. Don't judge yourself harshly. It may have taken many months or years of accumulated disappointments, missteps, and life circumstances to get to the state of despair in which you find yourself.
Ask yourself, "What's my purpose? What are my goals?" Keep asking daily. Write your answers. Persist until you come up with ones that resonate as true. Then remind yourself of your goals and purpose daily. Set out a series of small steps to get to your goal and just do one or two little steps daily.