Depression: How to Break This Vicious Cycle

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Changes in depression can make it worse. These changes can drag down a person till they are doing less and less in their daily life.  Activities become fewer, responsibilities get ignored, friends and family are neglected as well a personal hygiene. This deterioration prevents the person from getting better.

These activities are often turned away from due to a lack of motivation or a lack of energy. Often decision-making will be left up to others.  Have you noticed any of these things happening to you? Are some of these changes taking place in your life when you are depressed?

Perhaps you are no longer participating in activities you normally enjoy.  Maybe you are not going out with friends to have some fun or just hang out.  This is the cycle of depression that can lock someone into a vicious circle that pulls them further and further away from their everyday lives.


Your depression could get worse as you participate less in things you like.  You will miss out on pleasant feeling and positive experiences as you do less and less of the things you love.  This can bring on more lethargy and decreased motivation naturally leading to less activity.

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What can worsen the depression is a sense of failure.  This can come from the feelings of being overwhelmed or of guilt as things pile up.  Things will start to stack up as what started with only a few neglected things quickly become more neglected things.  What starts as a few ignored tasks at home or work turns into a list and soon thinking about all the stuff to do becomes a real chore.  It’s easier to put it all off and give into feeling like a loser.  Then the depression really takes hold as a sense of ineffectiveness creeps in.

Medication can be one way of breaking this vicious cycle.  It can increase your energy level and help with improving your sleep.  This can boost your activity level which is another way to interrupt this vicious cycle.  Increase the activity in pleasurable things and then tackle your list of tasks, but accomplish your responsibilities wisely by being realistic.  Achievability means setting yourself up to succeed.  Plan ahead a bit and work out steps to finish your tasks so that you can feel good about getting them done.

Becoming more active has a number of advantages:

  • Activity can improve the feelings you have
  • Activity can help you rest better later and help you feel less tired
  • Activity can help you think in a way that is clearer and more focused

When the vicious cycle of depression is broken it will look more like this:

Reversing the Vicious Cycle ofDepression (1) has an extensive offering of self-care articles that can help.  Here’s a possible list of enjoyable things to add to your own.

  1. Going for a day trip
  2. Having a BBQ
  3. Go to the park
  4. Listening to music (preferably happy music)
  5. Collect shells, coins, or other collectibles
  6. Watch a comedy
  7. Go for a walk, take a pet for a walk
  8. Gardening
  9. Have a soak in the tub
  10. Go to the beach, lake, pond, stream
  11. Play a game like tennis where you move around
  12. Or just play a board game with a friend or two

Journal Guide Depression 1 (4)

Get the Mental Health Journal Guide for Depression

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Try an experiment.  Record how you feel before the activity and after the activity to see if there is a difference in how you feel.  Don’t be too surprised if you find you feel a bit better after the activity.  The important thing is to continue!  Keeping the activity moving is the first step to breaking out of that vicious cycle.

The next step will be to focus on your thinking patterns and how they contribute to this vicious cycle.

Journal Guide Depression 1 (1)


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