A carpenter is ineffective at his craft without the necessary tools in his toolbox. Try, he may, the crafts produced would translate to mediocrity.
Like a carpenter, you need the right tools to cope with the mental disorder of depression. These tools should be varied and appropriate, some robust and otherwise.
What are some important tools to add to your depression toolkit? This article focuses on why a toolkit is important and some of the tools needed in your corner.
Why Is A Depression Toolkit Important?
What do you see? What are your emotions toward the world you call home?
Life is tough to deal with. Tragedies happen when you least expect them. Like a thief who shows up unannounced, depression doesn’t attack with a fanfare. It’s stealthy and unpredictable.
Today you’re a blitheful bird, echoing melodious tunes of hope and peace. The next you’re a wreck, a sombre figure groping and groaning for death, emotional peace, and stability.
A depression toolkit is crucial because it arms you. It gives you simple ammunitions to fight back. What are these ammunitions or tools to always have in your depression first aid kit?
Let’s consider 5.
1. Contact Information
Who are the people in your corner? Who are your biggest cheerleaders? These individuals want nothing more than to see you succeed, happy, and triumphant in your fight against depression. These people love you so much that they’re willing to forgo food and sleep to ensure you feel better after an emotional uproar.
You need the contact details of loved and trusted friends and relatives. An old proverbial saying suggests the importance of having friends. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens his friend.” When you’re feeling out of it, those in your contacts can offer emotional support. These individuals understand your situation. They are empathetic, patient, and approachable. Your contacts won’t tire of your story, regardless of how often it’s told to them. If this tool isn’t in your depression toolkit, start adding numbers today.
2. Positive and Elevating Music
How do you feel about music? Do you feel uplifted and secured after clocking a positive song on repeat?
Through music, the brain is coaxed into releasing brain chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters bear a strong “pleasure” connection. It’s no surprise that music has withstood the test of time and can be made simply by handclapping or foot-stomping.
It’s unclear how music boosts mental health.
However, researchers hint that some forms of music, including Mozart’s, behave much like exercise to the brain. According to information gleaned from Harvard, music may reduce stress levels. Also, music wields enough power to lift a flagging spirit.
The next time depression emerges like an unwelcomed quest, and forms a dingy cloud above your head, pull out your toolkit, and play some soothing positive soundtracks.
If you have problems finding suitable, elevating music, start with “Grateful” by Better Than Ezra. That song does know how to lift a spirit.
3. A Journal with Positive Thoughts
Positive thoughts keep your head above water. When your focus is fixed on positive thoughts and experiences, you spotlight the good in painful situations. Cultivating positivity each day starts with expressions of gratitude.
At the end of a bustling, emotionally fuelled day, ponder on at least 3 things you appreciate. A healthy habit that encourages positive reflexions is to keep a journal. You may dub this a ‘gratitude journal’ or your ‘journal of positivity. This type of journaling doesn’t have to be perfect. Log whatever positive emotions you feel on any given day.
If you have challenges finding positive things to list, start with journal prompts. This tool of positivity completes your toolbox. This is one ammunition you shouldn’t forget. If you’re not cultivating and reminiscing on positive thoughts, you’re leaving fissures for negativity to creep in. Be so filled with positive thoughts that there’s no room for negative ones.
4. Collect Mementos
What’s your happy place?
What photographs can you pull out this minute that would lift your spirit in a heartbeat?
Mementos are keepsakes or tokens that serve as reminders. They can be anything. These may include pictures of the people who love and adore you.
A quick, fun memento tool is a scrapbook. You’ll need memories for this option. Practice capturing moments with the people who love you, even if it’s a selfie. Choose photos with positive connections. If you have photos with friends and relatives, pitched on a background of a location you hate, it’s perhaps best to leave those out of your mementos.
Make your mementos your happy place. When you feel down, go through, and linger in those moments you love.
5. Inspirational Quotes and Mantras
Inspirational and motivational quotes do what they’re supposed to—inspire and motivate.
When repeated bouts of discouragement and negative emotions set in, inspirational and motivational quotes may prove uplifting. A superb idea is to keep on hand a list of motivational quotes that dig deep. You may create your own or search blogs and social media for popular ones. Instagram is big on motivational quotes. Start there. If you’re not a user of Instagram, start with Brainy Quotes. They have quotes in a plethora of categories.
Also, shake things up by adding affirmations to the mix. This will sweeten your toolbox. Repeating daily affirmations is a powerful tool to build positivity and strengthen your resolve and determination to act.
Creating quotes and affirmations is always an option. However, if you don’t trust your creative ability, the next option is to source them online.
Whatever inspirational quotes and affirmations you collect, there’s power in using them daily and allowing them to reassure your heart.
Taking Care of You
You’re a precious vessel.
A vessel that requires not only physical care but mental maintenance. Daily activities engaged in should be glutted with joy and happiness. As you grow in intimacy with your depression toolkit, a ‘care routine’ should be developed.
Don’t underestimate the power of physical training. Exercise might not be a favorite activity to engage in, but it’s food for the brain. There is a strong connection between exercise and psychological health.
You don’t always need to exercise to build muscles or shape your figure. However, you need exercise to influence how your brain thinks and operates. A regular, moderate exercise program may help you cope with stress and depression.
Also, sufficient rest is vital. Sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster, as it worsens depression. Eat healthy, brain-boosting foods, including nuts, fish, and grains.
Should You Seek Help?
A sick person needs a physician, do they not?
While some persons may be able to get by with a cough or bruise, more serious matters are a cause for concern.
Depression is a serious mental illness.
Some individuals practice coping mechanisms to improve their situation and do function without hindrance. Others, however, succumb to their depression and stay in a rut. To discern if it’s time to get professional help, the questions to follow are worth answering.
When you take a forward leap, does it feel like two steps backward? Are you isolated, always wanting to be alone instead of with friends? Is your sadness crippling?
Do you find it difficult to roll out of bed and, perhaps, go days without a shower? Do you lounge all day doing nothing because you lack motivation and interest?
Are you cynical and critical about everything? Are you having thoughts of suicide?
Do these questions resonate with you?
Perhaps the time has come to seek professional help.
Depression is a brutal monster. It’s a daily struggle, but you don’t have to go at it alone. As a mental health coach, I want to lead you safely through the struggles you face. I help you deal with crippling depression so that you can regain hope, put yourself out there to form meaningful friendships without the awkwardness, and lead a more fulfilling life. Book a free 30-minute coaching session so that you can begin the process of feeling better and take back control of your own life.