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Experiencing and living with depression can be very difficult, but there are tools and strategies that may help.

Managing Negative Thoughts - Catch, Check and Change negative thoughts

  • When we are feeling low in mood or experiencing depression, we are more likely to assume the worst, see things in a negative light and struggle to find the positives.
  • It can be helpful during these times to be mindful of our negative thoughts, and to try and challenge and change these.
  • “Catch” the thoughts by keeping track of them, what they are, and how they impact your mood and how you feel.
  • “Check” them by asking yourself is there any evidence against or for this thought? Have I made an assumption? Is there another way of looking at this?
  • Finally, change the thought by trying to consider what alternative options and counter thoughts may be. What would you say to a friend thinking this? Am I being overly critical of myself, if I try to consider the opposite, more positive option, what would that be?

Managing Depression and Low Mood

Experiencing and living with depression or low mood can feel very difficult, but it can get better. Start with small steps each day…

  • Look after your physical health

make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. Exercise also makes a big difference to our mood, improves sleep and we often feel better afterwards.

  • Have a positive word with yourself!

Start to keep a record of positive things each week. Maybe it’s something you did well and can be proud of, or maybe it’s a positive thing that happened… You had a nice chat with a friend, had a nice walk outside or ate a nice meal.

  • Take some time for self compassion, self care and mindfulness

Depression and low mood can feel worse during more stressful times or when we may be in a particularly negative thinking pattern. By practising self care and mindfulness, you are actively trying to manage stress and distract from negative thoughts. Try some yoga or stretching, a breathing technique, a mindfulness exercise through an app or online.

  • Talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling may help

If you can’t speak to someone close to you, Wellbeing Support Services are here to support. Samaritans and Shout also have someone available to speak to by text or phone 24/7.

Depression is experienced differently by different people but there are common features:

  • Feeling low, sad, tearful and numb
  • Avoiding people and situations (social isolation)
  • Low motivation and poor concentration
  • Feeling worthless, useless, self-blaming and perhaps suicidal
  • Thinking negatively and seeing the worst in things
  • Change in sleeping patterns and eating habits
  • Loss of enthusiasm, interest and enjoyment

Sometimes depression is the reaction to a life event or sometimes it feels like it comes from nowhere. It is estimated that one in six people have a severe depressive episode at some time in life. In its milder form depression makes living life to the full seem difficult and less worthwhile. At its most severe it can be life-threatening.

Moving Out of Depression

Most people do recover from depression. Physical movement is said to be important to counteract the 'in the head' negative thoughts and 'heaviness' that accompanies depression so activities such as walking, dancing, swimming, etc are beneficial. It can be tempting to try to find release from depression by abusing drugs or alcohol but this can bring its own problems - it is important to look after yourself physically. It can be useful to challenge negative thinking that feeds depression - talking out thoughts and feelings can be useful. Sometimes medication can be helpful in managing depression; medical support and information on medication can be obtained from your GP


Useful resources


Understanding depression

The Royal College of Psychiatrists    
What is depression let this animation with a dog shed light on it?    
Mood juice Gives a general overview  
NHS information on depression    
All about depression Facts about depression  
Future learn - courses Free online course on depression, anxiety and CBT  
Vicious Cycle Overview of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a mood disorder linked to the menstrual cycle  

Managing depression


Change the way you feel by changing the way you think

Learn how your behavior can directly affect your

mood, for better or worse, and how to use skills to put yourself in

situations that will make it most likely to improve your mood.

Self-help booklet on managing depression

A Behavioural Activation workbook

Depression and Low Mood: NHS Self-help guide A free downloadable book to help change negative thought patterns and behaviour  
CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably: movement against male suicide A helpful workbook about depression Article from the Boar on mental health and support Student depression website Self help sites NHS site NHS wellbeing  
The Depression Alliance    
Depression UK Forum for support Information and videos on dealing with mental health difficulties Video on experiences of depression. With thanks to NUI Galway (please note that resources referred to in this video are not available to students and staff at Warwick) Helpful workbook for dealing with the cycles of behaviour which can be part of depression  


Moodometer Track your mood with this NHS mood app App for stress, anxiety and depression  

For immediate support

Samaritans 24 hour helpline: 116 123  
Available from the University Library:    

Dealing with Depression


Mind over Mood: a cognitive treatment manual for clients

  Dennis Greenberger & Christine Padesky
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Combining CBT and mindfulness techniques, aimed at preventing relapse of depression Segal
Understanding and Overcoming Depression   Bates
Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison -   Dorothy Rowe
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness Combining CBT and mindfulness techniques, includes CD with meditations J. Mark G. Williams
Overcoming depression (CBT) Popular self-help book, good overview of CBT techniques for depression Paul Gilbert
Beating Depression : The Complete Guide to Depression and How to Overcome It] General overview of depression and treatments, including practical tips Cembrowicz, Stefan.; Kingham, Dorcas.
Creating Optimism : A Proven, Seven-step Program for Overcoming Depression Focuses on the importance of relationships and explores evolutionary explanation of depression Bob Murray; Alicia Fortinberry
Dealing With Depression Naturally Explores biological causes of depression, the impact of nutrition on mood Syd Baumel>
Depression : The Way Out of Your Prison Explores where depression may stem from, and how to overcome it Dorothy Rowe
Help Yourself Move Out of Depression and Anxiety Cognitive behavioural focus - practical steps to help manage negative thoughts, emotions and anxiety Helga A. H Rowe
Why Am I Still Depressed? : Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder, Ebook James R Phelps
Living with bipolar A guide to the causes and triggers of bipolar disorder and the treatment options available for sufferers  
Coping with depression and elation Useful for family members of those experiencing mood swings or bipolar disorder McKeon
How to lift depression (fast) Easy to read, looks at role of sleep/dreaming in depression Griffin and Tyrell
Climbing out of depression: a practical guide for sufferers   Atkinson
Overcoming depression Uses case studies to explore how beliefs and thoughts maintain depression. Windy Dryden, Sarah Opie
Coming off Anti-Depressants: How to use and stop using anti-depressants safely   J. Glenmullen
Accepting Voices   Romme and Escher
Calm Energy : How People Regulate Mood With
Food and Exercise
Describes how you can manage your moods by eating the
right foods and living a healthy lifestyle
The kitchen shrink- food and recipes for a healthy
Recipes containing foods that may help depression, PMS and
anxiety and enhance mood and brain power

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