Treatment

5 Thinking Strategies to Ease Depression

Jerry Kennard Sep 26th, 2012 (updated Oct 6th, 2014)
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Stress is a common feeder of depression and most people find their thinking becomes more negative when they feel under stress. Negative thinking taps into negative memories and feeds negative thoughts about yourself and your future. Negative thinking alone can be debilitating and because of this, it is worth considering strategies to prevent negative thoughts from taking control.

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Reinterpret
Reinterpret

Every situation lends itself to a variety of possible interpretations. A predisposition to interpreting situations negatively can influence our sense of competence and personal effectiveness. For this reason cognitive therapists encourage people with these tendencies to actively interrupt their own thought processes and to interpret a negatively perceived situation in a more positive or more neutral light.

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Stop jumping to conclusions
Stop jumping to conclusions

There are all sorts of ways we jump to conclusions. The tendency towards blame is very common. Blaming others or blaming oneself is invariably only a part of the total picture as to why something has gone wrong. Blaming is a form of easy thinking. The reality is we often don't really know the background to the collision and we're mistaking feelings for facts. A more constructive approach is to remain neutral or to consider the raft of other possibilities.

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Form a perspective
Form a perspective

When people feel down, or are perhaps slipping towards depression, there is an increased tendency to see things in black and white terms and to magnify the negative aspects to a status they really don't deserve. The most common ways people lose perspective is by over-generalizing and catastrophizing. 

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Reduce the extremes
Reduce the extremes

Extreme thinking comes with depression. This is a form of thinking that seems to rule out gray areas and focuses mainly on the black. A lot of people might prefer to be better, or wiser, or wittier than they are, but these should realistically be seen as things we might choose to strive towards, or admire in others, rather than become a millstone around our necks.

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Set realistic goals
Set realistic goals

When you start to question and challenge your own negative thinking you may find that you start to uncover problems that need solving.  If this is the case always ensure you set an attainable goal. A big issue may need some thought and may need to be broken down into smaller stages. Make sure the stages are attainable otherwise the lack of attainment may simply feedback into your thinking as a failure.