AnxietyHow can Effective Goal Setting help Fight Depression?

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Effective Goal Setting

How can Effective Goal Setting help Fight Depression?

Depression is a mental & mood disorder that affects people in different ways. Depression is characterized by sadness, loss of interest, guilt, a sense of failure, and hopelessness. It is a common problem many people face, and it is also one of the most challenging ones to treat. Depression can be caused by various factors such as genetic, environmental, or hormonal changes. It can be triggered by stressful life events or significant losses in life. People with depression may feel sad for prolonged periods of time and have no interest in activities they used to enjoy before their symptoms started to occur. They may also have difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions, leading to low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.

Defining Depression

According to DSM-5, clinical depression, often known as major depressive disorder, is a frequent and dangerous mood illness. Depression causes people to feel unhappy and hopeless, and they lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. Aside from the emotional concerns that depression causes, people may also have physical symptoms such as persistent pain or digestive problems. Symptoms of depression ought to be present for at least two weeks in order to be diagnosed.

A PHQ-9 screener is a diagnostic test/tool for mental health issues used by health care providers, covering the same modules as the original PRIME-MD: mood (PHQ-9), anxiety, alcohol, food, and somatoform. The PHQ-9 screener score serves as an indication to reach out for professional help.

The PHQ-9 is used to diagnose and identify issue symptoms at the initial visit for depression treatment. The PHQ-9 is utilized at the follow-up appointment to assess treatment response and identify particular symptoms that aren’t improving. 

Shame & Depression

Depression says, “No one cares. Don’t go out. Don’t shower. It doesn’t matter. You don’t matter.” Depression can be like a dark cave. There are many emotions, but the voice of shame can be the loudest. “You are not enough. You are bad. You are worthless.” 

Dr. Brene Brown’s research on shame revealed that it kills our motivation to change or do things. Shame resilience is a skill to help you walk away from those shame voices and out of the cave.  

So, how do you deal with voices of shame? 

  1. Recognize shame triggers and physical feelings on your body.
  2. Practice critical awareness, i.e., “You are not going to agree with the voice of shame. It is not true that you are bad, worthliness, or not enough. You can feel guilt for something you have done but stir away from shame. Shame is correlated with depression, anxiety, and addiction. It will not help you heal.
  3. Reach out and tell someone how you feel. Tell them how you changed the story. Everyone experiences shame. You are not alone in this. The beauty is that shame cannot grow with empathy. 

Other healthy and effective ways to walk out of the cave are eating normally, sleeping correctly, exercising regularly, and being with people who care about you. Go & do the opposite of what you want to do. Be with people if you feel like staying inside and under the covers. Behavioral activation is a well-researched intervention that helps decrease depression. In a nutshell, it is healthily going the opposite way to what you feel like doing in the first place.

Significance of ‘Goal Setting’ in Combating Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the essential things that depression sufferers need to learn is setting goals.

Setting goals is essential based on the research on shame and behavioral activation. S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, And Timely)  goals will help us decrease depression. They will help you practically walk out of the cave.

When setting goals, it is crucial to make sure that they are realistic and achievable. It is also vital to break down the goal into smaller steps to make it easier for the person suffering from depression. It is also essential for people with depression to know when they have succeeded or failed so that they can feel satisfied with their progress.  Goals will help us improve our mood and overall functioning—practice shame resilience. And go reach out to the therapist when you need help. 

For example, I will get out of bed at 8 am today and eat 2-3 meals a day. I will visit a friend this week. I will not call myself worthless today. I will tell someone that I practiced shame resiliency 3x this week. 

Suicidal thoughts can accompany depression. If you are having active thoughts to harm yourself, Don’t wait! Reach out to the Georgia crisis line now. 1 (800) 715-4225 right away!


People with depression often have trouble finding a reason to live, and in the end, they may not be able to find the will to keep living. This is why it is crucial for people with depression to set effective and practical goals for themselves and take action in order to find happiness again.

Are you combating depression? Do you need an ear to listen? Reach out to us. Let’s figure it out together. 

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