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15 Mental Tricks to Fight Depression

15 Mental Tricks to Fight Depression

Depression is difficult, but there are handy mental tricks you can use, which are proven to work well to lift your mood. Use these mental tricks to build a more positive mindset and keep the black dog at bay.

1. Don’t catastrophize

Stop thinking about the worst-case scenario, and all the things that could possibly go wrong. Instead, step back and take a realistic look at life. Nothing is ever the end of the world, after all.

2. Stop ruminating

A lot of bad moods are worsened by the fact that you keep thinking about them, and feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being so concerned with how you feel. You’ll never change things by getting stuck in thinking about them – take action instead, to make things better.

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3. Get perspective

If you think your depression has been fueled by a specific event, make sure you’re not blowing things out of proportion. A chat with a caring friend may help you to see your way through the fog.

4. Focus on the positives

Realize that your mood may be magnifying the bad things in life, and you may find yourself focusing on the negative. Instead, look for what’s good in a situation, even if it’s just a lesson or a chance to grow stronger.

5. Don’t over-analyze

Running through exactly what has gone wrong, and picking it to pieces, rarely helps. Instead of endlessly going over the problem, and getting bogged down in the details, start thinking about possible solutions.

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6. Be kind to yourself

When people feel bad, they sometimes talk to themselves unkindly, and beat themselves up. What you need right now is a friend, not an enemy. Make sure your words and deeds are gentle and encouraging.

7. Don’t dwell on the past

It’s totally pointless to worry about the past, because you can’t change it. The best thing about the past is that it’s over. Allow yourself to move on.

8. Don’t fret about the future

The only power you have to change things is in the present moment, so it’s a waste of time worrying about the future, especially as you have no idea how things may turn out. Instead, take positive steps now, so you can handle whatever life throws at you.

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9. Avoid black-and-white thinking

If something has gone wrong, or you made one mistake, it doesn’t mean that your whole life is doomed, or that you’re no good. Cut yourself slack and consider a more balanced version of events.

10. Fake it a bit

Science shows that even if you’re not happy, putting on a smile releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. If the mental trick of slapping on a big grin seems a bit much, then try a half-smile instead to lift your mood.

11. Stop being a victim

When you’re feeling low, it’s easy to get caught up in believing that bad things are happening because of you. Don’t allow yourself to believe that you’re a victim. You have the power to choose how you react to problems – and that’s the most powerful thing of all.

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12. Get moving

It’s virtually impossible to hang onto a horrible mood when you’re jogging on the spot, or jumping on a trampoline, because your physiology won’t allow it. Try moving your body and see if that will brighten your mood.

13. Don’t isolate

You may be especially sensitive to what other people say and do if you’re feeling down, but remember that shutting yourself away will only make you feel worse. Meeting a friend for a quick coffee, or getting fresh air, can only help your frame of mind.

14. Reach out to others

Helping other people is a wonderful way of taking the focus off yourself and how you are feeling. Helping others feels good as well, so it’s a great mental trick to lift your mood.

15. Be grateful

It’s very difficult to be depressed if you can write a long list of all the things you love in your life. Not so much a mental trick, as a realization of what you’re very lucky to have, despite this tough time you’re going through.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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