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The Importance of Self-Talk When Overcoming Depression

The relationships around you can oftentimes influence your struggle with depression. But before you continue examining others, pause for a moment and take a good, deep look at you. Perhaps the most fundamental relationship you have is not with someone else it is with yourself. Though you interact with others, you are also in constant communication with yourself through self-talk. This inner dialogue sets the stage for how you respond to life.

When you are depressed, your self-talk can become one-sided, centered on negative dialogue of despair, regrets, frustration, confusion, and doubts. The voice of forgiveness is rarely heard, and the chorus of optimism, hope, and joy are drowned out. Take some time to think about how you treat yourself. Are you your own drainer or filler? Do you make it a habit of pointing out the positive? Or is your self-talk a constant stream of emphasizing the negative? How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake? How do you talk to yourself when negative circumstances occur?

If your self-talk is out of balance, your ability to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself is compromised. It becomes difficult to escape the constant chatter of negativity inside your own head. Even more devastating, the more we think a certain way, the more likely we are to believe ourselves, manifesting our thoughts into reality.

Escaping this pattern of negative self-talk is a great challenge, and requires a consistent, long-term effort. It begins with simply observing your thoughts. Throughout the course of the day, try to step outside yourself and be an onlooker to your stream of consciousness. What types of thoughts are you having? Where do they come from? Where do they lead? Are they primarily positive or negative? Try not to pass any judgment on your thoughts, but just observe them as they pass through. Having awareness of your thoughts is an important first step towards shifting your thought patterns.

The next step in working toward a healthier relationship with yourself is through more realistic and truthful self-talk. There is great value in acknowledging and affirming the truth, both about situations and about yourself. By focusing on objective truths, you are able to avoid any subjective, and oftentimes negative, judgments.

Finally, another strategy to help improve the quality of your self-talk is to focus on the things you’re grateful for. When you observe your thoughts wandering towards negativity, don’t get angry with yourself. Instead, stop whatever you’re doing and think about something or someone that you are grateful for. This will immediately divert your mind from negative self-talk and redirect it towards the uplifting, positive aspects of your life.

Overcoming depression requires a multifaceted approach—both internally and externally. While there are many thought patterns that you can shift internally to help shake the feeling of depression, oftentimes people struggling with depression need external help. At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we understand the importance of holistic treatment,  If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, call to get the help you deserve.

Whole-Person Approach to Depression Treatment

People arrive at the point of depression from many different places, indicating there are a variety of paths to recovery. In short, there is no one answer for depression and no single path to recovery. Just as the reasons for depression are a varied as the individuals who suffer from it, the paths to recovery will also be unique to each individual. In order to deal with an individual’s depression, his or her uniqueness and story must be heard, understood, and integrated into a personalized recovery.

Applying the whole-person approach to recovery can individualize treatment for depression. The whole-person approach is based upon recognition of the unique components of an individual’s life and how these components interweave to and from the whole person.

The major components to the whole-person approach are emotional, environmental, relational, physical, and spiritual. Together, these components provide keys to why a persona is depressed, and they can open a doorway to his or her recovery.

Emotional Influences

We are emotional beings, and we choose to acknowledge or express those emotions in outward forms. We are never far from our feelings and emotions. They trip us up when we are stressed or tired. They sneak up on us at unexpected moments. They support our expectations, fuel our disappointment, and energize our victories.

When depression settles into a person’s life, emotions become confused. A promotion at work may produce thoughts of despair and fear. Minor daily irritants can become major life hurdles. The joy of others can become a gloomy reminder of inner insecurities. Even if life appears to be going well, our emotional balance can become tilted toward depression, at the mercy of the dangerous balance act of anger, fear, shame, and guilt.

Environmental Influences

We live in a world where complexity greets us every morning. What are we going to wear? What are we going to eat? How are we going to get to work? Which tasks are we going to complete? What calls are we going to deal with first? Should we answer our cell phone, our home phone, respond to our email, reply to our voice mail, check and update our social networks—and in what order? From the moment we awake, the assault begins. We are overwhelmed. The assault demands a response, and retreating into depression can be hat response.

Relational Influences

We constantly use relationship to determine our position in life. We observe the world and people around us and make decisions about who we are based on how we believe others perceive us. We define our position by the people with whom we interact—online and off, which can be, and often are, two different dynamics altogether, as we tend to mask our real selves behind our virtual personas. We use this information to triangulate our state of well-being, factoring in what we’ve learned or observed in the past, a view of our present circumstances, and the potential outcome for our future.

Depending on our ability to reason truthfully, these relationships provide us with a sense of wee-being or foreboding. The uniqueness of our circumstances and your relationships can either help or hinder our ability to deal with these ever-present thoughts and emotions.

Physical Influences

In the past, the answer to a broken-down spirit was a pharmaceutical “fix” that relaxed the physical body. But as we learn more and more about brain science and depression, as well as the interworking of mind, body, and spirit, we are learning the potential exists for our bodies to act as partners in recovery instead of as opponents.

Spiritual Influences

Wrestling with questions or worth and purpose are spiritual issues. Who am I? What is my purpose? Where is joy? When will this be over? Why is this happening? How did I get this way? The spiritual component of a person’s life can provide direction toward both the right questions and the needed answers.

Whole-person healing has evolved over the last few decades to become an industry standard and highly esteemed approach to depression recovery. The Center • A Place of Hope continues to be a leader in whole-person treatment center for depression as well as for many other emotional and behavioral disorders. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, The Center • A Place Of Hope can help. Call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you soon.

The content of this post was derived from Gregory L. Jantz’s book Turning Your Down into Up.