Little Steps in Depression Management by Pastor Rick Qualls

There are little steps you can take along the journey of wellness. The primary building blocks of recovery are medicine, sleep schedules and therapy. But there are little steps along the way that can help with the management of depression.

Three L’s that help me are logging thoughts in a journal, laughter, and long walks.

Logging your thoughts in a journal let you get thoughts down on paper. There is something that is healing in writing down our ruminations, reflections, and feelings. Thoughts get untangled as we clarify them in writing. Externalizing thoughts takes away some of their inner pressure.

Journaling gives you a record of your journey. Over time you will see patterns, chronicle things that you find helpful, keep track of moods and have specific things to show your therapist.

Often when I journal, I begin the entry with, “Dear Heavenly Father” and turn my thoughts into prayer. On other days when I don’t feel like praying, I can go back and pray them again.

Having a page for writing down inspirational thoughts, quotes, or Bible promises make helpful reading through the days. If you discover positive quotes jot them down and read and re-read them through your journey.

The Fresh Hope app offers a daily inspirational quote and bible verse that you may find helpful. Check it out at www.freshhope.us  Or go to your Google Play or iTunes app store and just type in “Fresh Hope.”  It’s free.

Laughter is the opposite of depression. A few minutes of hearty laughter can ease dark thoughts. You may discover that your sense of humor does not come as quickly. Don’t worry. Laugh as you can. There is even a “laugh-yoga.” It teaches that even faking laughter for a moment can trigger a laughter reflex.

Among my favorites are old re-runs of Andy Griffith. Barney’s facial expressions never fail to cause a laugh or a smile. Replays of Carol Burnett shows have the same effect on me. Regardless of your type of humor, it can play an essential piece in your depression management.

Long walks help with depression management. Fresh air, sunshine, the rhythmic motion of walking has healing effects. Exercise is an indispensable part of recovery. Physical activity can unstress some of the knots of anxiety. Walking in nature seems to have healing benefits.

You may walk with a friend which gives a feeling of connectedness and helps break some of the isolation of depression. Or you may choose just to be mindful, emptying your mind of thoughts to focus on nature around you. This is also a time when many have found it easy to commune with God.

Will logging in your journal, laughing, going on long walks help your depression management? We are all different and what one person tries may be helpful or not. But spend time learning management tips from others.

These things will not cure your depression, but they may help make your journey easier.

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