Protect Yourself Against Depression – Part 1by Dr Emma Gray - 3rd December, 2014
It is not what happens to us that makes us depressed, situations in and of themselves do not have the power to influence our mood. It is the way that we think about the things that happen to us that effects how we feel.
So in essence, we open the door to negative feelings (including depression, anxiety and anger) with the meaning that we attached to events.
Therefore, if we monitor these meanings and correct inaccuracies and unhelpful interpretations we can protect ourselves against depression.
There are a number of key interpretations of situations that we can make that will leave us vulnerable to depression, these are: personalisation, generalisation of negative consequences, negative evaluation or ourselves, negative comparison with others, hopeless predictions for the future and expectations of helplessness.
This is the tendency to attribute responsibility for everything negative that happens to ourselves, even the actions of others e.g. ‘they did that because I annoyed them’.
The flip side of this tendency is that everything positive that happens is attributed to luck or chance. This means that our self esteem is only every attacked, it is never bolstered and over time such a constant barrage of blame result in low self esteem, a major risk factor for depression.
Identifying this tendency in yourself and attempting to substitute it with the knowledge that we are all internally motivated so what others do tells us about them not us can go some way to counterattack this tendency and protect you from episodes of depression.
It is also helpful to remember that in any interaction we only have responsibility for 50% of that interaction; the other 50% is the responsibility of the other person involved.
Therefore the responsibility for the consequences resulting from any interaction must be shared 50-50 between the participants.
In the second and third part of this blog we will look in details at the other thinking styles that put us at risk of depression and how to counteract these. Click below to navigate.