Depression is often caused by the lingering effects of negative memories. In this article, you will be given tools to help you identify which memories are unresolved and how you can use simple thinking tools to heal your depression.
For many people who are plagued with depression, they can resolve it by discovering the memories that led to the beliefs that caused the depression. Depression is caused by a series of thoughts that life is no good and it will not get any better. The first step is to get old pictures, talk to people about your past, and write every memory that was hurtful or disappointing to you. Include positive memories so that you the exercise does not become too depressing.
Close your eyes and visualize a positive memory that you retrieved from the first exercise. Spend at least fifteen minutes dwelling on the memory, until you are feeling good. Then visualize the negative memory for five to ten minutes, then switch back to the positive memory. When you are finished you will probably not feel so depressed about the memory. Do this for each memory over the course of a few days.
When you are depressed, you probably have developed many beliefs such as “Nothing is good in my life”,”People are disappointing”, “Good things only happen to other people.” Write the beliefs that you have from the positive as well as the negative memory. Compare the beliefs and see if any beliefs from the positive memory contradict the belief from the negative. For example, “Nothing good ever happens to me.” Then you have a belief from the positive experience that you did have a good thing happen. This dissolves the belief that nothing good happens.
Most of us base our beliefs on our past experience. However, you can adapt some beliefs to contradict the evidence. For example: “I have not tried everything to make my life work.” “I can learn how to have better experiences and accomplish more.” “What I did in the past has nothing to do with what I will do in the future.” You can be one of the lucky people who can decide what beliefs you will adapt despite the evidence.
One useful belief to adapt is that every experience and memory can teach you something. If you had a painful romantic breakup you could decide to do your next relationship differently, or enjoy being single for a while. If you lose your job you can view it as an opportunity to reevaluate your career choices or to learn how to do the type of job better. When you see every memory and experience as learning ,you will never be depressed or see life as hopeless again.
When you are doing the visualization exercise, don’t dwell on the negative memory longer than the positive. This will keep you depressed and possibly make you more depressed. The idea is to overpower the depression with good feelings.
Some people who are negative, pessimistic, and get depressed pride themselves on being realistic. Realism must include belief in the possibility of a good outcome.
People who criticize you or have criticized you did it for their own reasons. Some of the reasons people criticize include to bolster their own ego by making others seem inferior, to make sense of their world, and to control others. Perhaps a boss criticized you because they perceived you as a threat to their position. A useful belief to adapt might be that you will only know if you are good at something if you have practiced and learned it.
There are three categories of abuse that people endure. Physical abuse includes any unwanted touch. Emotional abuse includes yelling, verbal attacks, name calling, unwanted sarcasm as well as neglect. It can be simple thing as a waitress not making eye contact or as severe as parents not bathing or feeding a small child. Sexual abuse is any form of sexual contact that is unwanted. If you have memories of these abuses you do not have to continue to see yourself as a victim. You can learn to trust people who earn your trust. You can only let people in who treat you with respect.
There is always something that you can feel good about. The best thing to do when you feel hopeless is pick something to feel grateful for. A moment of gratitude can quickly undo hopelessness.
There are many ways that you can change your thinking when you feel depressed. Apply the techniques and you not only can eliminate depression, but you will feel empowered that you can control your thinking and consequentially control your feelings. Then you can move on to a happier and more successful present and future.
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