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Acts Of Kindness: An Easy Way Out Of Depression

Acts Of Kindness: An Easy Way To Reduce Depression

 

Did you know that showing kindness to others can help you out of depression? It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Researchers have found that depressed people who showed kindness experienced improvements that other known depression and anxiety management techniques do not provide.

Counter-intuitive because, we often think that people with depression already have enough baggage to deal with. In fact, someone battling depression needs as much help as they can get. If that’s you and you feel that way, it’s perfectly understandable. However, research shows that showing kindness to others even while battling depression can be the way out.

But how?

How does kindness help with depression?

Showing kindness to others leads to social connection, which is key to reducing depression.

Out of all the techniques for managing depression, performing acts of kindness is the only one that promotes social connection. When you help someone, you naturally feel more connected to them. And social connection is the strongest element in life associated with better well-being. So, by performing acts of kindness, you develop connections that make you feel better about yourself, reducing your depression symptoms.

But what’s the mechanism behind it? Why does showing kindness to other people work so well in fighting depression? It’s simple: it makes depressed people take their minds off their own problems in life.

Well, what if you are not suffering from depression but know someone who is? How can you use this information to help them? It goes contrary to what you perhaps have always thought. Instead of trying to help a person with depression, why not ask for their help instead? When you allow a depressed person to do something nice for you, it makes them feel better about themselves, and their depression can drop dramatically.

Showing kindness can be more effective for depression than CBT and social activities

The study also reveals that performing acts of kindness is way more effective for managing depression than CBT and engaging in social activities. Granted, social activities such as gaming and partying with friends are powerful techniques for reducing depression, anxiety, and stress. But kindness offers something more: you are doing something that benefits someone else, like baking them a cake or offering them a ride, and this makes you feel more connected to them than any social activity.

 

The study highlights that it’s not always enough to be around people in the form of social activity. Sometimes you even return home, and it’s back to the loneliness. But there’s something different that doing good to others brings to the table: you feel good about yourself, you feel more connected to another soul because you’ve helped them, and this connection is essential to your mental health.

So, next time you get the chance to help someone, you could forget about your problems and anxieties for a minute and be selfless. Because, in reality, you’re helping yourself as well. It’s a win-win!

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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