Breaking free from depression
Depression can leave you feeling like you’re stuck under a dark cloud, which can be quite isolating; a low mood which often lasts a long time and affects your day to day life. It may have started gradually, and over time you slowly became aware that you’re feeling miserable most of the time, and the world no longer seems so colourful and interesting.
When you feel depressed, it means you feel unable to cope with negative feelings causing you to put life on hold and withdraw from the outside world. It takes away your confidence and ability to feel in control to make rational decisions. Instead, you become focused on negative thoughts and forecast the worst-case scenarios, often leaving you feeling hopeless and unable to see a way out. Mild depression doesn’t stop you leading a normal life, but makes everything an effort, and you lack a sense of purpose. More severe depression can be life-threatening, as it can make you feel like giving up completely.
How to recognise if you're depressed
A low mood that doesn't go away can be a sign of depression. If you feel miserable and bad about yourself, or guilty most of the time, have increasing negative ideas about your life and the world, don’t feel motivated to do the things you used to enjoy or were good at, find everything an effort, have no energy and sleep poorly, then you have a form of depression.
The role of serotonin
When we have a constant flow of serotonin and levels are high, we feel positive and act positively. It helps us cope with day to day life. Every thought and emotion we experience changes our brain chemistry, and so the level of feel-good serotonin fluctuates constantly. When we feel depressed, serotonin is low, so it’s no surprise that we see life from the worst possible perspective.
How hypnotherapy can help with depression
Solution-focused hypnotherapy can help you to break free from the negative cycle of depression, giving you tools and techniques you can use to feel better and boost your serotonin levels naturally.
Using a combination of solution-focused psychotherapy and hypnosis techniques, the process avoids problem talk, which in itself can be harmful, but instead focuses on how you want things to be, rather than dwelling on negative past problems. It also helps you understand how our brains create depression, and how this influences your behaviours and feelings which support you in taking small steps to think differently.
Hypnosis, or ‘trance’, helps bring about therapeutic change at a subconscious level using guided relaxation techniques, allowing your mind to become calmer, so you can focus on moving forward in life.
Useful steps you can take to start lifting depression
Challenge negative thoughts
Recognise and challenge negative thoughts running through your head. Tune in and hear what you’re saying to yourself. If you’re telling yourself ‘I always get that wrong’, tell yourself ‘it may be wrong this time, but I did it correctly last time’. Switch the polarity around and focus your thought energy on what you do well, rather than what you don’t.
Neuroscientists often describe the brain being like a muscle, so when we practice kindness, gratitude, and compassion regularly, we can make these regions of the brain stronger, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. It means we can more easily focus on the positive things in life and maintain a healthy cycle of positive thinking. When we reflect on the positive things in our life, and the things we’ve achieved, it helps build lasting patterns of behaviour which can boost serotonin.
Find solutions and harness the power of expectation. What would life be like tomorrow if you felt more positive about life? What would you be doing differently? What would friends and colleagues notice about you? Creating a positive expectation for yourself, and visualising that actually happening, will strengthen the likelihood of a positive outcome. What one thing could you do tomorrow to show you were feeling more positive?
Laughter is a powerful tool we can all use to feel more positive. We get a mini workout from a good laugh; the lungs work harder, and blood flow is boosted – it breaks through low mood and you get that feel-good sensation. Just smiling is good for you too! The muscle action required for a smile creates a calming effect on the nervous system. Try recalling at least five funny events in your life and re-live them as you do.
Exercise fires up the recovery process in our muscles and neurons. It means our body and minds are stronger and more resilient, better able to handle future challenges to think on our feet and adapt more easily. For some, this can be as simple as walking to the corner shop, gardening, or even riding your bike. The more stressful your encounter, the more you need to move to keep your mind running smoothly.
Make changes to your daytime routines such as reducing caffeine consumption, limiting the use of mobile phones and tablets before bed and going to bed at a reasonable time, and getting up each day at the same time can make a big difference to how well you sleep. As we sleep, our bodies repair and restore themselves. The REM phase also replenishes helpful hormones such as dopamine and serotonin which helps us feel good and more able to cope.
Seek help and support
When you’re ready, hypnotherapy can help you relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety in a positive and uplifting way. Research shows that hypnotherapy is a highly effective treatment for helping people suffering from the symptoms of stress, anxiety, panic, and depression.