COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged depression

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How to Get Over Feeling Sad

1. Make a list of everything you’re thankful for – and try to find some memories that make you smile. There’s nothing like some humour for changing how you feel.

2. Decide to do some fun things with your friends. Although it might be tempting to stay home alone, and to have a bubble bath, or to curl up with a book, you’ll probably feel better if you go out with your friends. It stops you dwelling on your thoughts, and moves your focus somewhere else.

3. Get some exercise. Endorphins are released when we get some exercise. This improves our mood with no real effort on our part (and you may well feel less tired, and more healthy as well).

4. Set yourself some goals and break them down into small steps. As you work through these steps you’ll start to see some gradual change – and you’ll feel you’re going somewhere instead of marking time (or even worse than that, feeling like you’re going nowhere).

5. Play it forward. Do something selfless and kind for someone else. It’ll take them by surprise and it will likely make their day. Then, you’ll feel so much better about yourself as well.

6. Tell yourself that it will pass as moods are changeable. Our feelings are so fickle and unreliable. Tomorrow the same things might not bother you at all.

7. Recognise that your mind is a battleground. We’re all assaulted by unwanted and negative thoughts. They attack our self- confidence and self-esteem. Counteract that by thinking of your positives and strengths, your progress and successes, and how you’ve changed and grown.

8. It’s different if you’re coping with a serious loss. If your sadness is linked to a serious loss, like the death of a loved one, or a crisis event, then stay with the pain as it will help you to heal. In time it will pass and you’ll feel normal again.

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1,560 notes

How to get over feeling sad

1. Make a list of everything you’re thankful for – and try to find some memories that make you smile. There’s nothing like some humour for changing how you feel.

2. Decide to do some fun things with your friends. Although it might be tempting to stay home alone, and to have a bubble bath, or to curl up with a book, you’ll probably feel better if you go out with your friends. It stops you dwelling on your thoughts, and moves your focus somewhere else.

3. Get some exercise. Endorphins are released when we get some exercise. This improves our mood with no real effort on our part (and you may well feel less tired, and more healthy as well).

4. Set yourself some goals and break them down into small steps. As you work through these steps you’ll start to see some gradual change – and you’ll feel you’re going somewhere instead of marking time (or even worse than that, feeling like you’re going nowhere).

5. Play it forward. Do something selfless and kind for someone else. It’ll take them by surprise and it will likely make their day. Then, you’ll feel so much better about yourself as well.

6. Tell yourself that it will pass as moods are changeable. Our feelings are so fickle and unreliable. Tomorrow the same things might not bother you at all.

7. Recognise that your mind is a battleground. We’re all assaulted by unwanted and negative thoughts. They attack our self- confidence and self-esteem. Counteract that by thinking of your positives and strengths, your progress and successes, and how you’ve changed and grown.

8. It’s different if you’re coping with a serious loss. If your sadness is linked to a serious loss, like the death of a loved one, or a crisis event, then stay with the pain as it will help you to heal. In time it will pass and you’ll feel normal again.

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How to Support a Friend who’s Depressed

1) Encourage them to talk; ask them what’s on their mind - If you think your friend’s depressed or has something on their mind then ask if you can help, or something’s bothering them. And unless you get the feeling that they don’t want to talk, be persistent and keep asking in a gentle, caring way. This communicates the message that you genuinely care.

2) Give your full attention and listen carefully – If they’re brave enough to share what is on their mind, then give them the respect of listening carefully – without interrupting or offering them advice. Pay attention, focus on them, and try to understand the way they see their problems, and how that makes them feel. The only time you should speak is to clarify a point, or to ask open questions that will help them share some more.

3) Unless specifically requested, don’t offer them advice - Once you’ve got the general gist of what is happening with your friend, resist the temptation to offer them advice. This is often very hard as we usually want to help … but most people resent it as they just want to be heard.

4) Remember it’s all about them; it’s not about you – Often people want to somehow turn the conversation round to talking about them, and their own experiences. This is so annoying; it’s the worst thing you could do.

5) Be sensitive, respectful and non judgmental – Don’t react or seem shocked when they tell you something bad (like saying “OMG – I can’t believe you did that!”). And be tactful if you feel you must share something tough - as you honestly believe it would help to hear the truth. You don’t have to destroy them in your efforts to get real.

6) Nothing changes if we don’t do anything – Although it’s often helpful to unburden yourself if you just dump on others then nothing much will change. Thus, it’s important to encourage them to take some active steps. Don’t only be a crutch or a short term dumping ground.

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When you feel fed up …

1. Acknowledge how you feel – as it’s better to be real than to stuff your emotions and pretend that things are fine.

2. Encourage someone else … and see the difference it makes. It will not just help them, you will feel much better, too.

3. Get some exercise. Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones (endorphins) so you’ll feel less depressed, and you’ll have more energy.

4. Set some short term goals, and then work to reach those goals. There’s nothing like success for improving how we feel.

5. Focus on the things that you naturally do well – to remind yourself, again, of your talents and your strengths.

6. Talk to a friend. There nothing worse than feeling isolated and alone. But spending time with others can raise your self-esteem. Also, it puts things in perspective - so your problems start to shrink.

7. Reward yourself, or do something you enjoy. You deserve to be nurtured, affirmed and treated well. When you’re battling your feelings you need that extra lift.

8. Journal how you feel. It’s highly therapeutic to express what’s on your mind - and when it’s out in the open it starts to lose its hold.

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How to Build Emotional Resilience

1. Talk to someone: Sharing how we feel helps to reduce the inner tension (but make sure it is someone who cares about your feelings).

2. Work on improving your self-esteem: Self-esteem is the way you see and feel about yourself … and there are lots of lots of things that undermine our self esteem. For example, experiencing a break up, putting on unwanted weight, doing badly on a test or being excluded by our friends. It’s important that we keep on working on our self-esteem by treating ourselves well and noticing when we succeed (instead of noticing the negatives).

3. Manage your stress levels: If we’re always feelings stressed then it’s hard to cope with life. We tend to over react and have a negative mind set … which drains us of our energy and saps our will to fight. So take a look at your lifestyle and see what you can drop. You may be doing too much, and don’t have time to relax.

4. Make the time and effort to enjoy yourself: Doing things that we enjoy helps to improve the way we feel. So build in little things like having coffee with a friend, or going to a game, or taking time to watch some sports.

5. Choose a healthy life style: Pay attention to your diet and how much you exercise; try to limit alcohol, and don’t deprive yourself of sleep.

6. Develop good relationships: Do your friends make you happy? Do you enjoy their company? Are they kind of people with your best interests at heart? Do they treat you with respect and help to boost your self-esteem? If not, then work on finding new relationships!

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Mental Illness: Fact or Fiction?

Those with mental illnesses are often stigmatised as people are confused over what is the truth … and a lot of what we hear is simply misinformation! For example,

1. Fiction: There’s no hope for those diagnosed with mental illness.
Truth: There are numerous treatments and forms of support that make it possible for those with mental illness to hold down jobs and lead a normal life.

2. Fiction: There’s nothing I can do to make a difference in their lives.
Truth: The way you speak and act can make a huge difference. It can promote understanding or it can add to the burden. For example, seek to separate the person from the diagnosis (So instead of calling him or her a schizophrenic, describe them as a person with schizophrenia). Also, don’t label them as crazy or inferior. That is both insulting and inaccurate. Those with mental illness should be treated with respect; they have the same rights as others in society.

3. Fiction: They’re more likely to be violent than the average person.
Truth: There is no evidence that those with mental illness are any more violent than another person (but they ARE more likely to be victims of crime.)

4. Fiction: I’m not at risk of mental illnesses myself.
Truth: Mental illnesses are common - more than half the population will receive a diagnosis at some point in their life. It will likely affect their wider family, too.

5. Fiction: Mental illness is related to mental retardation.
Truth: The two are not related in any way at all. Mental illness affects a person’s mood, thoughts and behaviour; retardation affects their intellectual functioning and creates some challenges for daily functioning.

6. Fiction: Mental illnesses are caused by a weak character.
Truth: Mental illnesses are caused by a number of factors – social, biological, emotional, psychological, environmental, or a mix of these.

7. Fiction: Those with mental illnesses can’t hold down a job (or they’re less effective than most other employees).
Truth: Studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) showed no differences in productivity between those with mental illness and those without mental illness.

8. Fiction: Children don’t suffer from mental illnesses. What we see is bad behaviour due to poor parenting. Many kids just want attention and have been spoiled by their parents.
Truth: 5-9 % of children are diagnosed with a recognised form of mental illness. However, they can still succeed at school and in relationships if they receive the understanding and support they deserve.

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And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.
Anne Lamott

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Common Myths About Mental Illness

Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is an invisible disease which can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.

Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.

Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.

Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.

Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.

Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.

Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women - in all of the different mental illness categories.

Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.

Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.

Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.

Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.

Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.

Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.

Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.

Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.

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Depression and Challenging Negative Thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.
But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Ways to challenge negative thinking:

1. Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
2. Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking
3. Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
4. Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. It’s possible, though, he’s just having a bad day.
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

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