Can You Really Pull Yourself Out of Depression?
Wondering how to pull yourself out of depression is a very common question, especially when depression has ahold of you and just won’t let go. You can pull yourself out of depression in pleasant and empowering way.
To pull yourself out of depression implies that you are actively doing something to overcome depression (10 Things to Help with Depression). In taking an active role, you take control away from depression, and you do things intentionally to feel better and better.
When you’re living with depression, though, just the thought of being active and doing things can seem exhausting and enough to make you want to stay in bed. That’s the depression trying to control you (Depression Symptoms: What are the Symptoms of Depression?). Take a deep breath, and get ready to pull yourself out of depression.
Pull Yourself Out of Depression with Flow
Flow is a state of being fully engaged in whatever it is you’re doing in a given moment. With flow, your mind is still, and your whole being is immersed in the activity you’re doing. Flow means letting go, and it means diving in. When you are experiencing flow, even your depression is suspended.
Flow pulls people out of depression because it pulls them out of the lethargy and despair depression causes. Flow also provides successes and positive experiences, which boost self-confidence and help people begin to believe in themselves again.
Flow helps people feel better about their experiences; further, after engaging in an experience that creates flow, people feel better about themselves. After doing an activity that brings flow, people tend to describe themselves positively, stating that they feel active, motivated, creative, and strong (O’Connor, 2010).
What Causes the State of Flow that Pulls You Out of Depression?
Flow has distinct components:
- It involves being active in some way
- The activity must be one that you have willingly chosen to do, as opposed to it being assigned to you
- The activity requires skill and is challenging enough to remain engaging
- The activity is not so challenging that it becomes frustrating
Depression can zap the joy and energy away from you, so it might seem impossible to find something you want to do at all, let alone one that will engage you so completely. That’s okay. Flow isn’t something to pressure or force yourself to do.
How to pull yourself out of depression with flow starts with choosing an activity you used to enjoy and committing to do it. It’s unlikely that you’ll immediately experience flow, but you will be able to congratulate yourself for doing it, and because you’ve done it once, you’ll find it easier to do a second time. And a third. And out of that will arise flow.
How to Pull Yourself Out of Depression with Flow
Pulling yourself out of depression takes effort (How Not to Feel Depressed: What’s the Secret?). Depression makes it so that you typically don’t feel up to spontaneous bursts of energy. It’s unlikely that you’ll suddenly decide to spring out of bed, head outside, and paint a gigantic mural that decorates the entire front of your house. It is very likely, though, that you go buy some painting supplies and paper, and spend time every day painting, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
Depression can make it hard to think of ideas. To get around this depression road block, create a collection of activity ideas, things you like, used to like, or would like to try. You can use a jar or a box, and you can decorate it to make it look attractive to you. This is your flow jar, so have fun making it look appealing. Using craft sticks, note cards, or anything else you can write on and that fits in your flow jar, brainstorm activities that could bring you flow. Keep these ideas in your container, and when you need activity ideas, pull one out and immerse yourself in it (Stop Being Depressed. Use These Self-Help Tools Now).
There really is no limit to flow-inducing activities, as long as they’re safe. They can be artsy, crafty, musical, athletic; they can involve nature or urban settings; they can be indoor activities or outdoor.
Actively engaging in experiences that create flow will help pull you out of depression.
Last Updated: 17 May 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD