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Heading Off Depression

For many, depression can be hard to control, and many times you have to learn how to live with it while it’s there. Nobody is ever totally free of sadness, we wouldn’t be human if we were, but we don’t want to be engulfed in depression either.   Now Psychology Today has listed some ways you can try to head depression off at the pass before it becomes overwhelming, as well as ways you can keep loneliness from turning into depression.   Trying to Prevent Depression From Spreading A lot of times it’s hard to tell if you’re depressed or just sad and lonely. As Psychology Today explains, people at risk for depression can feel lonely, and when you’re by yourself and have too much free time on your hands, dark thoughts can take root. You can be harshly judgmental towards yourself, you can develop a bad self-image, and it can turn into an awful vicious cycle.   So whenever possible, we should try to head off feelings of loneliness before they develop into depression or worse. Here are some tips that Psychology Today highly recommends.   Tips For Heading Off Depression The first tip this story recommends is “work on increasing your social support.” Mental health issues, like addiction, can’t be beaten alone, and we all have times when we need to talk to people and work out our problems.   In a recent study, it was unclear if having a smaller social circle increased some people’s depression or not, but if you can indeed increase your support system when fighting depression or other mental health issues, it’s definitely helpful. Another part of battling depression is developing better social skills so you aren’t as alone and lonely.   Next is implementing mindfulness techniques to keep yourself from dwelling on your bad feelings. This story uses a good term: ruminate. It’s another way of saying that people can dwell on their problems and bad feelings, and are taking a long time to leave them behind.   Certainly, there are times it’s hard to stop obsessive thoughts and leave them behind, but mindfulness training can help. Understanding that what you’re feeling is in your head, and learning how not to dwell on your bad feelings is something you should discuss with a psychiatrist or mental health professional. (There are plenty of tools and coping skills that can help in this regard.)   This story also recommends practicing self-compassion and repeating self-affirming messages to yourself. Perfectionism can drive a lot of self-defeating behavior, whether we realize it or not. It’s okay to recognize your limitations and embrace them, rather than beat yourself up over them.   And one of the most important this story recommends is “practice emotional suppression and reappraisal.” Managing feelings is important. Some situations won’t change right away, but it’s how you deal with them that is important. When you change how you look at things, it can change a lot in your life. Depression and loneliness may not go away right away, but with practice, you can learn how to keep from dwelling on it and feel better about yourself.

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