Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting Over Depression Through Actions

By Lin Zhong

Getting over depression is difficult, I should know. I was trying to do everything in my power to change what I thought, but a part of me was always influenced by the voice inside me that said "I am sad". I tried really hard to change my thinking, but after I stopped trying that and instead started to change my actions, something happened--I stopped thinking of my feelings as the absolute truth. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was one of the most important things I ever learned in my life, following writing exercises everyday to identify why I was depressed. If you are trying to overcome depression, don't try to change your thoughts so much as your actions.

Actions are way easier to change than thoughts. Your belief system and thoughts are more a part of you than your actions. It's really very difficult to change from thinking how depressed to denying what you feel. But it's not as hard to spend 20 minutes a day comparing what you feel and tracing back to what caused it. It's not difficult to take time out for a walk, and it's not that difficult to talk to 1 stranger a day. I've done all of the three, and while they took some courage, I did accomplish these things and helped me get out of my depression.

Actions are easy to change, but feelings are the inverse. You could simply not choose to act on your feelings, but you can't help but feel them, especially when you are wronged. When you first experience somewhat better from your depression, let me tell you that you will probably feel the same, but then you will have a peace of mind to let it go and focus on something you can control and something that makes you feel better. You won't be feeling drastically different overnight, but if you really work hard towards figuring out what made you depressed, you will get out of it.

Action will help you get over your depression, but being judgmental about yourself will not. Write down everyday what made you sad and trace it back to what made you feel like that. Don't feel ashamed of what you feel and don't blame yourself for being human. Things happen, they pass, and we grow. Once you start doing more things, getting to know more people, and reading more books, you'll realize that we're essentially more the same than different.

Depression serves a purpose, however bad it may feel right now. Depression is just another word for being sad for a long time, longer than you want. This serves the purpose of giving you a warning sign to stop doing things that make you sad and start discovering or doing things that make you feel strong. If you are determined and commit to doing something everyday to overcome your depression, you will get over it.

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