Action against depression starts in the mind

Hailey Walsh, Staff Writer

The sun doesn’t shine, birds don’t chirp, food tastes bland and colors are dull. Everything that was once great is only okay. When life loses its meaning, it’s difficult to get up and keep going.  

Depression is different for everyone. For some, it comes in waves. For others, it’s always there, sitting in the corner of your mind. Because depression shows up differently for everyone, it’s impossible to give a universal cure. However, there is a place where everyone can begin.  

The mind is the best place to start when trying to combat depression. Oftentimes, depression is accompanied by a slew of negative thoughts. Think about the negative things your mind is telling you and go through them one by one.  

If your mind is telling you that you are stupid, it’s important to give yourself reassurance that you are smart, hardworking and trying your best. It’s key to outnumber the amount of negative self-talk with positive self-talk.  

In order to outnumber negative self-talk, give yourself 3 positive reassurances per negative word. You can even use examples of past instances that refute the negative word. For example, “Last semester I struggled with a difficult class, but I worked hard and ended the semester with an A. This shows that I do work hard, and I am an intellectual.”   

In time, your mind will start giving you these positive affirmations without needing to consciously work through the process. This will eventually lead to the absence of negative words since they’re constantly being refuted, disproved and replaced.  

An absence of negative thoughts greatly relieves depressive symptoms. When you’re feeling good about yourself, sadness is alleviated, and greater self-esteem is achieved. In addition, with every compliment you receive, your brain receives a hit of dopamine. By consistently praising yourself, you can alter dopamine levels in your brain.  

Another step to take is changing the way you view taking care of yourself. Do you solely view it as something you have to do? While self-care is necessary, by only viewing it as a chore, you’re missing the opportunity to feel the love within self-care.  

This mindset came to me with the realization that I deserve to be cared for. I deserve to be taken care of and given grace, especially when I’m struggling. I wondered who would be there with me, every second of every day to give me that care. I soon realized the perfect candidate for the job. Me.  

I made a list of things that made me feel loved and cared for based on my experiences with past partners, friends and family. This list included the small things, such as sweet notes left in my room, or my bed being made for me when I was struggling. The list helped me realize what I crave and relish the most, and I was able to begin doing small things to show myself similar care.  

I realized that from the act of my bed being made, I enjoyed seeing a physical reminder that I am loved. Every time I looked at my bed that day, I was overwhelmed by how cared for I felt. Now, when I make my bed, it’s a visual reminder to myself, from myself, of my care.   

The beautiful thing about life is that you’re there for all of it. Nobody knows you the way you do, therefore, nobody has a cheat code to loving you the way you do. Take that advantage and learn about yourself. Note the moments you’ve felt the most cared for and recreate them. Figure out what elevates dopamine in your brain. Learn about everything, from your deepest desires to your biggest adversaries, and cultivate your life to your liking.