Combat the cycle of depression! In my previous two newsletters I have discussed the cycle of depression (black and white all-or-nothing thinking styles, “over-thinking”) and it’s effects (exhaustion, de-motivation, isolation, increased stress levels, feelings of hopelessness, and thus experiencing fewer pleasant experiences). Due to de-motivation the depressed person will often isolate him/herself and these results in basic human needs not being met. Depression is maintained by introspection and inactivity!

I have previously discussed how meditation can give the brain a break, helps the body to recuperate, lowers anxiety levels, improves sleep and helps a person think more clearly. Committing to daily meditation is the first step in taking action to combat this cycle of depression.

The next step to combat the cycle of depression is to identify impaired basic human needs and to look for solutions to address this impairment. It is understood that we all have basic human needs in order to be happy and fulfilled.  This exercise requires time and concentration.

Here’s a summary of the basic human needs and how you can meet them.

  1. The need to give and receive attention – fulfilled through friends, family, colleagues, pets and acquaintances.
  2. The need to look after mind and body physical needs – fulfilled through sleep, rest, exercise, healthy diet, fresh air, physical touch and adequate health care.
  3. The need for a sense of safety and security – fulfilled through knowing you will not be abused or in danger in your daily life (for example from an abusive partner), feeling reasonably sure you are not going to lose your house, your job and so on.
  4. The need for a sense of community and making a contribution – fulfilled through belonging to a community, association, club, a group of like-minded friends, even family, just knowing there are other people “out there” who feel and think the same as you do.
  5. The need for challenge and creativity – fulfilled through learning new skills, making progress, being creative, having fun, pushing yourself outside your “comfort zone”.
  6. The need for intimacy – fulfilled through a loving partner, a close friend or relative a beloved pet.
  7. The need for a sense of control – fulfilled through organizing finances, controlling emotions, being assertive in relationships, making and acting on decisions, learning practical skills, devising long-term goals.
  8. The need for a sense of status –fulfilled through having clear roles professionally, in a relationship, community or family, having a basis for positive self-esteem and the thinking styles to enable that.
  9. The need for a sense of meaning – purpose and goals – fulfilled through having a strong sense that your plans for the future are worthwhile and that you can achieve them, having beliefs and values that you hold dear and can stand up for and having shared goals.

Take your time over this exercise. There is no need (and it is not wise) to try to do them all at once. It may take you several days to complete this – that’s fine.

  1. Under each need create a heading ‘Where I am now‘ and write how that need is currently being met in your life (for example, even if you only see one person a week, this counts toward meeting your need for attention).
  2. Grade how well each need is currently being catered for and enter a score a 10 would be ‘completely’ and 1 would be ‘hardly at all.’
  3. Now create a heading ‘Where I’d like to be, and describe how you would like things to be with this need.
  4. List ‘Steps to take‘ , putting down some practical ways in which you could get this need better met now, later, and in the future.
  5. Finally write down how you will know that this need is now being adequately well met under the heading ‘I’ll know I’ve got there when‘………..

Here is an example of how the completed exercise will look:-

Need                    To give and receive attention

Currently          I speak to my mother once a week on the ‘phone. I see people in the store. I see my

Husband. I feel I am not getting as much interaction as I need. Score is 4/10

I’d like to be      I’d like to spend more time with my women friends. I’d like to join a group where I can meet

others  with shared interests. I’d like to know my neighbours better – I think local people should
know each other better.

Steps                    Now: I can call up Ann and plan to go out for coffee. I’ll see if we can meet every week at a suitable
time. I can start saying “hi” to the neighbours. If they don’t speak to me, it doesn’t mean I can’t speak
to them. Later: I can find out when the aerobics class is on at the sports centre. I can get information
about local societies and choose one or more to join. Future: I can contact my local volunteering
centre and see if I can do a half-day each week.

Signs of              I’ll know I’ve got there when I am spending at least 4 – 6 hours in a week in the
Success              company of people other than my husband and when I’m meeting one or more of my
friends once a week.

It is recommended that you do this exercise every 3 months whilst recovering from depression and thereafter every 6 months. When you take action to combat the cycle of depression you move away from introspection and “stuck” thinking styles and into looking for solutions.

It may be that you need to learn certain skills to meet unmet needs or require counselling to improve your relationships; I can help you!  Contact me on 07708 961 073 or e-mail for further information or to make a booking.

Go to this page for booking information to alleviate depression.

Source Uncommon Knowledge