Setting Realistic Goals to Overcome Depression
Setting realistic goals to overcome depression isn't always easy and can seem like a difficult task. There are many ways to make this process easier by helping you to organize your goals meet them and learn from setbacks along the way.
Doing The ImpossibleSome may feel powerless and hopeless that their depression will ever be treated and an attempt to set any goals may seem impossible. When depression overwhelms a person, it is hard to even know where to start setting goals. Your first goal should be to obtain an accurate diagnosis of clinical depression. Assuming you have done so, your doctor is a good starting point for treatment and he or she can also provide more realistic aims of treatment and will tell you what you can expect to see for results. Although you may feel like you will never manage to climb out of the dark hole, your doctor can put your circumstances into perspective.
Realistic Versus IdealisticAt the other end of the spectrum, some people may have very high expectations of depression treatment and may feel that their illness will just 'disappear' rapidly. For most people, this will not be the case. Optimism and hope are wonderful feelings, especially when you have been depressed for some time, but when experienced in excess they can bring a sense of false relief and may lead to disappointment when results aren't as rapid or effective as anticipated. Try not to put time constraints on your progress. Medications and therapy can take time to work.
Break It DownConsider looking at the individual aspects of your depression. You might try to separate your depression into smaller, more manageable parts such as:
Look at ways you can improve your physical symptoms of depression. If your eating patterns are poor, plan to improve them slowly each day. If your body is sore and aching, consider scheduling a massage for muscle relief. Tend to your negative thoughts through treatments such as biofeedback or cognitive-behavioural therapy, where you can create a more positive mindset. Address emotional aspects of your depression by participating in activities that make you feel less sad, such as a hobby, social time with a friend or perhaps a sport. If you can view your depression as a series of smaller parts and you aim to address each one individually, you can feel less overwhelmed and more realistic in your goals to overcome depression.
Choosing Your GoalsYou may wish to also separate your goals into short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to go for a 10-minute walk one day and a long-term goal may be to nurture and improve a relationship with someone in your life. Some of the questions you may wish to ask yourself when setting goals are:
- What do I want from life?
- What are the things that give me motivation?
- What things make me feel good?
- What would I like to change?
- How can I change the things that I don't like?
- What are my hopes and wishes?