Depression

Depression is an extremely common problem that happens to people from every possible background. The nature of depression varies between people, and may include any combination of these experiences:

Depression can occur for many different reasons, and may relate to the current environment, past events, a sensitive personality, or physical problems in the body and brain. Some of the things that can profoundly help a person with depression include:

  • Reducing time spent in unhelpful thinking

  • Clarifying what really matters in life

  • Freeing oneself from life-restricting patterns of escape and avoidance

  • Taking steps towards personally meaningful goals (small steps to start with)

  • Embracing activities aligned with one's personal values and beliefs

  • Developing the ability to refocus attention on the present environment

  • Learning to recognise and name emotional reactions as they happen

  • Finding ways to reconnect with partners, family, or friends, or meet stimulating new people

  • Spending time in nature - parks, forests, hills and mountains, the ocean, the garden, etc

  • Practicing compassion for the self and compassion for others

  • Cultivating gratitude for even the smallest of positive things in life

  • Improving daily habits and routines - sleep, diet, exercise, approach to childcare/work/study, etc

  • Connecting with something larger than the self, in terms of culture, spirituality, religion, etc

 

These sorts of activities are easy to write down and talk about. Turning good intentions into sustainable life changes, however, can take good planning, fine-tuning strategies, encouragement and support from important people, and guidance from someone knowledgeable about human behaviour. Good therapy for depression helps clients expand their range of experiences and discover the growth they are capable of.