Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Learn how to act from the Outside In
"When we are not depressed our moods usually dictate what we do... when we are experiencing depression, the whole world is being seen through dark-coloured glasses."
When someone is experiencing low mood and depression, the last thing that they want to do is go for a walk, call a friend or even get out of bed sometimes. Yet that is what everyone will tell them to do. “Go outside and get some fresh air, you will feel better” or “If you just get up and take a shower, you will feel better”. Yet the ability to get up can be overwhelming when an individual is depressed, let alone take a shower or go for a walk.
When we are not depressed our moods usually dictate what we do. I might think, “It looks so nice outside and I would love to get some fresh air. I think I will go for a walk” and I will put on my shoes and coat (and perhaps my mask now too!) and out the door I will go. It is not an effort because I want to. But when we are experiencing depression, the whole world is being seen through dark-coloured glasses. The world does not look bright and inviting, even if the sun is shining. My thoughts are telling me to stay in bed, get more sleep, avoid going out, avoid….feeling…anything.
How the Behavioural Activation Approach Can Help Combat Depression
An approach that we use at Forward Thinking Psychological Services to help individuals with depression is called Behavioural Activation (BA). The work of Drs. Neil Jacobson and Christopher Martell have been seminal in this area of psychology. The basic premise of BA is that we need to act from the outside in when we are experiencing a period of depression or low mood. This means that we make a plan, follow the plan – regardless of what our mood is! The mood follows the plan, not the other way around. As hard as this is, we know that is an effective component within a larger tool box of skills that we use when working with individuals with depression. Planning daily schedules, setting realistic goals, challenging negative thinking patterns and developing new beliefs about ourselves and the world around us are all part of what we do at Forward Thinking Psychological Services.
"..we make a plan, follow the plan – regardless of what our mood is! The mood follows the plan, not the other way around."
Depression can be extremely debilitating. If you or someone you love is feeling stuck within a depressive episode, please reach out to us. We are here to help you get back on track and live the life you want!