Saturday, January 14, 2006

Does A Powerful Self Image Keep Depressive Illness At Bay? Part 2 - By Christopher Ruane

Depressed people feel that they are to be blamed when things go wrong 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 feelings of bad luck towards life events that seem to plague you.

Think of a recent memorable event. Describe it. Think about how the contributions of other people, as well as things beyond control, were responsible for this event. List the ways in which your efforts, talents, skills, experience, appearance, etc. were accountable for this event. What rate or percentage of the responsibility/ accountability for this event was attributable to you? Was any of it due to you at all ?

Do this for several events, both positive and negative. You have almost always worked for positive events and against depressing events. So, you can now decide if you aren't causing more positive things than you thought. It is a known fact that depressed people belittle their own abilities.

Ok, if you can see yourself as responsible for negative events -over half of the time - see if others aren't responsible. You will come to realize that your abilities, traits, and contributions can cause good things to happen and that usually external factors beyond your control are explain the negative outcomes.

What does the future hold for me ?

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 sufferings in the past can make the depressed people ignore events and circumstances that might be awkward but very critical or rewarding to their future. Become aware of the effects of your internal voice that no one else hears except you by analyzing the outcome of some activity each day.

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.

Reinfore Yourself as a worthwhile person Some depressed people feel that indulging themselves over rewards for any accomplishment is being egotistic. 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 symptoms of depression. However, actions do change feelings and can steer you away from depressive illness.

You can increase your activity level, find something exciting and worthwhile to engage in. Start with easy tasks, and work up to harder. Reward yourself as you accomplish each task for motivation. It gives you the incentive to keep on trying.

Research also indicates 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.
Some studies shows that exercise alone three or five times a week for 30 minutes reduces symptoms of depression by about 50%. That is as good as taking antidepressants or getting psychotherapy treatment. However if you suffer from severe depression this alone will not cure you, but it will help.

Get lots of rest, relaxation, and sleep always. Our personal situation greatly influences your happiness and depression. It has been found that loneliness, dependency, and marital problems often precede an episode of depressive illness.

Try to change your depressing surrounding - working conditions, family relationships, stressful situations, and the like. Our mood reflects our environment.

What to say when you talk to yourself

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 every time you have low moods.

Try your best to have a lot more positive thoughts. Be thoughtful – then you will feel that your friends appreciate your efforts. Realize that nothing in this world is insurmountable and that every problem has solutions.

Be happy. Feeling self-satisfaction may help you swing your low mood from sad to happy. 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 and thinking happy thoughts can change your mood and this feeds into your mind.

For more related information visit: - a site that offers advice for avoiding, coping with depression. Get professional knowledge on dealing with symptoms, drug side effects and improving your life!

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