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Understanding the Importance Self-Talk When Depressed

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When you are depressed, your self-talk can become centered on the negative chatter of despair and hopelessness. Many people can underestimate the importance of self-talk when depressed and that it can actually help them feel better.

Putting Yourself First

When you’ve been through a bout of depression, it’s understandable to feel drained and to have some confusion about where to start focusing your energy. While you may have more drive to power through your days, the exhaustion of depression doesn’t just go away. The feelings of exhaustion can vary, in some, it could take weeks or months to disappear. We like to recommend to clients that they find ways to put themselves first, especially planning specific types of “me” time. This may be hard to do if you are trying to take on more responsibilities at work or to spend more time with the kids, but it can be done.

Here are some ways to really start understanding the importance of self-talk when depressed and tips to move forward:

Self-Talk and Sharing

Find someone to safe to share your feelings with – this goes beyond close family and friends. Sometimes looking for help like a licensed therapist is a great starting point. They have the training and tools to help you understand the importance of self- talk during your depression. However, it is also important to stay connected to your  partner and family during this time. Isolation can be so easy when depressed , but you might find that the people closest worry about you – don’t be afraid to connect.

  • When you do share, remember that depression is a medical condition, and it’s not evidence of you being imperfect or failing others in some way.
  • You can also share what you have learned about yourself through the recovery process. People who care about you will offer their support.
  • Above all, there should be no shame in being depressed and getting help for depression. 

How Do I Change My Self-Talk?

There is a lot of research out there on the power of using affirmations. For instance, you’re going to talk about yourself in the present tense. Describe exactly how you want to feel or what you want to feel that day. There are different apps where you can access daily affirmations. These apps reinforce the importance of self-talk when depressed. Or, you can also learn how to make one for yourself based on your day of activities. For example, the over-stressed worker who wakes up and already feels dread about upcoming meetings & difficult people may choose to say: “I will have productive positive meetings today. My interactions will be meaningful and will create future business opportunities.” Keep your self-talk phrased in a positive way. Studies show that your brain responds and processes positive statements over negative ones.

The Negativity Bias

Understanding how brain evolution has occurred will help you understand the importance of self-talk when depressed. Dr. Rick Hanson, a leader in brain psychology said, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones.” He states the brain evolved, it was critically important to learn from negative experiences – that’s how we survived the stone ages! In short, the brain has specialized circuits that register negative self-talk and emotions in our emotional memory. On the other hand, positive self-talk & experiences -unless they are very novel or extreme – are stored in your “normal memory” system. For positive self-talk and daily experiences to transfer from your short-term, normal memory system, your brain needs to hold something(like positive self-talk) in awareness for many seconds in a row. Once that process occurs, it slows stores and builds in your long-term memory system.

We Are Here to Help

In conclusion, going through depression for the first time can change your life. It is a life-changing experience that forces you to slow down and focus on your mental health and the importance of self-talk when depressed. You don’t have to struggle through depression alone. If you are located near Vancouver WA/Portland, OR area, reach out to us for more information –  contact us today, we are here for you!