Engagement and Depression

So much is written and discussed about how cognitions are important when examining depression. As a cognitive-behavioral psychologist I appreciate that this is true. However, I see time and time again how behaviors can rule depression. They can increase depression, and they can hold the keys to decreasing depression as well.

Engagement is a term thrown around quite a bit. Often this means getting more involved with people. Being engaged in social opportunities can be a big factor in treating depression. I like to encourage my clients to consider “engagement” much more broadly. There are many activities to be engaged with. There are many aspects of life and yourself to be engaged with. Examining the opportunities that you have, to focus your time and attention upon, can go a long way in changing mood.

Our lives are filled with patterns of behavior. These are not simply social behaviors. Our alone time is often predictable, with behavior patterns and habits that we have held on to for years. We sometimes don’t even think about the things we do, or think. We simply live our lives unaware of our choices. But we have many choices with what do with our time; and many options on how to behave.

Choosing to behave differently can change the way you think. Selecting those behaviors wisely can change your life. Moving away from behavior patterns that reinforce depression and anxiety, and deciding to engage in behaviors that bring you happiness and satisfaction, can be life changing. Much of my practice is focused on helping clients do just that.