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Self-Therapy For Managing Depression -- Here's How To Do It

June 10, 2020 Mahevash Shaikh

If you have depression, consulting a therapist is the smartest move you can make to learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with it, but self-therapy for depression can help you in a pinch. You cannot depend completely on your mental health professional because sometimes, they might not be available to help you. For this reason and more, self-therapy is a handy tool to manage depression.

What Self-Therapy for Depression Is (And Isn't)

As the term implies, self-therapy consists of therapeutic techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that you use on yourself. Instead of consulting a psychologist, you rely on yourself to manage your mental health struggles like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Simple therapy tips from practicing psychologists are available for free today thanks to reliable resources like Google and YouTube. You don't have to limit yourself to professional advice though. People with lived experience have valuable insights that not all professionals are aware of. 

What's more, I believe that self-therapy for depression can be anything that helps you cope with depression. As long as your coping mechanisms are safe and healthy, there are no rules or boundaries. Of course, the definition of healthy is flexible. For example, self-harm is always a no-no, but binge-watching on occasion is perfectly fine. With that out of the way, let's take a look at some practical ways you can practice self-therapy to deal with depression. 

My Recommended Self-Therapy Basics

  1. Record your thoughts without censorship. Personally, the best part about seeing a professional is that someone listens to you talk without interruptions or judgment. Writing down thoughts exactly as they enter your head is one of the best ways to simulate this. Speaking into a voice recorder on your phone is the next best thing. For both cases, try to speak for at least half an hour at a stretch. Then, read or play it back as if you were listening to somebody else's thoughts. Doing so will enable you to be objective and consequently, be practical when figuring out problems and their solutions. Most importantly, when you are objective, you will be more empathetic than you usually are because we tend to be our own worst critics.
     
  2. Think out of the box. Discover. Innovate. Don't be afraid to get weird. In the video below, I talk about some unusual self-therapy techniques which work for me. None of them were recommended to me by my former therapist or for that matter, anybody. They were just things that helped me feel less blue. Whenever I chanced upon my discoveries, I added them to my list of hacks to cope with depression. And I intend to keep doing so even if they are odd, eccentric, random, or unexplainable. If something works for you and it isn't hurting anyone, what's the harm?
     
  3. Keep getting to know yourself and psychology. By 'getting to know yourself', I mean study yourself. It might sound dull because of typically negative experiences with studying in school and/or college, but I promise it is anything but. Plus, the first step to self-care is knowing what you want, and that isn't possible without knowing who you are. Connect with your body and soul on a regular basis. Make mental notes of your thoughts and emotions whenever possible. Being aware will help you identify problems like shallow relationships and toxic coworkers. Knowing basic self-help skills will empower you to change your mindset so that you can control issues rather than let them control you. 

Do you have any self-therapy techniques for depression you'd like to share? Please reveal them in the comments section below. 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2020, June 10). Self-Therapy For Managing Depression -- Here's How To Do It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2020/6/self-therapy-for-managing-depression-heres-how-to-do-it



Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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