Learn How to Break out of Depression
One of the things that we all struggle with from time to time is depression. Not clinical or major depression, but the depression that is characterized by general feelings of being sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps.
Unfortunately, they way most people deal with depression is by escaping or medicating. Escaping is when you’re depressed and so you eat or drink more than usual. Or, in an attempt to get your mind off of things you immerse yourself in movies and media. If you medicate your depression you might turn to pain pills or drinking alcohol to numb your feelings. But escaping and medicating will only cause you to become more depressed.
So what does the Bible say about depression and what can we do about it? First of all, it’s not wrong and it’s not sinful to be depressed. When you read through the Old and New Testament of the Bible, you can see that even very godly people had normal times of feeling very blue and down. Part of the human experience is to feel sadness and even hopelessness. The key, however, is to not get stuck there.
So here are four game-changing ideas to break out of depression:
Do something positive. This might mean getting active by taking a walk or run, and putting something good in your mind by reading a positive book and listening to good music. You could also write a letter to someone. The point is to get your focus off yourself and onto the positive.
Get in the Word. If your depression is deeper, read the Psalms – the entire book if you need to. And while you’re reading, underline the areas that talk about God’s love. Spend some time thinking about God’s love. And then spend some time in prayer by asking God to help you feel his love for you. You can also bring your feelings of discouragement and depression to God and ask Him to help you break out of them.
Challenge negative thinking. Just thinking happy thoughts or having wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, try to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts. Allow yourself to be less than perfect and refrain from beating yourself up when you fail to meet your impossibly high standards. Be aware of any all-or-nothing thinking (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”); over generalization (“I can’t do anything right.”); and emotional reasoning (believing that the way you feel reflects reality). These are all types of negative thinking that lead to depression.
Get around positive people. Being around people with a positive outlook and who can encourage you is good medicine for your soul. Surround yourself with kind of people who will not chastise you for feeling depressed but will be understanding and want to lift you up.
While overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control. The key is to start small and to make positive choices each day.
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