Protect Yourself Against Depression – Part 3

Protect Yourself Against Depression – Part 3

by Dr Emma Gray - 9th December, 2014

In parts one and two of this blog we started to looked at how the meanings that we attached to situations can influence our mood and how specific styles of thinking can make us vulnerable to episodes of depression.

In the final part of this blog we will look at 3 further ways of thinking that if avoided or corrected will protect you against depression.

1. Negative Comparison with Others

This is the tendency to see yourself as inferior to others, often regardless of the situation. You may tend to focus on those that have achieved more or whose situation is preferable to yours and either discount or ignore those who have less than you.

This imbalance in your perception of the world produces an almost endless supply of evidence to support a core belief of worthlessness or inadequacy which leads to low self esteem and confidence, as we have mentioned before, key risk factors for depression.

To counteract this tendency try to see the whole picture by placing yourself on a continuum that includes both those who you perceive as having more than you and those who you perceive as having less.

2. Hopeless Predictions for the Future

When we are feeling depressed it seems to be easier for us to access negative thoughts, this is referred to by Clinical and Counselling Psychologists as Mood Congruent Thinking.

When depressed we therefore are more likely to have negative thoughts about our future, usually that we will continue to feel depressed and that this and our situation will never change i.e. we predict that the future holds no hope for us.

To deal with this way of thinking try to get some perspective by reviewing your experiences to date, good and bad, along with what you have learned along the way to help you to make a more accurate prediction of what the future holds.

3. Expectations of Helplessness

This thinking style tends to work in conjunction with ‘hopeless predictions for the future’ i.e. we predict that our future is hopeless and that we are helpless to change this.

To tackle this way of thinking use a similar approach as that recommended for hopeless prediction, review how you have dealt with challenges in the past and what you have learned from your experiences and then use this to accurately evaluate you capacity to influence what happens to you.

These techniques can provide very effective protection against depression; however, some people need professional support to implement them. If this is the case for you contact the liaison team at The British CBT & Counselling Service who will be able to provide you with information about the type of help our Clinical and Counselling Psychologists can provide.

To recap the previous parts of this article, click below to navigate.

Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleagues once described me as a natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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