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How can I practice socializing if I'm depressed?

John Preston, PsyD
Psychology
To practice socializing, use a full-length mirror or a sympathetic and trusted friend, or both. Stand in front of the mirror or your friend and imagine that someone has just said (or have your friend say to you), “Good morning. How are you?”

Take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine a time when you felt happy or content. Take a moment to really get into how that felt for you. How did it feel in your body? Allow your body take whatever position feels right. Try to feel yourself standing tall, squarely facing the mirror or your friend, with your legs planted firmly on the ground, yet relaxed and with your shoulders relaxed. Now open your eyes and respond to “Good morning. How are you?” with whatever words feel right. How did you look in the mirror, and how did your answer feel to you in your body and your mind? Note your facial expression, tone of voice and how you positioned your body.

Practice responding again. The second time, close your eyes and imagine a time (and this may not be difficult) when you felt sad or depressed. Really get into this feeling. Feel it in your body, and let your body position itself in a way that feels as though it fits your mood. You may find yourself slouching a little, turning away from the mirror or your friend, putting your hands into your pockets or looking at the ground. Now open your eyes and respond to the question in whatever way feels right. Did you notice a difference in how you felt in your body? Did you notice how your facial expression, tone of voice, and body position may have shifted? If you’re working with a friend, ask how it was for him or her and what messages he or she got from you based your different responses. Also ask that person to honestly tell you how he or she felt after each of your responses. Did your friend feel drawn to you? Shut out? Confused? Put off?
Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

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Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.