Depression is the lowest mental and emotional state of an individual. Most of us have had some sort of depression episodes or periods in our lives. But few know how to treat depression without medication by ourselves.
The reason is that, we know little of what depression is, and why we feel depressed.
I remember I had my first depression when I was in my 2nd year in college. It was also my first time going to a psychologist and I must say, it really helped me out. She gave me some tools that clicked with me and soon enough my depression was gone.
Fast-forward a couple of years, after graduation, I entered my Master’s program in psychology.
It was there I had the chance to attend the courses of one of Romania’s best psychologists and coaches, former Minister of National Education, University Prof. Mircea Miclea.
His coaching class was the most enriching experience I had of all my 5 college years.
I was all ears during his lectures, trying to soak up his teachings, that were filled with so much insight.
These are just 4 simple coping techniques to treat depression that for my professors has used with his clients, and work. I hope you find these techniques helpful for you too. Let’s begin.
So here is I’ve learnt in my coaching class about treating depression.
4 Best Ways to Treat Depression from a Psychologist
1. Venting Your Emotions
Spring cleaning depression
The first most efficient way to treat depression is to vent the negative, overwhelming emotions. So how to do this?
Imagine you are emptying a closet full of clothes. You take each piece of clothing out, give it a good shake, and then fold each piece and put it back in the closet.
Just as our clothes need a sort of Konmari style “spring clean”, and regular wash, our emotions need this too. First things first.
- Find a very calming and relaxing spot in your home. Someplace near a window would be ideal so you can have a view outside, a calming landscape.
- Then have a comfortable sit and look at this view with calamity and serenity.
- Let your feelings and thoughts vent as you focus your full attention on the details of the view before you.
Allow them to come and go, don’t mind them, but at the same time don’t try to stop them by any means. Validate them, but don’t invest your energy in them.
Let your feelings air out and when they come back you’ll see they weight down less than before.
Venting your emotions is perhaps easiest and most calming coping mechanism to ditch off negative thoughts and break through depression. Now the second technique.
2. Rewiring Your Thoughts
Depression works with beliefs
This coping technique, while it may sound complicated, is also easy to do.
Basically what cognitive restructuring means is redesigning your recurrent thoughts to a lighter form. Rewiring your mind, in a way.
Heavy, overwhelming thoughts are the base of depressions. With this coping technique these thoughts will no longer have the same value for you. This means you won’t invest as much energy in them as you used to.
How to use this coping mechanism to treat depression?
- Take a moment of honesty with yourself and try to see the thoughts that make you feel depressed. Put them down on paper.
- Now see what they have to say. Look into why you have them. What event, person or circumstance in your life has triggered them? Where do they stem from?
- Think other thoughts that are powerful enough to counteract your negative thoughts. They have to be at the other end of your depressing thoughts, namely positive beliefs about yourself that you mentally believe to be true. That make sense.
The idea with this coping technique is that we cannot have two opposing beliefs, both valid, at the same time.
Otherwise, we suffer from something called cognitive dissonance.
It’s like using water to fight fire or using light to break through darkness. There must be some things you (at least used to) think to be true about yourself that are at the opposite end of your daunting thoughts.
Your mission is to find them and invest them with attention, thus make them to take over.
3. Jokes on Depression
Humor is an excellent anti-depressant
Who would have thought that depression can actually be funny? If you look at it with amusement, it actually is. You simply have to “stand up” for your depression, you know what I mean?
Depression wants to be important, to stand out, so why not give it your full attention for a minute?
Humor is a very powerful positive attitude and a great cure for depression. Make daily jokes about your depression and about how depressed you feel. I know you have it in you.
Joke with your depression and about how funny it is and what a great couple you two make. Sarcasm is what I mean. If you have no inspiration, look online, there are plenty excellent videos that parody depression.
When “jokes are on your depression”, you take away its power and the grip it has over you. You then understand how weak, feeble and powerless it actually is.
Here is an idea that comes to my mind right now:
“You look lovely today, did you do anything to your hair? It looks fantastic.” Or, if you’re in a very low, try something like this: “You’re playing tough, but you’ll never be as great as the Great Depression! Oh, you don’t like my sense of humor? Cash me outside, how ‘bout that?”
Consider your depression as your best buddy who can always take a good joke and not get offended. Well, and if can not take your jokes, show it the door. No problemo.
Humor lessers depression until it becomes lighter, thinner and ready to get out of your life.
Trust me, sometimes depression has enough of your joking, and when things get too cringe, it’s out of your life. Depression is not forever, it is here for a brief moment. Why not make it a fun time to be around? What’s there is to lose?
4. Role Playing
Put your depression in a story
Another great coping mechanism for depression is to fabric a story about it. Give it a character and put it in your story.
People have intuitively used this mechanism since ancient times to protect themselves from the things they feared.
They used to put their most feared nightmares into stories. In these stories, the “fear factor” would be the villain. And as all good stories go, the villain always loses the battle at the end.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many stories with wolves in which the wolf gets outplayed? Because people have feared wolves and this was their only “weapon” to fight fearing them.
Give your depression a character and a role to play of your everyday life. Start by giving it a name and invite it in for a cup of tea. Speak to your depression and see what it has to say. Be a little cynical and cruel.
Here is what I mean.
Greet your depression in the morning with a: “You again, have a sit. OK, so how you’d like your eggs?”.
When you’re off to school or work ask your depression if it needs a ride:
“Man, hurry up, we’re running late again. It’s always you and your make-up, you’re beautiful just the way you are, you don’t need any makeup.”
Depression wants your full attention so put it in the spotlight. Don’t ever deny its existence nor underestimate its importance.
Talk to your depression as if it were a real person.
Act a little cynical, sarcastic and sprinkle your “lines” with fun. When you do this, when you give it so much attention, all of a sudden you’ll see that your depression doesn’t actually have much to say.
In the end, it will have no other choice but to hit the road.
This is the worst that can happen. The reason is, when something, such as depression, no longer has power over you, it can no longer affect you.
And this is idea behind this coping technique.
The Best Way to Treat Depression Is Understanding
From my years of research and trying to understand how the mind works, I reached a personal conclusion. That is, when we understand the things that happen to us and how they function, we fully empowered to change them.
Spirituality and science both say the same thing.
We all come from the same source, whether we call it God, Buddha, The Big Bang, or simply “All That Is”. You name it.
We are the different strings and blends of the same particle. Not one is the same, but all together one. Bits of the universe that together create the whole.
We are all of same importance, same structure, we were created unconditionally (loved) and we are interconnected.
Depression is Actually Good
How can depression be good?! This is because:
It is the darkness that wants to teach you about the light within. It is the emptiness you feel inside you that yearns for meaning. The deepest low that wants to take you up the highest heights. The compression that forces you to explode into the multitude of galaxies you hold within, that scream to burst out. It is the colorless that wants to teach you about your true colors.
As weird as it sounds, depression is here to help you.
Take a few steps back and look at it with detachment, acceptance and with compassion. You will look into the eyes of an innocent child. You will see your depression for what it really is. That is, an offering to you, its own self-sacrifice, to remind you of the infinite universe that dwells within yourself. Your spark, your magic, your power.
Treat Your Depression with Gratitude
Show your depression the respect it deserves because it is here to help you become more of who you are. Treat depression with gratitude and love.
Once you do this, your depression will no longer be the source of your pain and suffering. It will propel you with tremendous force in the exact towards growing, expanding, creating and becoming.
And this a truly magical!
Speaking of #uplifting, surrounding yourself with positive things will definitely help. Here is an article about the most gentle laws of living that can give you some needed inspiration. Or a reminder of your true nature. Speaking of natural things, if you’re looking for alternative approached to depression, in this article you will find 10 simple home remedies for depression, supplements and other natural things that can help. Be safe, we love you!