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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 April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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