Reversing the Cycle of Depression

upward spiralIn a previous post, we looked at the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of the vicious cycle of depression involving thoughts, feelings, behaviours, memories and physical symptoms. One of the first steps in overcoming depression is to put and end to this vicious cycle, and gain some momentum that can help you cycle in a positive direction.

Just as automatic negative thoughts result from and contribute to depression, by engaging in more neutral and balanced ways of thinking, we can begin to stop the vicious cycle involving negative thoughts and depression. Cognitive therapy provides an effective tool to help break out of negative patterns of thinking. As our thoughts become less negative, we begin to feel less depressed, and as we become less depressed, our thoughts about ourselves, our lives and our future become less negative, and so on.

We can experience similar reversal in these vicious cycles in other areas of our lives that are affected by, and affect depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help change behaviours that result from and contribute to depression such as reducing level of activity and withdrawing socially. Changes in diet, exercise, sleep habits and self-care can help alleviate the distressing physical symptoms associated with depression and lead to more energy and motivation.

Learning distress tolerance and mindfulness skills to deal with difficult emotions can help lift our mood and reduce depression, leading to fewer and less severe periods of sadness and despair. Cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can help overcome rumination about the past and the bias towards negative memories that is associated with and feeds into depression.

 
Eventually the vicious cycles that were feeding into depression can become positive cycles that help turn depression around. These positive cycles are depicted below (click on the image to view a larger version):
 

positive cycle of depression

 
Guelph Therapist Greg Dorter

I’m a Guelph therapist specializing in helping people overcome depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. For more information about cognitive therapy/cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) fopr depression in Guelph, or to make an appointment for counselling or therapy, please call me at 226-500-4086 or email greg@guelphtherapist.ca.
 

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