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Depression

44 Positive Affirmations for Depression to Inspire Change

Originally posted at ECounsiling.com

44 Positive Affirmations for Depression to Inspire Change

MS Broudy, Ph.D
November 12, 2020

Have you ever given yourself a pep talk? You may not have realized it, but you were practicing a form of positive affirmation. Coping with depression can be discouraging and debilitating. Vocalizing certain phrases about yourself can provide a much-needed lift and motivate you toward positive change. Affirmations are a simple and useful tool that can help with depressive symptoms.

Reciting positive affirmations for depression

What Is a Positive Affirmation?

A positive affirmation is a self-statement that emphasizes your strengths, values, and favorable qualities. According to cognitive theory, depression is caused by distorted negative beliefs. Positive affirmations can be used to counter negative perceptions and bolster confidence in your abilities. For instance, you can replace the thought, “Nobody will ever love me” with the affirmation “I am worthy of love.” Many people who use affirmations recommend standing in front of a mirror as they repeat specific phrases to themselves, but you can perform them anywhere you feel is comfortable and effective. For increased success, it is suggested you practice your affirmations at least twice daily.

Do Affirmations Work?

Positive affirmations have been associated with multiple factors related to the reduction of depressive symptoms. Self-affirmation has been shown to activate parts of the brain that are associated with positive self-valuation. There is also evidence that suggests that affirmation increases the neural pathways related to a person’s reward centers, which undeniably boosts your mood. Further, an affirmation can serve as a protector against stressful situations that threaten your well-being. It can also help motivate people toward healthy behavior, such as eating fruits and vegetables. Maybe most importantly, the use of affirmation has been directly linked to feelings of optimism and happiness.

Keep in mind, however, the effectiveness of positive affirmations depends on their content. You need to be able to believe in what you are saying for them to be helpful. If you tell yourself something you know is not true or is unlikely to occur, it probably won’t help.

For example, if you keep saying to yourself that you look like a supermodel or are as musically talented as Adele, you are less likely to be able to convince yourself. In addition, the above research concludes that personally relevant affirmations appear more effective. Therefore, the more specific the affirmation is to your life, the better. Finally, affirmations that focus on the future seem to be most powerful. As a result, emphasizing behavior or outcomes that you can work toward will make them more productive. It may be useful to think of an affirmation as an active roadmap for positive thoughts and behavior.

Affirmations for Coping with Depression

There are literally millions of possible affirmations. Here are 44 you can use that are specifically geared for dealing with depressive symptoms:

While the above affirmations are suitable for numerous situations, one of the strengths of using affirmation is that it can be tailored to fit any area in which you are struggling. For example, if you are lacking confidence in whether you will do well on a work presentation you could affirm “I am prepared for today’s presentation and I will be successful.” Again, the more specific an affirmation is to your particular situation, the more it will resonate with you and produce positive results. Fortunately, affirmations can be made as distinct as necessary and easily changed to fit a particular circumstance.

Positive Affirmation as Part of a Depression Busting Package

Practicing affirmations daily is a useful tool in the fight against depression. It can improve self-image, reduce stress, increase healthy behavior, and boost mood. It is especially effective if the affirmations are personally relevant, realistic, and future-oriented. In addition, creating and performing an affirmation is a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes.

It should be noted, however, that affirmations are not suitable as a lone treatment for depression. Clinical depression is a serious psychological disorder that often requires professional intervention. Affirmation is most effectively used as part of a treatment protocol that may also include psychotherapy, online counseling, medication, and positive lifestyle changes. While some steps for dealing with depression can be initiated independently, such as reciting positive affirmations, the most significant improvements typically result from working with a trained professionals.

MS Broudy, Ph.D

MS Broudy is a psychologist, writer, and consultant. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a master’s degree in Social Psychology. He has spent over 20 years providing therapy and assessment services for a diverse set of clients. MS specializes in writing about mental health, parenting, and wellness. He has his own blog, mentalspokes.com, where he writes about psychological issues.

Alternative Treatment Therapies for Stress and Depression

Alternative Treatment Therapies for Stress and Depression

It is projected that 40 million American adults suffer from some form of anxiety problem — that’s just under 20 percent of the population. It’s an alarming statistic, but perhaps more concerning is the fact that many who have an anxiety disorder do not seek treatment out of fear, shame, or because they’ve had a negative treatment experience in the past. Traditional therapeutic approaches sometimes do not meet the needs of patients who require treatment, leaving many to look for alternative methods. Some of these may seem offbeat or even radical, but the essential goal remains the same: to get better with few or no side effects.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation therapy teaches patients with anxiety or depression to focus their thoughts and feelings away from negative concerns using a variety of techniques. Meditation therapy relaxes the body and the mind by focusing on breathing, which lowers the blood pressure, reduces stressful feelings, and helps eliminate panic attacks. Breathing therapy pulls more oxygen into the body, which relieves tension and improves your sense of well-being.

Supplement Therapy

The ability of herbal supplements to alleviate anxiety and depression is also under study by scientists, though researchers have discovered positive links between the use of specific herbs and the reduction of some anxiety symptoms. Some of the more common supplement remedies involve vitamin B-12, which can affect the central nervous system, and chamomile, which has a soothing effect on people suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Supplements such as inositol and valerian can also reduce feelings of anxiety. CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical found in hemp that has a number of medical benefits, including pain relief and the ability to reduce inflammation in the brain. Keep in mind that you should always consult with a physician before taking herbal supplements.

Yoga

Yoga is a meditative discipline that seeks to develop a healthy connection between mind and body through a series of poses. In addition to reducing depression and anxiety, yoga improves flexibility and alleviates joint pain. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, yoga is one of the top 10 alternatives for treating a range of mental disorders. It’s an especially popular alternative to more commonplace methods because learning to relax through yoga can help in other aspects of daily life.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another possible treatment, but it can be a hard sell for people who have a problem with needles, even though it is a centuries-old Chinese discipline known to be effective at treating depression and anxiety as well as many physical ailments. Thin, sharp needles are inserted into the patient’s upper skin layers at points of the body associated with specific organs. Acupuncture’s effectiveness continues to be a source of scientific study, including its ability to engage the body’s natural painkilling chemicals.

Art Therapy

Creative pursuits such as dance, drama, music, and the visual arts help patients become mindful of their feelings through self-expression. The art you create provides a means of creating art that helps you better understand yourself and your responses to external stimuli.

Ecotherapy

People struggling with anxiety or depression sometimes respond positively to spending time in nature on a regular basis. This method may include taking long walks in the woods, growing your own food in the backyard, or spending time around animals.

With 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety or depression, there’s currently a great need for successful treatment therapies, whether they’re considered traditional or alternative. It’s worth considering that more people might seek help if so-called “alternative” therapeutic approaches were more readily available to them.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

When Thinking Positive isn’t enough

I am a firm believer, obviously, in thinking positive to improve your mood and outlook.  It would, however, be irresponsible of me to say that thinking positive is a fix it for everything.  There are times when you need to talk to a professional.  Depression is a real illness, and like all illnesses, if you are suffering from depression, you should seek the help of a medical professional. 

Everybody goes through ups and downs and has mood swings, but when your downs become so overwhelming and consume your life, it is time to seek help.  Some symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in or ability to enjoy former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation. Either feeling “keyed up” and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued and physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting or take longer.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • If you feel that you are suffering from depression and not just the normal every day blues, please talk to a medical professional.

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