Research has shown that increasing physical activity can help to ease the symptoms of depression in some cases. For example – Getting into the habit of a daily brisk walk, even for 20 minutes would be very beneficial. If you are Agoraphobic it helps even to increase activities around the house – a hobby, cleaning, tidying, yoga and so on.
A self-help programme
There are various pamphlets, books and audio tapes which can help you to understand and overcome depression. Computer and internet based self-help cognitive behavioural therapy programmes may become more available.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works with the idea that your thoughts and behaviours can affect how you feel e.g. depressed. When you are feeling depressed, it can be very difficult to motivate yourself to get going again and overcome negative, unrealistic thinking.
The three main ways for doing this are:
- Planning ahead
- Identifying pleasurable activities
- Breaking tasks into small manageable steps
You and your therapist will work together as equals to develop a plan that will help you understand and deal with your depression, so your plan may include learning skills to change the way you think, behave and possibly other factors such as improving communication or self esteem.
Learning these skills can take time, however it gets easier with practice and you will find that identifying unhelpful thoughts and substituting them with more realistic thoughts makes you feel better and begins to break the cycle of depression.
You will set your own goals and use the skills you learn to practice at home to achieve them. The skills you are taught will help you to eventually become your own counsellor.
How effective is Cognitive Therapy for Depression?
Depression can almost always be helped. It has been reported that if Cognitive Therapy is used to treat depression 69% stay well and 39% relapse, and if treatment is supplemented with booster sessions, the rates improve and 90% stay well with only 10% relapsing.