Stop Being Depressed. Use These Self-Help Tools Now
Stop being depressed. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? Feeling sad? Just stop. Feeling down on yourself? Just stop.
To stop being depressed is about more than saying “stop,” but it doesn’t have to be a complex process (How Not to Feel Depressed: What’s the Secret?). In fact, for many people, the best approach to wellbeing is one self-help tool: working on thoughts. Don’t wait to start enjoying life. Use these thought-based self-help tools now and stop feeling depressed.
Stop Feeling Depressed by Changing Your Thinking
The nature of depression is harsh. Depression involves an almost constant focus on negative thoughts and experiences. Much of how we feel is a direct result of how we think and interpret both ourselves and our world.
Believing that negative and pessimistic thoughts are facts contributes to depression. Using the tools of a healing approach known as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a big part of how to stop being depressed now. While engaging in mental health therapy with a professional who practices CBT can indeed be beneficial, CBT can also be used as a powerful self-help approach, with tools designed to help you notice and change your thoughts and thus helping stop depression.
Use This List of Thought Traps as a Tool to Stop Being Depressed
Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches us that we all have automatic thoughts, thoughts that just pop into our mind seemingly out of the blue. With depression, these thoughts are overwhelmingly negative and pessimistic, and they fuel depression by decreasing self-worth and zapping energy and zest for life.
These automatic negative thoughts are called cognitive distortions, thought traps, or twisted thinking. Knowing what these distortions and traps are helps you recognize when your thoughts are negatively distorted. Catching your negative thinking is a tool that will begin to work immediately and help you stop being depressed.
There are many thought distortions. Among them:
- “Should” statements These are rigid rules that depression imposes on you or the world in general. Life should be a certain way; I shouldn’t have said that. Etc.
- Mind-reading Mind-reading is assuming you know what others are thinking, and you just know they think poorly of you.
- All-or-nothing thinking Also called black-and-white thinking, this is the tendency to see the world, and your place in it, in extremes. Thinking that you’re worthless because you’re not perfect is all-or-nothing thinking.
- Name-calling This is beating yourself up with harsh labels and believing that those labels are true.
- Tunnel vision Another name for this one is discounting the positive. Here, depression causes narrow, restricted thinking and makes people see the world through a darkened lens. When we see more negative than positive in ourselves and in the world around us, we naturally feel depressed.
- Catastrophizing In catastrophizing, we make mountains out of mole hills. Everything seems terrible and disastrous; problems seem like they have absolutely no solution.
Use these as tools to help you recognize your thoughts, and you’ll begin to stop feeling depressed.
Stop Feeling Depressed with These Thought Tools
You’re not powerless. Once you are aware of your automatic negative thoughts, you can begin to work on your thoughts and stop being depressed.
Different CBT specialists word concepts a bit differently from each other and offer tools with varying amounts of steps. Despite individual differences, the essence of these thought tools is the same. Use them to change your thoughts, and with them, your feelings.
The thought tools that will help you stop feeling depressed include the following actions:
- Become aware of your thoughts, of what your mind is telling you.
- Identify those thoughts. Are you catastrophizing? Shoulding? Listen to what your thoughts are saying.
- Interrupt your thoughts. Challenge them. Replace them with thoughts that are more accurate. (No, I am not a worthless idiot. I made a mistake, but that’s not who I am.)
Your own thoughts contribute to your feeling depressed, and they are also powerful tools to stop being depressed. You don’t have to wait until you feel a little better to start using them. If you want to stop feeling depressed, start using them now (The Best Way to Deal with Depression).
Last Updated: 15 October 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD