Everyone feels low or struggles a bit from time to time. Low moods tend to lift after a few days or weeks. If they continue and won’t go away it can be a sign of depression.

If you’re feeling low, you may be having negative thoughts a lot of the time. These thoughts will be affecting how you’re feeling and, as a result, making it harder to do things which may, in turn, be leading to more negative and self-critical thoughts. This can create what’s called a Vicious cycle which can help to keep the depression going.

The Vicious cycle of depression shows how our feelings, thoughts, physical symptoms and how we behave can all be connected. So feeling low can create more negative thinking and stop you from wanting to do your usual activities which can then start to affect your self-esteem and how you think about yourself.

Read a description of the Vicious cycle of depression diagram

Download this diagram as a pdf:

MindWell self-help activity

You will need to print off the worksheet or download it to a computer or laptop to complete this activity

Being more aware of how we tend to think in situations which we find difficult or stressful can help us to challenge negative thinking. Complete the Blank Vicious Cycle of Depression worksheet to look at how your thoughts may be affecting how you feel and behave.

The example sheet shows how experiencing a vicious cycle could affect someone in a specific situation, in this case, experiencing unemployment.