From what we know of depression there’s a risk of it returning even if you’ve only had one episode. It’s not inevitable and I wouldn’t want to give the impression that a single episode of depression heralds the start of a life sentence. We must however be realistic. If nothing has changed in your life or your thinking since the first onset of depression your risk factors do increase. For this reason it becomes very important to focus on building up resilience.
Building up and maintaining an effective resilience supply requires a multifaceted approach. Finding things that make you happy for a few moments is great but it’s impossible to maintain such a diet and the results, though pleasant, may not have any deeper meaning. Mood boosting activities involve some fairly simple things but consistency is important. A few examples of such activities include:
Reframing negative experiences.
Establishing a work-life balance.
Anchoring daily routines around a healthy diet and physical activities.
Using your strengths in order to reach your goals.
Connecting with others.
These and other mood boosters are within our grasp. Combining these with an understanding of the signs that could indicate you are in something of a downward spiral means you are developing a good grasp and insight into yourself and your relationship with depression.
There will always have good and bad days. There will always be times that are anxiety provoking and emotionally taxing. It’s important to accept these things for what they are and the fact that your mood is low is not necessarily a red flag that you are slipping into depression.
Get on with life but don’t forget to stop for a few moments each day in order to savor the things around you. Indulge your senses so that the sounds, smells, sights, tastes and feel of things around you aren’t taken for granted.
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Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.