Every suicide news sets the discussion going on depression and how to deal with it. It is a sad fact that depression affects one in 15 people. There is a pretty good chance that either you or someone you know has gone through depression.
Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is a result of a combination of biological, social, and psychological factors. The most apparent symptoms of depression are sadness and lack of interest in any activity. These may also be accompanied by a disturbance in your sleep pattern, appetite, concentration, and energy levels.
How Can Positive Affirmations Help Treat Depression?
A lack of self-esteem also accompanies persistent sadness. This leads to negative thoughts and the constant feeling that you are not good enough. A small mistake or a minor criticism can become magnified in your head, and that may be all you think about through the rest of the day. The negative thoughts cloud your judgment and stop you from seeing the good that is happening in your life.
[Also Read: How to Get Rid of Depression Using Natural Remedies]
Positive affirmations help combat this effect. Research shows that positive self-affirmations activates the brain system that is associated with processing thoughts about oneself and one’s achievements. There are three different ways in which this works.
- Affirmations make you concentrate on your positive values.
- It draws attention to your success.
- It equips you to deal with any threats to your progress with the efficient use of your psychological resources.
Studies show that when you focus on positive self-affirmations with a future goal in mind, the parts of your brain associated with each of these gets activated and they work together to reinforce each other. Having a future goal in mind helps in the self-affirmation. Practicing positive affirmations helps in attaining the future purpose.
[Read: Herbal Remedies for Depression]
How to Use Positive Affirmations for Depression Treatment?
Now that you know how effective positive affirmations are for overcoming depression, the next question naturally is how to be so. One of the plus points about using affirmations is that there are no strict rules about it. There are just a few pointers based on solid research to help you make the most out of this treatment.
Repetition is key here. You cannot do it once and expect it to work. You have to do it repeatedly. Ten is a significant number to work with, but you can increase or decrease it according to your convenience. You can either recite the quotes of affirmation in your head or out loud periodically. You can even type it in a notepad on your phone and look at it repeatedly.
When do you say or write these quotes? Every time a negative thought enters your mind, you need to counter it by speaking or writing them. In addition to this, you can also make it a habit of repeating them when you wake up and when you go to sleep.
You can associate them with a particular activity in your day and do both together. It may seem a little forced and fake in the beginning, but have faith and stick to this routine. You will notice an improvement in your outlook, and slowly, the depression(1) will start to subside.
[Read: Hypnosis for Depression]
How to Select Positive Affirmations That Work for You
Using a positive affirmation to overcome depression may seem too simplistic. But it is not. It forces you to look within yourself and identify your positive qualities at a time when you find it hard to do so. The affirmations have to be believable to you. They should also be practical. Here are a few tips on writing your affirmations:
- Identify the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Write down your positive qualities that can help counteract these negative thoughts.
- Keep your affirmations short. You need to be able to remember and repeat these affirmations throughout the day.
- Your affirmations should start with “I” or “My.” This makes it more personal.
- Your affirmations should be believable.
- Your affirmations should be in the present tense. It is not what you will do in the future, but what you will do now.
- Link the affirmations to a goal and make sure the affirmations help you reach that goal.
- Do not include any negative words in the affirmations.
- Ask a close friend or family member to help you write the affirmations. The depression may blind you to your positive qualities, but others can help you identify these qualities.
- Your affirmations could have short term, as well as long term goals.
Examples of Such Affirmations for Overcoming Depression
Unsure about how to write quotes of affirmation? Here are a few examples that can guide you:
- I am focussed.
- I am strong.
- I am confident.
- I am grateful for everything I have in my life.
- I am worthy of love and compassion.
- I have the power to overcome my depression.
- I am proud of who I am.
- I am working hard to <insert a goal>.
- My failures do not define me.
- I am strong enough to walk away from an unhealthy and toxic situation.
- I will go out of the house today.
- I refuse to be defeated.
- I love my body just the way it is.
- I can survive this.
- Today I will do <insert a simple task such as walking or attending a meeting or meeting a friend or eating out>.
- I am more than my mistakes.
Does It Work?
Depression causes you to focus on all the negatives around you. Positive thoughts direct your mind towards focusing on the good things and help you retrain your brain. There have been many studies that have evaluated the effect of positive psychology on depression. A review which looked at the results of these studies concludes that positive emotions do play a significant role in treating depression.
Continuing to practice the positive self-affirmations(2) even after you have overcome depression can prevent relapse. This is an excellent method for motivating yourself and developing self-confidence.
[Read: Meditation for Depression]
1. Are Positive Affirmations Enough to Overcome Depression?
Depression affects every person differently. You should start your treatment by consulting with a doctor. Counseling, along with daily positive affirmations, can go a long way in helping you.
2. How Often Should I Use Positive Affirmations to Overcome Depression?
You should say or write the affirmations every time a negative thought comes into your head. You should also start and your day with them. They can be used as often as you want.
3. How Do I Know If the Affirmations Are Working?
As you keep using them every day, you will start to notice a decrease in the frequency of negative thoughts and increase in your ability to focus on the positive. Do not expect to see an immediate and sudden change.
Depression is often misunderstood but treatable illness. If you can identify the symptoms early enough and start using positive affirmations daily, you can prevent severe depression. Even if you only realize you are depressed after severe symptoms begin to show, positive affirmations along with counseling can help you recover from it.