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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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