Managing Depression with Mindfulness For Dummies
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Here are ten tips that are simple to follow to manage your depression with mindfulness and can act as effective reminders in a similar way that inspirational quotes do. These ten tips can help lift your mood and can potentially help you feel a little bit better about your own situation.

  • Acknowledge that you are already doing it! Acknowledging something good and meaningful about yourself during depression hardly ever comes naturally. Having said that whether you feel you can acknowledge that you are actually already taking an active part in your recovery or not, the fact is you have reached out for help.

    This way of looking at things can be very helpful as it makes it possible for you to understand that not only are you now on an evolving journey of potentially recovering from depression, but also that you can take further steps forwards in a way that is meaningful and personal to you.

  • Recognise that only you can find something that will motivate and support you. When it comes to finding a way through depression finding something to hold on to can be immensely helpful.

    Look for some idea or reason that will support your motivation to keep encouraging yourself in not only surviving depression but also in finding a way through it. For some people children and family can be the main motivation factor, for others the wish to be independent and healthy, still for other people the motivation can be one of simply not wanting to feel depressed anymore. Whatever it is for you, take your time to discover this and make it your own.

  • Risk trying again – but in a different way. It’s quite possible that you have tried many different ways and methods to get rid of your depression and perhaps feel that no matter how hard you’ve tried, you just were not able to let go of it and be happy. This is totally understandable and ok and is part of being depressed.

    Having said this, if you wish to potentially feel better you have to be willing to let go of your old ways of trying to get rid of depression and consider another more effective method. Rather than using willpower or unhelpful coping strategies that you know from experience do not work, begin to take stock of those strategies that do work or have worked and do more of that. This will support you to learn to live well and compassionately with depression rather than exhausting your efforts in trying to get rid of it.

  • Remind yourself that you don’t need to get rid of difficult feelings. Depression is a complex condition, and with that you can often feel like you have irreconcilable emotions that just won’t go away.

    Begin to develop an attitude of tolerance, acceptance and self-compassion despite having these feelings. In other words, you can begin to resist the need to fight them off and remind yourself that you can develop this capacity to feel whole and stable despite the inner conflicts.

  • Share your situation with someone you trust. Sharing your difficulty with another person can potentially bring in some freshness and perspective in your life. Depression can often cause severe isolation and can make you feel cut off from others, feeling like you are an outsider who just doesn’t belong. As a result you can end up suffering in silence and struggle deeply with our life on your own.

    Part of healing through depression means reaching out for support to someone you trust. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone.

  • Think of things you could do if you felt a little better. When your mood is low and you experience emotional pain for a continued period of time, your brain forgets what it feels like to experience enjoyment. This is partly because the parts of the brain that get activated during depression are almost the same as when you experience prolonged physical pain.

    One way to help regain your motivation to get better is to purposefully remind yourself of the things you used to enjoy. Recalling experiences that brought you enjoyment in the past can potentially trigger the part of the brain responsible for experiencing pleasure.

  • Find a role model who came through it. Finding someone else in similar shoes could help you begin to recognise that perhaps with the right support you too can begin to heal through depression and recover your sense of wellbeing just like they did. Knowing that someone else is living well with depression makes it more attainable and brings the light of possibility closer to you.

  • Watch inspirational or comedy films. Doing this can potentially lift your mood slightly. When your mood is lighter you feel better and feel naturally more motivated to do things you enjoy.

  • Find motivation by being grateful for the good things in your life. Gratitude is probably the last thing you might want to reflect on when you feel down and under. However, some research suggests that keeping a gratitude diary once a week can raise your mood levels and potentially ease the symptoms of mild low mood.

  • Continue reading books on how to get better. Becoming curious about subjects related to wellbeing can potentially inspire you to stay engaged in your own healing process.

    Reading books can also provide the opportunity to learn about other positive ways of working with depression. It can provide a fresh perspective on your situation and might help open some doors in terms of what other methods and disciplines can be of value to you.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Robert Gebka, a former Zen Buddhist monk, is a mindfulness trainer and executive director of the Dorset Mindfulness Centre. He works in mental health for Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses to the general public as well as business organisations. Robert is also a member of the National Counselling Society as well as the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

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