Create a Personal Early Warning System for Depression - dummies

Create a Personal Early Warning System for Depression

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

As you become more mindful, you begin to notice some typical warning signs that depression may be coming. For example, you may start to feel tense in your chest, begin criticizing everyone, feel irritable all the time or avoid meeting up with friends. When you notice these early warning signs, you can take action to nip the process in the bud instead of fighting or running away from the feeling.

To help you take wise action when you notice yourself slipping into a low mood, creating an early warning system especially for you is useful. In this system, you list all your typical early warning signs and mindful action strategies that you can try out to cope.

Here are some examples of mindful action strategies that may well work for you:

  • Carrying out the three-minute breathing space meditation, or simply experiencing your breathing for a few minutes.

  • Doing whatever work you need to do next in a really mindful way, fully connecting with your senses.

  • Going for a walk or jog.

  • Phoning or meeting up with a friend or other positive, supportive person.

  • Practicing your favorite hobby with mindful awareness.

These activities can be something that gives you a sense of mastery or a pleasurable activity. You can create your own system using the following worksheet.

Your Early Warning System for Depression
My Early Warning Signs My Mindful Action Strategies
My Thoughts My Feelings My Bodily Sensations My Behaviour