Our psychotherapeutic practice specializes in the treatment of depression. It’s our aim to help our clients feel empowered and independent and to promote their ability to take good care of themselves. That’s why we emphasise possibilities for self-help. Here in this article we have put together five measures that you can put in place alone to help enhance your well-being.

Gaining distance from depressive thinking patterns

We are all plagued, at least sometimes, by the constant monologue in our heads, which comments, criticizes, reminds us of tasks still to be completed, chews on unpleasant things from the past or fantasizes about scenarios in the future. This automatic, ruminative process can make it really hard for us to find our inner peace and is a common component of depression. To counterbalance this, you can learn certain techniques that help you distance yourself from depressive thinking patterns. This can reduce rumination, inner restlessness, sleep problems and irritability. If you have sufficient self-motivation, you can even benefit from various offers on the Internet or on apps. Mindfulness approaches such as this Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, available online for free (https://palousemindfulness.com), can help you to get into a better relationship with your own feelings and thoughts, so that these do not overwhelm you. An app called Headspace can achieve the same effect. In order to reduce the „inner noise“ of the constant dialogue in the head, I can highly recommend the technique of self-hypnosis after Betty Eriksen (http://www.hypnotherapie-muenchen-innenstadt.de/selbsthypnose-nach-betty-erickson/), that can help you focus your attention on your own soothing memories, like the beach during your last vacation or sitting in a beautiful garden, while experiencing a very effective relaxation.

Attention to positives to combat depression

Because we human beings tend to pay more attention to unfinished, missing, or erroneous things, the good things in life often get forgotten, or we notice them only superficially or not at all. For our well-being, this tendency is unfortuntate.

You can cultivate a beneficial attitude by making it a task to consciously notice positive things on a daily basis. If you keep these things detailed in writing in a so-called “Journal of beautiful moments”, you are training your brain to pay more attention to what you can be grateful for. If you do this regularly, you will notice in a short time that you are going through life with more optimism and lightness. After a few weeks, you’ll have a beautiful collection of detailed descriptions of the things you’ve enjoyed or appreciated. Later, reading through this collection at less fortunate times will remind you of the experience of happy moments you are capable of.

Developing a positive vision of the future beyond depression

When you suffer from depression, your attention is generally more focused on the negative than is good for you. The development of a positive vision of the future, which gives hope and is relatively realistic, can helps provide a useful orientation. Only when you have an idea where you want to go, does a journey (including your own life) have a positive meaning. The constant preoccupation with what is wrong and with what you want to leave behind is not helpful to be able to reorient yourself. If you allow yourself daydreams and envision a pleasant future in a few months, you can increase your sensitivity to your own desires and needs, which will give you a vision of the future. Whether the exact vision of the future ever occurs is less important than the encouragement that comes from having a positive outlook on a possible, achievable future. It is an important basis for communicating with ourselves that our brains cannot do much with a negative self-instruction. That’s why it helps a lot if you feed your brain with instructions not just about what to get away from but also what to move towards. 

Exercise and sport as an antidepressant

It is now very well documented that exercise and sports activate processes and in the body including neurotransmitters in the brain, which elevate the mood. See: http://psychotherapie-muenchen-innenstadt.de/depressionen-medikamente-und-bewegung/. Depending on your condition, activities such as short walks, a workout in the fitness center, or even pushups, squats, or burpees in your own home can be effective. The use of a step counter can also motivate many people to incorporate more exercise into their lives. The important thing is: Do not wait until you feel like moving. In a depressive mood this would be a major obstacle. The pleasure and the joy are the result and not the condition for getting going. It might even be enough to agree with yourself to walk around the block or go jogging a couple of times a week for five minutes. Of course, if you feel like having five more minutes or more, you can of course extend the time.

Strengthen connections with your surroundings 

Depressive mood is often based on the perception of life as meaningless. It is therefore helpful to consciously strengthen the connection to things, people or activities that mean something to you. This can be the contact to other people, whereby the quality of the contact plays a large role (see http://psychotherapie-muenchen-innenstadt.de/depression-und-beziehungen/). In order to increase the number of contacts in your life, Munich offers many different possibilities, for example through the Münchner Volkshochschule. For religious people, contact with one’s own faith or with the church can be part of the healing process. For others, the connection to nature can be a way out of depression, as we often enjoy contact with a larger whole through this path and thereby come out of our own negative circle of thought. If you are someone who used to find meaning and pleasure in artistic expression, you may feel alive through renewed contact with, for example, music, dance, painting, photography, movies, or plays. The proximity to a form of expression in which we find a part of ourselves or in which we see inspiration for our future, helps us to get out of our own vicious circle.

Psychotherapy as a supplement to your self-healing

In many cases, of course, it takes more than these five measures to more significantly lift the mood and longer term. For this purpose, psychotherapy is available. With the help of a trained eye you can discover the gaps that you can fill to lead a better life. We like to make it our mission to help you enjoy being yourself.

If you are interested in psychotherapy in our private practice, feel free to contact us.