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On average, you may have 40,000 thoughts per day. If more than half of those thoughts are negative or depressing, a very dangerous cycle may begin. Major Depressive Disorder — typically known more simply as “depression” — is a common, diagnosable mental health condition. There are many valuable treatment options. However, as you work towards recovery, you may deal with an influx of depressing thoughts.

Commonly Reported Depressing Thoughts

  • I’m a burden on those in my life.
  • Others don’t like me and often judge me.
  • I can’t recover/I am too weak to fight this condition.
  • Everyone else is living a better life than I am.
  • It’s best if I keep all this to myself.
  • I’d show weakness if I talked about my feelings.
  • It would be better if I weren’t around.

These and other thoughts have countless variations. Regardless of the wording, a real danger exists. Depressing thoughts are prolific. They come in waves and can rapidly multiply. Dealing with such an onslaught is a helpful — and absolutely doable — step towards both hope and recovery.

5 Helpful Ways to Deal With Your Depressing Thoughts

Everyone feels down or sad at times. This is an inescapable part of the human condition. Such moments can guide us to new ideas. They can also help highlight all the times we feel in top form. However, when depressing thoughts become the dominant narrative of your internal monologue, it’s time to tap into your inner resources.

1. Recognize Black-and-White Thinking

Depression is less powerful within the nuanced boundaries of the grey area of your mind. The realm of black-and-white thinking spawns many false or extreme impressions. It also hampers your quest for answers. Practice identifying those times when you engaged general, unproductive, “always” and “never” thought patterns.

2. Keep a Journal

When depressing thoughts arrive, they take up lots of real estate in your head. How would it feel to get them out of that space and onto the page? Keeping a journal allows you to track the patterns of negative thoughts. In addition, you can monitor what triggers such episodes. When journaling, try to close out each entry on a positive note to maintain healthy momentum.

3. Develop Active Counter-Measures

Once you better recognize your triggers, you may better see and feel a depressive episode approaching. Counter these events with upbeat and distracting activity — preferably something physical. Don’t rely on social media for relief as it can swiftly end up reinforcing the negativity. Get active!

4. Accept and Recognize What’s Happening

Recovering from depression is a process. Accepting this reality can help reduce the impact of depressive thought attacks. They are part of the process and not a symptom of hopelessness.

It is vital that you develop that understanding that feelings are not facts. Challenge your assumptions, reactions, and moods.  Practice labeling your thoughts as either “reality” or “emotions.” Work on noticing and differentiating between the two.

5. Create a Support System

Any problem is tougher when tackled alone. Depression is definitely better managed with a trusted support system. If that’s not possible — for whatever reason — right now, ask for other forms of help (see below).

Seek Professional Support

Depressing thoughts can thrive in times of solitude and loneliness. Situations can feel darkest and most daunting when we feel alone or forgotten. Creating a support system of peers and family is helpful. But it’s not a cure-all. Also, as mentioned above, you may not be in the best position to pull together such a team. There is, however, another option: therapy.

Reaching out to a psychotherapist is a major step in accepting and addressing depression. In regular therapy sessions, you will have a guide to help safely explore the roots of your emotional pain. Your patterns and habits will be explored productively. Strategies and solutions will be sought and implemented. You do not have to manage depression alone. Please read more on my depression specialty page or contact me soon for a consultation.