Depression is not a great thing. It is, in fact, depressing. But can depression be a good thing in some ways? While major depression is a risk factor for suicide and completely disrupts a person’s life, depression that is less severe has aspects about it that can lead to positive results. While it is normal to want to feel good and not bad, we tend to learn more in life from our setbacks than from our successes. Reflecting on what is causing us to feel bad many times helps keep us from experiencing the same situation over and over again.
Using Depression As a Tool for Personal Growth
One of the keys to dealing with, overcoming, and learning from depression is to put on one’s problem-solving hat. Turn the situation into a chance for personal growth. Learn how to reconnect to what truly matters in your life. The first step is to seek out people or a group of others who have dealt with depression and will understand what you are going through. Find a space for support that is safe, where you can get guidance. Make a plan to use your situation for self-betterment.
Engage in Self-reflection As a Means to Deal With and Learn from Depression
One of the most damaging features of depression is that a person loses their sense of direction. This is a time to ask oneself what sorts of changes to make in life. It is common for people who are depressed to ruminate about what went wrong or what is going wrong. It is important to turn this from an internally directed “blame game” into a path to self-improvement. Working with others who are in the same situation or have gone through bouts of depression helps in keeping on a path of self-reflection and discovery.
Perspective Is Important When Dealing With Depression
Where have you been? Where are you now? Where do you want to go? Many times an episode of depression is mostly caused by life’s circumstances. People who are in a bad job or a bad marriage can come to realize this during a bout of depression and make basic changes. An important insight is often that it is better to have help in dealing with depression. This may mean seeking out friends or family or a professional with the skills to help one deal with difficult issues.
When a person who is depressed realizes that they need to make changes, this opens doors to any number of positive outcomes but virtually all of these are made more likely when the person stays in touch with those people of institutions that provide them with solid support.
New and Positive Habits Speed Depression Recovery
Self-reflection and gaining new perspectives are first steps to the life changes that can help escape from and stay out of depression. What is especially important is to put into practice what one has learned. When seeking out friends, family, or a support group has helped with depression this behavior needs to become a habit. Old habits that led to feeling worse about oneself need to be avoided and replaced with healthy habits such as routine exercise, eating healthy foods, avoidance of addicting substances, taking prescribed medications, and finding time for oneself.
Many who find enjoyment in their work can fall prey to work as a replacement for life. When a new hobby or pastime helps relieve depression its needs to become a regular routine and not just a lifeboat in times of trouble.
Coping Skills Help Get Out of and Stay Out of Depression
There are five areas of coping skills for depression and other mental health challenges. Sometimes the most effective skills are strategies based on solving specific problems. Other times emotion-based coping skills work better. Using social support is typically a good coping skill in all cases. For those who follow a religious faith, seeking help though faith is commonly a good way to cope with depression. Another way is to seek meaning in what one is going through and use that meaning as a way to find solutions.
Use an Episode of Depression to Gain Empathy and Compassion
Anyone who has gone through a bout of depression will have a good idea of what another person is going through when they are depressed. Many who recover from depression have an increased sense of compassion for others who are still suffering from depression. Using that empathy and sense of compassion to help others often gives meaning to life and helps one who has recovered maintain a sense of perspective and purpose.