We’re all pretty familiar with self-care. Generally, we think of it as any action taken to soothe and improve your mental and physical well-being. In fact, self-care can be anything from attending to your basic needs (such as showering and brushing your teeth) to practicing meditation to getting a massage.
Self-care is crucial because it can be a restorative and refreshing process when you need it most. Or it can be a lifeline of routine activity that keeps you feeling like yourself during difficult seasons.
Unfortunately, though, the motivation to take care of ourselves often diminishes when we’re feeling sad or depressed. We may feel too drained by negative emotion or even feel we don’t deserve self-care.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective method of treating depression and low mood, along with other co-occurring mental health disorders, that can make self-care a low priority.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
While there are a large variety of therapeutic treatments, CBT is one of the “most widely used evidence-based” psychotherapies. CBT is founded on the idea that the way we perceive a situation affects how we feel. Thus, problematic behavior is linked to thoughts and beliefs about the situation than the reality of the situation itself.
CBT also asserts that in order to change your problematic behaviors, you need to first challenge the thoughts and beliefs that fuel that particular behavior. When you consistently challenge unproductive thinking, you can strategically learn to master your reactions and change course. From there, a sense of wellbeing and self-control will support an elevated mood and a desire to take better care of yourself.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Depression
Our negative thoughts are powerful. Left unchecked, they can inspire dark emotions and low-self esteem, which then compel us to operate in self-defeating ways. And from there, a depressive cycle may be born.
For instance, many people who suffer from depression also have a tendency to isolate themselves. When they experience a depressive episode they may say to themselves, “Today has been terrible. I’m so miserable and unhappy, and nothing I can do will change that. If I go out with my friends tonight, I’ll just bring the mood down.”
They may then decide against going out and hole up at home instead. At home alone, they may then worry about what people think or whether they were missed at all. They may entertain isolating thoughts such “I’m no fun to be around; I’m going to lose every friend I have soon. I wish my depression didn’t always get in the way.”
Their behavior (staying home alone) simply confirms their original, inaccurate beliefs about themselves. The thought patterns and behaviors continue to feed each other unless they are challenged and replaced with a healthier thought pattern that affirms their worth and encourages relationship and action based in reality.
CBT recognizes that distressed, depressed people often have inaccurate or unrealistic views and perspectives. Hence, by helping them evaluate and challenge those distortions, a trained CBT therapist can help them experience real relief as work on awareness reveals depression’s repetitive lies.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you cope
Understand, there is nothing wrong with you, you simply don’t yet have the proper perspective to put yourself in a healthy mental space. Once you identify the thought distortions, you can begin to tackle the next steps toward recovery: active and enthusiastic self-care and increased productivity.
Each person is different, so each person’s depression is different as well. In our CBT sessions, we’ll uncover your negative thoughts and you’ll learn how to problem-solve and take strategic, positive action. With guidance, you can move consistently forward.
As we work on improving the relationship between your thoughts, your perceptions, and your behaviors you may see that you feel more in control of your mind and choices.
Take the First Step,
You don’t have to live daily life actively suffering from depression. While getting help for your struggles can feel intimidating, there is absolutely nothing shameful about improving your mental well being.
As you practice new life skills you’ll learn to manage your depression more effectively. And eventually, you’ll feel competent, energized and prepared to care for yourself in the best ways possible.
Click the link to learn more about depression treatment services and finally find the relief you deserve.