How to make the most out of therapy
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Counseling or psychotherapy

Your health care provider may refer you to a mental health provider who does counseling. Talking about your feelings can get you out of that "rut" that results from having negative thoughts.

Counseling will also help you identify and change situations that add to your depression. This may be an unhappy relationship,parenting troubles, personal loss or other problems.

A mental health provider will help you develop attitudes and skills that are important to your recovery. Together, with your counselor, you can decide what behavior and lifestyle changes would make you feel better.

Depression self-care tips

  • Participate in an event or activity you once enjoyed.
  • Do mild exercise. It can help relieve stress, improve yourself-esteem and provide an overall feeling of well-being.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into smaller ones. Set priorities and do what you can when you are able.
  • Try to spend time with other people. Talk with a trusted friend or relative. Try not to be alone. Let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve slowly. You will not suddenly "snap out" of your depression. Your sleep and appetite will start to improve first.
  • Avoid making important decisions, such as getting married,getting divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
  • Keep a journal of your progress. Make notes about how you are feeling.
  • Think about joining a support group for depression.
  • Be careful about using alcohol and other substances. They can make your depression worse. Depression may lead you to drink more coffee, smoke more or take other drugs that will make you feel worse.
  • Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind. Eating well-balanced meals will help you feel your best. Limit foods high in sugar and empty calories (such as sweets and sodas).
  • Be patient. Your health-oriented efforts will help you feel better after a little time.
  • Identify those things that "trigger" depressed thoughts and feelings.
  • Notice how family problems, losses or other upsetting events may add to your depression. Find ways to cope with these situations. A counselor can help you.
  • Your faith and spiritual beliefs can be of great support and help you maintain hope for improvement.

Alternative treatment

You may try other treatments in combination with your doctor's recommendations, such as:

  • massage therapy
  • relaxation therapy
  • light therapy
  • art and music therapy
  • biofeedback
  • yoga
  • acupuncture
  • aromatherapy
  • energy work
  • Reiki

The Penny George® Institute for Health and Healing

For information on healing therapies, contact The Penny George® Institute for Health and Healing at 612-863-3333.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education, Depression Workbook, mh-ahc-94394
First Published: 01/01/2011
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2011