If you are experiencing dark thoughts, hopelessness, or sadness this time of year, you are not alone. Research suggests that each year, more than 18 million American adults will experience some form of depression. Although there are many factors that contribute to depression including weather, genetics, gender, temperament, and lack of social support, my hope here is to provide you with a few thinking strategies and daily activities to challenge the winter blues.
While we often aren't aware of it, we all have an internal voice inside our head that determines how we perceive every situation – our worldview. This inner voice includes our conscious and our unconscious thoughts and beliefs. Although this inner voice is often reasonable — “I better eat something or I’ll get hungry,” or "I better drive with caution in the rain," some of this dialog is self-defeating — “I’m going to fail my mid term,” “I really put my foot in my mouth” or “I’m hopeless”. The self-defeating inner voice is not only often skewed towards the negative, but more often it’s just plain wrong. If you are experiencing depression it may be likely that you are interpreting events negatively and carrying on a negative internal dialog.
Noticing your inner dialog and any self-defeating talk takes practice. But, with practice you can test, challenge and change your self-talk over time. Below are a few simple question you can ask yourself to begin to challenge any negative thoughts you hold followed by a few daily activities that help beat winter depression.
Questions to Challenge Self-defeating Talk:
Activities to Beat Winter Depression: