I’m feeling down. What can I do to help?

How do you find your way back to a better place?

Clients have reported a sense of relief when they start to feel themselves again and emerge from the cycle of negative self-talk and hopelessness.

Some clients have described the feeling of finally coming out from a tunnel into the sunlight. The world becomes a place you want to be and rather than apathy and avoidance you begin to experience an awareness that there are things you want to do and a feeling of motivation to take action and get involved in life once more.

So how do you get this place?

Reaching this emotional state involves understanding one important insight that countless psychological studies have revealed.

If you change what you do every day you will change how you feel.

Don’t wait till you feel better to start doing the things you once loved.

What really matters in your life?

Focus on what you enjoy and how you can make this happen. For most of us in our busy lives this will require scheduling such activities into the week.

Small changes in daily routines can have a powerful effect. They can put the joy and meaning back into your life.

BEHAVIOURAL ACTIVATION is one of the simples and most effective responses to feeling better and alleviating symptoms of depression.

This is all about ACTION

A — Assess behaviour/mood
C – Choose alternate responses
T – Try out those alternate responses
I – Integrate these alternatives
O – Observe results
N – Now evaluate

The goal being the understanding of the relationship between actions and emotional consequences and a systematic replacement of dysfunctional patterns with adaptive ones.

Identify what activities are linked to depression by monitoring your behaviour (Can they be modified in some way?)
Identify values that are important to you and link values to activities so you are motivated to engage in them.
Look closely at habitual activities that are contributing to depression. What activities are you avoiding? Prioritise activities that are fun as well as important to you.

Check out the Centre for Clinical Interventions Resources including the ‘Fun Activities Catalogue’ which provides a starting point if you’re having difficulties in coming up with ideas.

If further help is needed please seek out help from one of our team at Attuned Psychology.

Good luck!

Rachael Elliott
Clinical Psychologist

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