Counselling is a smart way to treat your depression, work through issues, and get advice on specific problems. However, counselling sessions are often short and infrequent, and you might be wondering what you can do to further your depression recovery outside of counselling.
This is a great topic to discuss during your sessions and your counsellor can help you to come up with ideas and set goals, but you can also get started on your own.
Keep reading for details on three ways you can supplement your counselling.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
When you feel depressed, it's easy to start focusing on all the negative things in your life and forgetting the positives. Even when things are going badly, it's likely that you still have things to be grateful for, like access to food, water and shelter, a supportive family, or a hobby you enjoy. Try putting a journal next to your bed and writing down three things you're grateful for, every morning and night. You'll soon start to notice your thoughts becoming more positive, and looking back through the journal is a great way to cheer yourself up on a bad day.
2. Take up Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation has been shown to benefit mental health greatly and it can make depression and anxiety easier to deal with. Meditation teaches you to accept your thoughts, but avoid getting carried away with them. After some meditation practice, you might be able to think, "'I'm feeling sad, and that's okay," rather than beating yourself up for your emotions. Try searching online for some guided meditations to listen to, or simply set a time and spend a few minutes focusing closely on your breath. When a thought pops into your head, just let it pass by without obsessing over it. If you decide meditation is helpful to you, you could even start attending a regular class.
3. Start an Exercise Class
Exercise has been shown to have huge benefits when it comes to treating depression, and starting a class is a great way to get motivated. Pick a sport you've always enjoyed, or an activity you think looks interesting, and head to a class at your local gym. As well as getting fit and feeling better, you'll have the chance to meet others and make new friends. This is a great confidence booster and helps build up your support system.
Want to supplement your depression counselling with other helpful activities? Try keeping a gratitude journal, meditating regularly and attending an exercise class.