Depression Counseling: The Ticket To Happiness
Updated September 25, 2018
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
The English language sabotages people who have been diagnosed with Depression. In English, we use the same word -"depressed" - to describe a child who is sad to be cooped up indoors during a rainstorm as we do a person who has a diagnosable disorder caused by a biochemical imbalance. Diagnosable depression is not simply sadness; and contrary to popular opinion, it is not a choice. You can't simply snap out of it or shake it off. Depression counseling is vital to overcoming diagnosable depression because it provides you with game-changing coping strategies to manage the hurdles of life.
Recognize Disordered Living And Reshape Your Life
The biochemical imbalances associated with depression do not usually pop up for no reason. They may be a result of a life imbalance, such as a long-term unhealthy relationship, lack of self-care, an unresolved childhood trauma, or chronic work stress. Achieving life balance is key to overcoming depression. A mental health professional can help you figure out how to achieve life balance - whether that means cutting back on work, scheduling time for self-care, or meeting up with friends.
Calm The Nervous System
Depression often co-occurs with anxiety because both mental disorders are unhealthy physiological reactions to stress. Whereas anxiety is sensory overload, depression is numbness. To overcome these feelings, you must calm your overactive nervous system. Specifically, the autonomic nervous system,whichoversees your stress response (sympathetic nervous system) and your relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system). When the stress response dominates, you wind up in a state of hyperarousal. Eventually, this hyperarousal can lead to anxiety and depression.
The vagus nerve wanders throughout the body, controlling various bodily processes and organ functions, including digestion. It activates the relaxation response. Even though it is a nerve, think of it as a muscle. When vagal tone is low, the vagus nerve does not function properly, and therefore the relaxation response rarely occurs. You can increase vagal tone with exercise (like yoga), meditation, and other self-care practices.
Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression often accompanies negative thoughts, particularly negative self-talk. If you constantly badger and criticize yourself, there is no room for positivity. Learn to be your own best friend. When life beats you down, the least you can do is support yourself with positive self-talk and motivational thoughts. If a negative thought bounces around in your head, nonjudgmentally acknowledge it (don't freak out!), and gently replace it with a positive, encouraging thought. It's as simple as that!
See The Bigger Picture
When you have depression, it may feel like the world is coming to an end. Especially in the face of a devastating event, like the death of a loved one, you might feel as if you can't move forward. But as much as you can, try to reframe your thoughts to encompass the bigger picture. Instead of dwelling on the pain of the present moment, remind yourself that the story is not over - you have hope and a future!
Seek Depression Counseling
There are many well-trained, highly experienced online therapists who know how to effectively treat depression. A common approach is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which you begin to recognize and challenge negative patterns of thought in order to alter behavioral patterns and mood disorders. Don't let depression control your life any longer. Contact an online therapist today!