Avoidance is preferable to confrontation.
It is said that the best cure for an addictive drug is to avoid it altogether. If you do not start the drug, you will not be addicted to the drug. Similarly, if one avoids negative thinking, he or she can avoid the addiction and avoid depression. This, of course, is easier said than done, and it does little to help the people who are already depressed. A major stumbling block to avoiding and overcoming depression is understanding the cause.
"Depression is caused by an imbalance that happens in brain chemicals. This means that if you have genetic tendencies that allow your brain chemicals to go out of order then you are very likely to get depressed. Nothing can be done to fix depression other than medication because it’s the only thing that can restore the chemical balance to the brain.
"Well, the previous paragraph was part of the nonsense you might come across while searching for the causes of depression. Lots of people want you to believe in these theories that are not yet proven just to let buy their medicines, however, the real cause of depression is completely different" - M. Farouk Radwan, MSc.
The truth is, depression is caused by repetitive negative thinking. Often, an intense feeling of self loathing develops, and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness ensue. Like an addiction to a drug, depression is easier to avoid than it is to get out of.
The key is to avoid negative thinking. Does this mean you have to be happy all the time? No, absolutely not. A person can be sad without being depressed. The goal is to keep self-destructive thoughts and feelings out of the mix. As mentioned previously, depression is not a natural human emotion. Self-destructive thoughts and emotions, when left unchecked, create an unnatural state of bleakness and emotional decay.
Another widespread misconception is that depression is involuntary. This is not true in most cases. Depression is something that a person must give in to. It is not a disease that we have no control over. Depression is a result of our reactions to situations and occurrences in our lives. If a loved one dies, you will be sad. But it is up to you whether the sadness develops into self-destructive thinking or runs its course and evaporates over time.
It is difficult to avoid self-destructive thinking. It is appealing to us because we feel the need to punish ourselves, or we don't wish to have our hopes crushed in the future. If we have no hope, then we don't need to worry about the future, right? This is the underlying principle of depression. People may not be thinking of these things, but they are the basic groundwork that depression is built on.
So, how exactly does one go about avoiding self-destructive thoughts? There are many ways people can do this; it simply depends on the person. These are some things I personally do to avoid self-destructive thoughts.
1. Avoid Depression Agents (things that encourage self-destructive thought).
This may seem simplistic, but it is very crucial. There are many things that can be considered Depression Agents: TV shows, books, movies, web sites, music, etc. Depression Agents don't always come in the form of entertainment media, but it is becoming more prominent as our culture becomes more and more enthralled with entertainment. Music was my Depression Agent. Not just any music, but certain bands and artists who instilled in me a sense of self-loathing. These artists include 30 Seconds to Mars, Three Days Grace, Flyleaf, and Alkaline Trio among others. I still like these bands, but I am always mindful and cautious when I listen to them. Too much listening can leave me feeling very dark and hopeless. What is your Depression Agent? Find it and monitor it closely.
2. Remind yourself of your self-worth.
As humans, it is in our nature to love ourselves. In fact, it is healthy to love yourself. In my opinion, you should love yourself more than any person you know. Your body is a temple, and with it your heart, mind and soul. If you do not treat yourself accordingly, you will fall into the clutches of self-destruction and eventually depression. Remind yourself every day of qualities you love about yourself. Be proud of the things you have done, boast to yourself about your accomplishments, reminisce about your greatest triumphs and your most enjoyable moments. Even if it's something small, like solving a difficult math problem, boast to yourself. Don't let any victory go unrewarded. I will tell you this: Loving yourself and being proud of who you are is the most powerful shield against self-destruction and depression.
3. Do what you love and do it often.
Do you like singing? Dancing? Bowling? Swimming? Wine tasting? It doesn't matter. If you have a passion for something, you need to be actively pursuing it every day. When you follow your passion and do what you love, things change for the better, and they can change quite rapidly. I love to write, among other things, and it has changed my life in countless ways. Indirectly, writing gave me a way out of depression, and ever since I have been building strength so that I may avoid it in the future. I guarantee you that if I had not kept up with my passion for writing, things would be very different today. I could still be lost in the throes of depression, and I would be none the wiser. Your passion may very well be your 1st-class ticket out of depression and self-destruction.
Doing these things can keep you afloat in the most violent of storms. While it is best to do these things in combination, any one of them will help you significantly. Avoiding self-destruction is the key to avoiding depression.