Psychological Methods To Beat Depression


A powerful self-control treatment program consists of the following important components:

Observing Yourself

In the viewpoint of a depressed person, depression usually seems to come for no apparent reason and from nowhere at all.  Research has been clearly presented that positive events or activities lead to positive moods, while negative events lead to depression. 

The depressed person must accept the fact that this is so, amidst having thoughts that the depressed feeling sprung out from nowhere.  So rate your mood on a 1 to 10 degree and keep a record every day of positive events and circumstances.  It is likely that your mood will mirror what is happening in your life.

We have seen that depressed people focus more on negative events of their lives and neglect or overlook positive ones.  They’re not wary of this situation and don't know they are doing this.  So, it is for your advantage to know the importance of making careful records and try to analyze what is happening in your life everyday. To do this, you must look for and record all gratifying events and activities, even little, trivial pleasant events. It is very important for you to learn again and see the greatness this world has to offer.

Feel the invigorating atmosphere and smell the flowers. Don't forget usual things like sipping a cup of coffee, assisting someone, taking a walk, watching a bird, reading a book, taking kids to school, watching your favorite program, reading an advice column, going shopping, listening to music, making yourself attractive, visiting a friend, completing a chore, daydreaming, playing with children, playing sports, expressing an opinion, getting a long kiss, getting or giving a compliment, and the act of smiling.

Jot this in your record book or so-called diary with a brief description of these pleasant events.

As that week of jotting down had passed, make a graph of your daily mood rating and number of pleasant events for that same day.  This must be done in the same graph. Then observe if your disposition doesn't go up and down according to how many pleasant events occurred that day. If so, this is a motivating push to increase the number of pleasant events in your life and to appreciate the nice things that happen.

Using this advice, you can have your simplified version of a "behavioral analysis" in which you would look for the previous situations and consequences of good and bad moods. Your objective in doing this is to find cause and affect relationships that can be used to boost your spirits and reduce depression.

Taking One Small Step at a Time

Some depressed people get disappointed when their desire for a better outcome results to disappointments.  One main reason is because their expectations overshadow the essential details of how to get there.  Impractical anticipations, like having your grade as all A's, may also lead to frustration and a low self-esteem. 

Thus, it is important to learn to have a well-defined plan, to set realistic goals and expectations, and to have some success experiences. It is valuable to be satisfied with small rewards and blessings.

Thus, you must make a decision on some practical, possible, important self-help project that will boost your confidence and vitality, such as working out to have a stunning body figure, increased exposure to people, learning to play basketball, spending more time alone with your spouse, or anything for that matter. 

Then, for each project goal set many clear and reachable sub-goals (small steps), perhaps things you could do every day.  Schedule your time, prioritize your tasks, and do all your best to become successful.  Jot down your progress in a diary or record book, along with the positive outcomes.

Evaluating Yourself

As you know, depressed people feel that they are to be blamed when things go bad and they’re "just at the right place and at the right time" when things go well.  Here’s an exercise to help you realize your value and reduce your accountability for negative events.

1. Think of a recent memorable event. Describe it.
2. List the means on what and how the contributions of other people, as well as things beyond human control, were responsible for this situation.
3. List the ways in which your efforts, talents, skills, experience, appearance, etc. were accountable for this event.
4. What rate or percentage of the responsibility/ accountability for this event was attributable to you?

You can try to do this for several events, including both positive and negative ones. You have almost always worked for positive events and against depressing events. So, if you do not think you are really the cause for more than half of the pleasant events, re-evaluate your explanation of those events and decide if you aren't causing more positive things than you thought.  It is a known fact that  depressed people belittle their own abilities.

After you have done the re-evaluation, if you can picture yourself as responsible for negative events - over half of the time - see if others aren't more accountable. You will come to realize that your abilities, traits, and contributions can cause good things to happen and that external factors beyond human control are accountable for the negative consequences.

Focusing on Future Events

When we are depressed, we have the tendency to concentrate on the past or to see initially the immediate consequences, and not the long-term positive results of what we are doing now. The trauma of sufferings in the past can make the depressed people focus their efforts on quick relief, and ignore circumstances that might be cumbersome but very critical or rewarding to their future. Become aware of the effects of your activities by analyzing the outcome of some activity each day.

Your outcome analysis is used to know the advantages and disadvantages of certain tasks, to accept challenges that have big potential, and to give emphasis on practical, long-term planning.  This is important for us to do, but it is even more essential and difficult for you if you are a pessimistic person with low self-esteem.

Reinforcing Yourself

Some depressed people feel that indulging themselves over rewards for any accomplishment is being egotistic.  This feeling or behavior becomes an obstacle in using some of the most powerful self-control tools, such as self-reinforcement and self-praise. 

It is normal to pat yourself in the back once in a while!

Research has shown that whenever we feel down and troubled we tend to do less pleasant activities, but just doing more enjoyable things is not an assurance to beating your depression.

However, actions do change feelings. You can increase your activity level, get out of your house then find something exciting and worthwhile to engage in. Start with easier tasks, and work up to more difficult ones. Track and reward yourself as you accomplish each task for motivation. 

Research also purports that an aerobic exercise program for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week lessen major depression as much or more than medication. Exercise would be good for you in many ways, not just with depression. Thus, seriously consider this:

Some studies shows that exercise alone three or five times a week for 30 minutes reduces depression by about 50%. That is as good as taking antidepressants or getting psychotherapy treatment.

Take a break from it all.

Get lots of rest, relaxation, and sleep always. Our interpersonal situation greatly influences your happiness and depression. It has been found that bashfulness, loneliness, dependency, and marital problems often precede the scene of depression. You should avoid these conditions as much as you can.
Try to change your depressing surrounding - working conditions, family relationships, stressful situations, and the like. Our mood reflects our environment.

Reduce the pessimistic and self-criticizing thoughts that characterize depressed people such as:
“I am always a failure.”
“This is a hopeless case.”
“I’m messing up again.”
“It will only get worse.”

To control these depressing thoughts, try restricting sad thoughts to specific times or places.

Then reward yourself upon eliminating negative thoughts, and replace them with positive visions.
Try your best to have a lot more positive thoughts.  Think that living is a gift, and you are very fortunate to have life until now.  Be thoughtful – then you will feel that your friends appreciate your efforts.  Realize that nothing in this world is permanent and that every problem has an end.  Know that you have the ability and talent to outshine others.

Even if you don't feel like having these things every hour, feel them anyway.  They will become part of your subconscious.

Be happy.  Feeling self-satisfaction may help you swing your mood from sad to pretty well. You can practice smiling more, acting in a more confident manner, dressing up more attractively, expressing compliments, and acting as though the future will be better. Acting happier can change your mood.

  • Action steps against depression
    If you anticipate a depressing event to occur, advanced planning could be used to reduce the negative outcome. Assume you have an idea that you are about to fail in your exams. Finding alternative solutions and seeking help on how to handle the situation could help.

  • Develop your social skills
    Different individuals require different social skills. The response of each individual to a certain situation varies greatly. Review your social skills and weaknesses, and improve on those deficiencies that you think are causing your depression.

  • Planning and time management
    Poor or no planning, and the inability to manage time, has caused a lot of people to become depressed. Some people thought that it is time-consuming to plan things out.