Why Is a Sense of Purpose Important?
Everybody can benefit from a strong sense of purpose, as it motivates them to work hard and live life to the fullest. It is more than just setting specific daily goals or receiving accolades. A sense of purpose is more far-reaching, extending beyond the self, and it is driven by achievement, working towards long-term goals, helping others, and working within your community. It is a mental aim that helps direct your actions and behaviors. For those with a mental health disorder, this mindset may be able to help fight depression.
The Connection Between Sense of Purpose and Depression
Sense of purpose is different for everybody, and it can help a person move past low points in life, putting disappointments or failures into a broader perspective. Rather than ruminating on the mistakes, a person who is working with a sense of purpose will have an easier time moving forward with more optimism about the future.
Thinking about life this way corresponds to many depression management techniques. It can reduce stress and help you feel that your actions are meaningful and matter to the world. People with a strong sense of purpose are likelier to make healthier choices and view life’s challenges as learning opportunities rather than roadblocks.
Getting involved in one’s community can provide a sense of belonging and can aid in reducing depression, as you will have more opportunities to receive support. Even small acts of kindness towards others, like cleaning up trash in your neighborhood or supporting others online can make you feel better about yourself, which, in turn, can raise self-esteem and reduce some of the symptoms of depression.
8 Tips for Regaining Motivation After Depression
- Get professional treatment: If you currently fight depression, or believe you are showing signs of depression, speak to a mental health professional about it. They will be the people who can guide you into appropriate treatment. Mental illness is a serious health issue, and, just like if you had a broken arm, you need to see a proper doctor for treatment. Regaining mental health is possible, but you will most likely need professional assistance to reach the issue’s roots.
- Take your meds: Medication prescribed by your doctor has been designed to help ease the symptoms of your depression, which will help you regain motivation, but it only works if you take it regularly, on your prescribed schedule. Make sure taking your meds is a priority every day.
- Just do it: Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone bit by bit, and honestly ask yourself whether you are acting in your own self-interest. Depression can make it very difficult to find motivation, but if you do things you know are healthy, like going for a walk when you don’t really feel like it, over time, you will see the benefits and feel more motivated to continue in the future. Create a healthy routine, write a daily to-do list, and follow it daily.
- Don’t punish yourself: If you slip up and have a bad day, remember that tomorrow is right around the corner, and you can try again. You are not a failure, and yes, you can do things that feel difficult. Berating yourself or punishing yourself will only make you feel worse. Give yourself some slack, practice self-compassion, try again when possible, and congratulate yourself on your victories.
- Create easy-to-achieve goals: Set small, achievable goals for yourself. For example, you may tell yourself that you will make your bed today. It only takes a few minutes, and you can check it off your mental checklist. Start small, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. These small accomplishments will reinforce the good feelings in your brain that, over time, will make you want to do more.
- Try to avoid unnecessary negativity: You may want to remove yourself from negative internet groups, avoid “doom scrolling” news articles, and try not to revisit topics that make you sad or angry. Focusing on gratitude, hope, and positivity can change how you see the world and inspire you to create something, go outside, or enjoy your life with a new perspective.
- Check-in with yourself: As your sense of purpose will help guide your actions and behaviors, you can always ask yourself whether what you are doing right now aligns with the person you want to be. This can be as simple as thinking, “Do I want to avoid bathing, or should I just get into the shower?” Does sleeping past noon every day help you reach your potential, or should you set your alarm earlier?
- Get social and find supportive allies: The more people you have on your team, the better supported you will be when things feel difficult. Let your loved ones in, try to explain how you feel, and let them know what they can do to help you, from providing words of encouragement to understanding when you feel too overwhelmed to attend a party. With positive relationships and helpful friends, you will feel more motivated to get involved in activities and gatherings.
Depression Management Techniques
A combination of therapy with prescription medications is often the key to managing the symptoms of depression. Talking to an expert and ensuring you take your medication on time every day will do a lot for your overall well-being and ensure that you properly address any underlying issues while gaining new techniques for living a happier and healthier life.
Some other tips for combatting depression include:
- Staying in touch with your social support system and avoiding the temptation to withdraw from life.
- Maintaining your daily routine as best you can, even when you don’t want to.
- Trying journaling or expressing yourself artistically in some way.
- Finding ways to boost your own self-image, like maintaining your hygiene, learning a new skill, or trying a new gym routine
- Staying healthy by getting a good night’s sleep and getting enough exercise.
- Trying foods that fight depression, eating healthy foods, and avoiding sugary snacks.
- Staying away from drugs and alcohol.
- Talking to loved ones about how you feel or scheduling a therapy appointment.
- Trying mindfulness, or staying present at the moment, rather than ruminating on the past.
- Being willing to ask others for support or help when you need it
- Challenging negative thoughts by asking whether they are true, finding the evidence, and asking yourself whether it is helpful to think about them in this way.
- Using meditation as a form of self-regulation.
- Removing yourself from unnecessary drama and stressful situations.
- Limiting your screen time by getting outdoors, creating something, or working with your hands.
- Cleaning up your living space.
- Practicing self-care, like taking breaks from work, scheduling preventative appointments like dentist visits, and putting your own health first.
- Trying breathing exercises to lower your heart rate.
- Finding (and appreciating) the small things that bring you joy, like taking care of a plant, enjoying the ritual of making a cup of tea, or literally stopping to smell the flowers on your next walk.
Practicing these mood-boosting techniques will not “cure” your depression, but they may be able to lift your spirits another degree or two, giving you some relief. You may find that these good moments are when you can ask for help or take another concrete step toward bigger recovery steps.
The Role of Therapy in Strategies for Coping with Depression
At Alter Behavioral Health, the primary therapy used in depression treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT addresses negative thought patterns, expectations, and behavioral responses, helping patients manage and overcome depression by changing their thoughts and actions. Interpersonal therapy is also utilized as a way to offer short-term relief from depression symptoms.
Therapy is one of the most important places to learn useful strategies for coping with depression. A knowledgeable therapist can give you evidence-based depression control techniques that have been proven to work. Trained therapists can teach stress management and healthy coping skills that can be done at any time. These skills last a lifetime and can help patients take action when they recognize the first signs of depression or high functioning depression.
Alter Behavioral Health Operates the Best Mental Health Treatment Facilities in California
The Alter Behavioral Health is a world-class mental and behavioral health treatment center, aiming to provide high-quality care through accurate diagnosis, evidence-based treatments, and empathetic care and understanding in a holistic, whole-person approach to healing.
When it comes to regaining motivation after depression, our experienced, educated, and licensed therapists can guide you in various techniques. Every person is unique, so we will get to know you, so we can understand your concerns and create an individualized treatment plan that best works for your depression symptoms. You are not alone, and our team can provide you with psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressant medication (if necessary), group therapy, and even short- or long-term inpatient treatment, depending on your needs. Please call us today at 949-570-6454 to learn more about depression treatment and how we can help.