Need Help to Overcome Depression? Self-Determination Theory Helps!

How Has Self-Determination Theory Helped People Overcome Depression?

overcome depression

According to the latest research, the self-determination theory is doing a lot more than anticipated to help people battle their worst fears and move forward in different sectors of their lives. The theory is based on increasing inner confidence amongst individuals to overcome depression. Before we get to learn the different ways that self-determination has helped people to overcome depression, practice better stress management, and diminish anxiety, it is of utmost importance to understand, what the self-determination theory is all about. This will help us evaluate the theory better and understand the advantages it is bringing forward to the human mind and behavior.

overcoming depression and anxiety

What is Self-Determination Theory?

The Self-determination theory is predominantly a theory dedicated to motivation. A lot of people find it hard to stay true to their intrinsic or reflexive tendencies. The aim of the theory is to help individuals support and accept their unique and natural instincts, tendencies, and behaviors and lead a proper, healthy and balanced life.

When we stop ourselves from executing our genuine reactions and tendencies, we constantly shroud our personalities of various layers of bindings. These are mental confinements that lock your natural self from the view of society, resulting in the complete eradication of your own personality. The self-determination theory is aimed towards removing these shrouds and cutting the confinements, by supporting people to accept themselves as they are and behave in a healthy way.

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What leads to depression and lack of self-confidence?

Before we learn how practicing self-determination can change our lives, let us briskly go through how people are affected by lack of self-confidence and depression. These by far are the two strongest factors that lead people into leading a life that is not their own. It is a weak camouflage they pull over themselves. The self-determination theory objectifies to help these people. But, why at all do lack of confidence and depression set in?

  • Lack of confidence-

Lack of confidence is a result of peer pressure, lack of attention, and a combined effect of some other factors. This can be a self-grown symptom as well. This often happens when people start questioning their own personalities and decisions.

  • Depression-

Depression is the stage you reach after a gradual lack of confidence and self-dependence. it can set in due to a number of varied reasons. Some of the most potent reasons that have been noticed through scientific and psychological studies indicate the following reasons- limbic system disorder, neurotransmitters and neuron disorder, hormonal disorder, endocrinal system disorder, cortisol disorder, etc. All these disorders are related to the human brain. The human brain is the center of the nervous system of the body and is what directs our body’s activities, thoughts, and also behavior. When these disorders start affecting several parts of the brain, the calculated result is depression.

Both lack of confidence and depression are a result of extreme mental stress. Stress not only affects your physical health but can prove detrimental to your mental health as well. This is where the role of stress management becomes absolutely imperative. The self-determination theory helps you deal with your lacking confidence, depression, and stress all at the same time, as your most compliant friend and constant support.

Effects of depression fought by self-determination theory:

overcome depression

The core value or objective of the self-determination theory is to help people realize their worth and feel valuable additions to the world. It gives one the hope that depression takes away from them a little bit, every single day. Some of the effects of depression include-

  • Increased level of stress,
  • Constant feeling of humiliation,
  • Unmanageable levels of inferiority complex,
  • Low Self Esteem,
  • Negligible am amount of confidence,
  • Self-defeating behavior,
  • Not acting naturally,
  • Stuffing intrinsic feelings,
  • Shying away from people,
  • Daytime Fatigue,
  • Sleeping through days still feeling tired,
  • Trouble getting sleep,
  • Waking up before time,
  • Waking up in small intervals throughout the night,
  • Difficulty in concentrating,
  • And a lot more.

The self-determination theory helps individuals combat all these symptoms and side effects brought upon by depression, by helping people manage their stress levels and growing their confidence simultaneously.

stress management

Overcome depression with self-determination theory?

The Self-Determination Theory dwells on three basic needs of the human brain. It is believed that by feeding the human brain with these innate needs at regular intervals, there is a positive growth in behavior, and output of optimal functions is noticed. These optimal needs include-

  1. Competence
  2. Relatedness

These innate needs are referred to as universal necessities for any individual. The lack of these in a human leads to sufferings from stress, depression, and lack of confidence. The SDT works on supporting the re-building of these innate needs once more in an individual, to cope with their issues. These innate needs can be resurrected by practicing the following operations, as guided by the self-determination theory-

  • Stress Management

Different people behave differently to stress. While some might feel burdened by stress for a very short compass of time. On the other hand, someone else might take it up as a constant pressure and give way to depression. The self-determination theory guides us with a few healthy means to deal with this stress efficiently and these include- get more active, walk or cycle more vigorously, listen to music that relaxes you, take your dog out for a walk, correct your body posture, feel confident, adapt to pressing situations, and most importantly be at peace with who you are.

  • Dealing with depression-

Depression is the worst stage of life for any individual. It peels you off your innate confidence and self-reliance. The aim of the SDT is to help you feel competent and ready to take over the world. You can achieve this by increasing your social interaction. For example, starting with small groups of people, trying and avoiding unnecessary stress, avoiding toxic people who stress you out. Furthermore, not depending on other people’s judgments, saying ‘no’ once in a while, and realizing your worth.

Following these guidelines set by the Self Determination theory will help you overcome depression and stress and become a happier and successful person.

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4 thoughts on “How Has Self-Determination Theory Helped People Overcome Depression?

  1. manjeet says:

    My daughter Mallika has been suffering from depression for the last 10 years and pandemic has made matters worse. Her dietary habits too are quite irregular. She eats just once during night and rarely eats the whole day.
    How can this be improved. Kindly suggest

    • Mukta Agrawal says:

      Hello Manjeet, Firstly thank you for reading the blog and trusting us to ask your query, It is always important to find the root cause of depression which can be done well by 2 methods 1) Self meditation 2) counselling help. Once the root cause is well understood everything else will fall in place. Also you can try reducing the 1 meal quanity and space up her meals and include lot of liquids and fluids which has high omega 3 content, magnesium and potassium rich like Bannana, Avacado, flaxseeds, pomegrante, Apple, sunflower seeds etc you can add in her meals. Also for further details you can mail me at and I can guide you further you can also send her complete details.

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