Best Practices for Managing Depression Symptoms in the Moment

Best Practices for Managing Depression Symptoms in the Moment

While depression is one of the most common concerns among our clients at Lansing Counseling, that doesn’t make it any less painful and difficult for those who are currently struggling with the effects of depression. Symptoms of depression range from mild to severe, and sadness is only one of them. However, anyone who has experienced symptoms of depression will tell you sad doesn’t even scratch the surface of what they’re feeling. Depression may lead to loss of interest in activities, severe fatigue or lack of energy, hopelessness, helplessness, loneliness, and generally low mood. To help clients who struggle with depression, we often use a specific approach to counseling called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps clients understand the interconnectedness of their thoughts, emotions, and actions and gives them tools to adjust their thinking, feeling, and acting in order to begin managing the often overwhelming symptoms of depression. In this blog, we’re going to talk through some of the ways you can manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the moment you experience depression symptoms.

Practices to Adjust Thinking

Some of the best practices to help adjust your negative thinking patterns include:

  • Pay attention – we often think negative and harmful things about ourselves so frequently that we stop noticing these thoughts. Pay attention to your thinking for 24 hours. Any time you think something negative about yourself, write it down. By simply noting these negative thoughts, you are taking a step toward changing negative thinking patterns.
  • Let it go – let go of past experiences. If you have one (or several) events that you constantly replay in your head wondering how you could have done things better, it’s time to redirect your thinking. These thought fixations, which your therapist may call ruminations, can be damaging since they tend to strip any happy or hopeful emotions associated with the memory and heighten sadness, anger, embarrassment, and other difficult emotions.
  • Challenge your thinking – when you experience negative thoughts or get stuck in a rumination loop, pay attention. Then, ask yourself questions to challenge this distorted thinking. Is your thinking accurate? If you had changed something in the event you’re ruminating on, would your life be significantly different now? How do other people perceive the experience?

Practices to Manage Feelings

Some of the best practices to help manage your emotions include:

  • Embrace your emotions – many people think of positive and negative emotions. Happiness is positive. Sadness is negative. Emotions are neither positive nor negative. They just are. Our feelings provide us with necessary information about how we’re dealing with the world around us, so if you feel sad, take time to consider why you’re having this feeling.
  • Process your feelings – Identify the feeling, its source (if there is one you know of), and what (if anything) you need to do about these feelings. Sometimes, feelings just need to be felt. Other times, they are telling us to take a specific action. Learning to know the difference is an essential aspect of developing emotional health.
  • Find an outlet – if you have a feeling that is pervasive (it won’t go away and/or it keeps getting stronger), you may need to find an outlet for this emotion. Creativity is often a great outlet for strong emotions. Sing a song, dance, write in a journal, draw a picture, build something. Exercise and otherwise being more active can also help to process emotions.

Practices to Modify Behaviors

Some of the best practices to modify behaviors include:

  • Self-Care matters – we’re not talking about face masks and bubble baths. This is the basics. Eat well. Stay hydrated. Sleep enough. Get plenty of exercise. Stay on top of your hygiene. It will make a huge difference in how you feel.
  • Complete something each day – set one small, achievable goal each day. It can be anything. Today, I’m going to do the dishes, make my bed, call my mom. Whatever it is, give yourself a chance to complete a task. This can build confidence and diminish negative self-talk.
  • Do something you love – movement can be a huge benefit for people who struggle with depression, but if you don’t love working out or running, you may just be heaping on top of your already low mood. Find activities that you do love, and try to do them more often. Dance. Ride your bike. Go for a walk. Even cooking dinner can be a great way to be active and engage with your environment.

Want to Talk to a Professional About Depression?

Depression can be a chronic and pervasive mood disorder. Whether you’re experiencing feelings of depression for the first time or you’ve struggled with symptoms of depression for as long as you can remember, therapy at Lansing Counseling may help. Our knowledgeable therapists utilize evidence-supported, effective approaches to therapy that are proven to help people manage depressed mood and lead lives filled with a whole range of emotional experiences. If you’re ready to learn more, get in touch with us today.

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Lansing Counseling

Lansing Counseling

5030 Northwind Dr Suite 101
East Lansing, MI 48823

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