1. Challenge Thought Distortions
Have you ever thought you were worthless? Useless? Helpless? A waste of time and space?
These are examples of thought distortions or automatic negative thoughts.
Luckily, these can be challenged through something called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.
What CBT teaches us to do is to take our automatic negative thoughts and turn them into positive or realistic statements. For example:
- I am worthless -> I have just as much worth as every other human on this planet.
- Nobody loves me -> I have a loving, supportive family and a good network of friends.
- I am a bad person -> I do the best I can to be a good person, and that is enough.
2. Positive Affirmations
A positive affirmation is something positive you can say to yourself to motivate you to keep going.
Positive affirmations can be written on index cards and taken with you everywhere or posted in places that you feel especially self-critical, such as by the mirror.
Some examples of positive affirmations are:
- I am so strong
- I am a beautiful person
- I deserve love and happiness
3. Self Care
Any activity that is self-soothing can be counted as self care; this can be anything from coloring to taking a bath.
Some common self care activities are:
- Baths, especially with bath bombs or essential oils
- Coloring, painting, drawing
- Applying lotion
- Grooming yourself
- Taking time to relax
- Painting your nails
These are just a few examples, but there are many, many ways to go about administering self-care. Whatever works for you is the right choice!
Personally, this is one of my favorite coping skills.
Distraction is using any other positive, non-self-destructive activity to help you forget about your depression for a while.
Almost anything can be a distraction, from watching TV to talking with a friend to a new creative project.
Whatever the distraction is, make sure it doesn’t become maladaptive, addicting, or unhealthy. These types of behaviors will only worsen your condition later on because you won’t learn effective and healthy coping skills.
5. Don’t Isolate
The worst thing you could do to worsen your depression is isolate.
And trust me, I’m the one to talk when it comes to this subject (as I’m currently alone in my room).
But in all seriousness, go outside! Meet up with a friend, or call them if you can’t meet in person. Just for heaven’s sake, don’t allow yourself to be alone. There is always someone there to help you, just reach out.
Socializing not only provides a good distraction, but it also prevents you from feeling lonely and letting that feed your depression.
If you need help, please reach out to someone! You will be thankful you did in the future, trust me.
If you’re in a crisis (in danger of hurting yourself or others), call 911 or 1-888-628-9454 immediately.