You may have heard in the past to just “think positive” to overcome your depression. While that statement was most likely said with pure intentions, it can be frustrating to hear.
Depression is not a choice and it can affect anyone’s daily life, regardless of whether one chooses to think positively or not. But while the diagnosis is a difficult, often impossible, battle to overcome without treatment, there are several steps a person can take by themselves to help lessen symptoms. And one of them is to work on combating negative thoughts.
“Habitual negative thinking can lead to many problems,” Simon Rego, PsyD said. “First, given the connection between thoughts and emotions, it can serve to bring down or keep down your mood. Second, negative thoughts can influence the way you act and react, which can lead to a variety of problematic behaviors.” This could include cutting back on activities that can boost your mood, like socializing and exercising, and increasing activities that may intensify your bad mood — such as sleeping, eating, or drinking too much.
We’re not telling you that by thinking positively, your depression will be cured, but rather by making a conscious effort to stop thinking negatively you can enhance and encourage the effects of other treatment methods. The techniques listed below can help lessen symptoms and set you on the right path to healing.
Write Down Your Negative Thoughts
Getting your negative thoughts out of your head and down on paper can help you analyze them better and decide how logical they actually are. According to an article by UW Health, there are several types of self-talk, which is the commentary in your head.
- Focusing on the negative: This type of thought filters out the good and only focuses on the bad.
- Should: Statements that involve how you perceive you “should” act or be can set you up to feel bad, such as thinking you should have more friends or should be able to perform better at work.
- Overgeneralizing: This thought uses one example from your life and applies it to everything. These thoughts usually include words such as always or never.
- All-or-nothing thinking: Life is not always black or white so it can be hurtful to hold in thoughts of putting pressure on one thing happening or expecting nothing good to come if it doesn’t occur.
Depression and anxiety can give way to overthinking and putting yourself down. By noticing when you are thinking negatively, you can write down that thought and replace the hurtful self-talk with positive thoughts. This will also provide a clear record for you to track your progress and observe how your mindset improves over the weeks.
Talk to Somebody
Whether you visit with a therapist or you pull a friend or family member aside for a moment with their undivided attention, talking with someone about the negative thoughts you are having will not only help with feelings of loneliness and boost your mood, but it could also help you push the negative thoughts aside and find a positive perspective.
It can feel intimidating to come forward and admit to others that you are battling depression, but once that weight is lifted off of your chest, you will feel relieved and more comfortable reaching out to people for help. There is no shame in asking for help and you’ll find that others will want to see you better yourself.
Focus on Your Physical Well-being
In order to foster a healthy mindset, it’s important to also take care of your physical well-being. Yoga is a great activity to focus on relaxation and clearing your mind. During meditation classes, participants will learn breathing exercises that they can utilize in their own time.
Exercising, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, and avoiding drugs and alcohol can also work to boost one’s mood. Making better lifestyle choices can help to initiate positive thinking and lessen the symptoms of depression.
No one is alone in the fight against depression, even if negative thoughts can make one feel as if that is reality. Contact TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, at 610-820- 0700, if you or a loved one suffers from depression and/or anxiety. TMS therapy might be the right option for you.