depression tip

Retrain Your Brain

We all have our share of losses and challenges in life, but the main cause of depression is not usually our life circumstances. It’s the way we think about and interpret them. Unfortunately, when we’re depressed we tend to have a lot of negative beliefs and believe our thoughts. When I was struggling with depression, I wholeheartedly believed every thought that popped up on the screen of my mind. My thoughts seemed and felt so true. I even gathered evidence to support them and ignored evidence to the contrary. If I was depressed about being single, my mind only saw happy couples out in the world. My well-worn beliefs refused to allow me to take in that there were millions of single people around me as well. Not to mention millions of unhappy couples. Read more: Andrea Wachter proposes and reflects on six ways to overcome negative body image epidemic that has sickened our society. If I was struggling with my body image, my mind zeroed in on people I was convinced were confident and comfortable in their bodies and I was sure that I never would be. It was as if my depressed self was on trial and my mind was the prosecuting attorney gathering evidence that I was not okay and that everyone else was. Eventually, after lots of help from others and a good dose of willingness from within, I learned that I could take a stand against my internal programs. I learned that I could disagree with discouraging thoughts and eventually delete them, and you can, too. One thing that helped me challenge my depressed convictions and retrain my brain was a little rhyme I would recite when negative thoughts were getting the best of me. It went like this, I have no clue if that’s true. So if I caught myself thinking that someone else had a perfect life, I would challenge myself by saying, I have no clue if that’s true. If I thought I’d never feel any better than I did, I’d say to myself, I have no clue if that’s true. We really can’t know anything other than the facts in this very moment. So challenging our pop up thoughts with a little reality check can really help. We may not have a choice about the automatic thoughts that pop up on our internal screens, but we do have a choice about whether we want to believe them or delete them.