The Role of Positive Psychology in Reducing Depressive Symptoms - New Age Psychiatry

The Role of Positive Psychology in Reducing Depressive Symptoms

          Depressive symptoms must first be explored, in order to determine and to understand the causal factors, such as genetics, traumatic experiences, loss, grief, and physical and emotional abuse.  The emotions, past experiences, and present triggers related to depression are the foundations of understanding, accepting, and managing your depression. If you are experiencing depression, you may choose an antidepressant medication regimen and may also require trauma therapy or grief therapy. In this blog post we will discuss the impact of positive psychology interventions on depression.

         The first crucial step in creating strength from depressive symptoms is to gain information about how the brain is greatly affected by traumatic experiences and by many other types of stressful and disappointing life experiences.  A second crucial step is to understand each of your specific depressive reactions, which can occur separately or in combined forms, and to learn how to transform these negative reactions into personal strengths.  Positive psychology interventions can play an important role in treating the depressive symptoms of low motivation, low energy, a negative self-image, a lack of purpose, and little or no enjoyment in daily work and personal activities.  These interventions can counteract your negative thought patterns by building up your “mental assets” and can be excellent supplements for depression therapy, grief therapy and trauma therapy. In this blog  post we will discuss positive psychology interventions to aid in depression. 

The Brain and Depressive Symptoms

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         Neuroscience research has linked specific parts of the brain and three main neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) to depressive symptoms.  Of utmost importance is the amygdala, which is responsible for regulating anger, anxiety, and fear.  Activity in the amygdala is higher when a person is depressed, and this increased activity may cause the amygdala to enlarge.  Secondly, the basal ganglia are a related group of structures deep in the brain and have been correlated with decreased memory functions, decision-making abilities, and emotional processing in depressive individuals.  Third, the hippocampus plays a key role in processing long-term memory, and much research has found that ongoing exposure to stress hormones impairs the growth of neurons in this part of the brain.  When you commit to a structured daily schedule of meaningful activities, you will gradually rewire the neuronal pathways within these brain areas which are causing your depressive symptoms.  A final consideration about the cause of depressive symptoms is that your brain’s main pleasure-producing chemicals, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, have been found through MRI studies to function at very low levels.

Addiction and Personality Disorders in Depressive Symptoms

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         Another complexity about treating depressive symptoms is that they may occur with a substance abuse disorder or a personality disorder, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder.  In the case of a substance abuse disorder, you may self-medicate to escape your sadness, traumatic experiences, hopelessness, and sense of worthlessness.  Positive psychology techniques can be extremely effective in helping you to increase your resilience, which is how you manage your emotions and behaviors when being triggered by your memories and when confronting new life stressors.  Positive psychology techniques can be used within your therapeutic sessions or as separate sessions, and they can help you to achieve a much-needed sense of optimism, a greater level of self-knowledge, and increased control over your daily life.  Furthermore, you can tap into your unique character strengths and refocus your narrative toward personal growth and taking action, rather than remaining in the passive mindset which depression creates and perpetuates.  You can take action by simply moving your body through brief walks or stretches and through interacting with friends and other positive people in your life at least two times per week.

Goals of Positive Psychology

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        The major goals of positive psychology are action-oriented, and depressed individuals are very much in need of action.  Positive psychology interventions focus on the following: (1) reducing negative thought patterns, (2) learning how to identify more realistic self-expectations, (3) increasing optimistic thoughts, (4) practicing mindful and focused daily behaviors within one’s individual, family, academic, and/or work setting, (5) maintaining supportive relationships, (6) avoiding unhealthy people, and (7) replacing negative thoughts with positive mantras.  Two main types of positive psychology interventions have been found to be highly effective for treating depression.  First, strength-building interventions can help you to clarify and to tap into your internal values and capabilities by teaching you how to be mindful of each moment, so that you can determine when you are being triggered by negative memories or by current stressful situations.  Through this intervention, you become empowered to use thought redirection and learned behavioral coping strategies when triggered toward a depressive episode.  These new coping skills will dramatically improve your self-confidence and your overall sense of well-being.  Secondly, meaning-oriented interventions can help you to identify and to actively pursue your most valued life goals through exploring different courses of action and eliminating dysfunctional actions which have fueled your depressive episodes.  Through this intervention, you will develop more rational and focused thought patterns aimed at fulfilling your true purpose in life.  Most importantly, meaning-oriented interventions help you in setting realistic expectations and envisioning yourself as a new and different person who is strong and resilient in any life circumstance.

      As an experienced mental health professional, I have observed amazing progress with self-awareness and confidence in my clients through the use of positive psychology techniques.  I have used these techniques in conjunction with depression therapy, grief therapy, and trauma therapy sessions.  During the process of positive psychology interventions, my clients exhibit empowerment, hope, a renewed sense of purpose, a stronger commitment to core values, and an enthusiasm toward pursuing life goals.  The positive psychology interventions can also help you to stop wasting your precious time in ruminating over what you cannot control and to redirect your energy toward what you can control. 

Resiliency in Depression

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      A final point is that positive psychology interventions have been correlated with resiliency, which is the ability to accept painful or stressful experiences as tools for gathering inner strength and wisdom.  Resilient people know that, even when given the worst circumstances, it is both necessary and possible to plunge through all of their real emotions.  Resilient people have traits which serve as buffers to traumatic experiences or challenging events which are inherent during the life process.  By not trying to avoid or hide from your insecurities and fears, you can begin to gain a sense of freedom from past traumas and other negative life experiences.   

Keep reading to learn about how social comparisons can affect mental health.

Accepting your past self-reflection survivor of trauma

         New Age Psychiatry offers licensed and certified psychiatric services through virtual telehealth appointments within the state of Florida. We understand the complexities that come with mental health disorders and symptoms, and we will work hard to help you manage your condition.

         New Age Psychiatry is a modern mental health service in Florida that approaches addiction and other mental health issues with compassion and forward-thinking techniques. New Age Psychiatry offers certified psychiatric services through telehealth appointments in Florida. Some of the highlights of the New Age Psychiatry approach include:

  • Online Screening – We will begin with certified online screening to provide an overview of psychiatric care. We also offer a personalized, specific diagnosis through our psychiatric Telehealth services.
  • Diagnosis, Recovery, & Treatment – Our full range of comprehensive psychiatric telehealth services can aid in treating a multitude of psychiatric illnesses and assist in the recovery process in traumatic experiences.
  • Telehealth Services – Our psychiatric telehealth services are available throughout the state of Florida and can assist you in psychiatric care through counseling and medication management

Contact us on the web for a virtual appointment. If you prefer to use email, you can reach us at info@newagepsychiatry.com or call us today at (877) 769-5206 for more information.

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