Knowing there is an increasing amount of people suffering with this mental health illness I am aiming to share the techniques I used in how to overcome depression in order to help others through their difficult journey when the tablets just don’t seem to be enough to make change happen.
Before you read any further please let me affirm that each and every patient suffering with a mental illness is ‘unique’ and the techniques discussed here worked for ME, you may need a different diagnosis and I believe you should ALWAYS consult a medical professional ASAP.
Step 1 : Assess what is making you feel depressed.
When I first had my severe mental breakdown and a feeling of deep depression I was advised by a loved one to write down my thoughts, what I was thinking from the very deepest and darkest thought to a moment of ecstasy that happen rarely when you are in this visually hidden form of disease.
This really did help because it emptied my head of the thoughts that were draining my energy and it also helped my doctor to see exactly what was going on inside my mind, very useful for a psychologist or mental health professional.
It also has the benefit of when you get well again you can look back at the book and see how much progress you have made
Step 2 : Exercise and get out the house
There is nothing worse than being stuck in your home, looking at the same four walls and not getting your daily Vitamin D and interacting with fellow human beings. Forcing yourself to go for walks, even if it is just 5 minutes around the local housing estate will give you a slight lift and then as you begin to make progress you can try going further and further.
When I was depressed I had moved back home with my family and they had just bought a little white Westland Terrier called Harry. If you own a dog think about his needs and how he ( or she ) loves to go for walks, seeing the joy in your pets eyes can give you an extra lift as you start to make progress on getting out and about.
Exercise doesn’t mean you need to go down the gym! Xbox 360 and the wii now make it easy to exercise in your living room. This is how I started exercising, I used the Nintendo Wii in combination with taking my dog for three walks a day and I ended up loosing 2 stone in 6 months and feeling much better for it too!
Step 3 : Meditate regularly and be aware of your thoughts
Meditation is a fantastic tool that stops your mind from over thinking things too much. You slow down your breathing and become aware of your inhalation and exhalation and your mind begins to empty of ALL thoughts, it may sound impossible but once you have done it just a few times you will see the benefit of this fantastic healing tool. Doing a guided meditation from a CD is a good starting place to get the idea of how meditation works and is how I found it to be useful.
When you are having negative thoughts in day to day life ask yourself why you are thinking that thought and then rationalise, is that thought really what is happening or is it your perception? Those in the medical profession call this CBT but I just call it common sense! When I fell ill the doctors ( after 3 months of waiting ) gave me 5 1 hour sessions of CBT and I did find it a beneficial tool.
Once you start to apply some of these strategies you will begin to feel a little bit lifted. I may make it sound easy but this wasn’t in a week, a month or even 6 month healing process.
To overcome depression it has taken me two years and I still occasionally feel those negative thoughts creeping in but I do my best to use CBT and meditation to help me control those thoughts. There are other strategies I could recommend such as EFT , hypnotherapy and even considering relocating can help in the healing process but I find that overcoming depression really starts with finding what is making you feel that way and then starting from there.
How do you find techniques to overcome negative thinking and what do you find works for you? Did you find anti-depressants help or did they not really seem to make a difference after a while? Please comment in the box below.