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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Three Elements to Ward Off Depression

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 21st 2012

 

stopThe slide into depression sometimes can sneak up on us seemingly without warning and its best if we’re prepared. This post is going to get straight to the point. There are three elements that can be supportive when we finding ourselves falling back into the cycles of depressed mood.

Here they are:

  • Get Mindful – As you may or may not know by now, mindfulness simply means awareness. So all we’re doing here is being aware, as a matter of fact, of the state of being that we’re in. If we’re sliding into depressed mood we’re simply naming it, “sliding into depressed mood.” Name the symptoms too, what are the facts? “I’m noticing more negative thoughts, I’m overeating, I’m drinking too much, I’m isolating, I’m sleeping more than before, I’m more irritable, etc…” 

  • Practice Mastery – This is about taking action. Find all the things that give you as sense of accomplishment in life and list them out on a piece of paper. These will be across a continuum from washing a dish to doing the taxes to figuring out how to finally become a Photoshop pro. The continuum is important because when we’re sliding into depression our resources for getting something done will vary. Sometimes all we’ll have the capacity to do is that one dish or that one shower and at other times we may be able to do a bit more. Now schedule these things and also note the things that you’re already doing that give you a sense of accomplishment. 

  • Find Nourishment – On the other side of that same piece of paper, list things in your life that give you a sense of pleasure. Again, this is going to be across that same continuum from petting my dog or cat to taking a bike ride to going on that trip that I’ve always wanted to take. These are all things you’re going to want to start scheduling in your calendar. 

Getting mindful is the start because we can’t make change unless we are aware of what is happening. Practicing mastery sends the message inside that I am capable and life is moving forward. Finding nourishment sends the message that I’m worthy enough about myself to take care of myself. This is critical in the face of the shame of unworthiness that often arises with this slide. 

Take these three elements with you and practice them when you start noticing the depressive signs arising. Let them be the net that catches you. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit form.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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