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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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