Tip 6 – Extract from “50 Tips to Beat Depression” available on Amazon
It’s very easy when you are feeling down to lose sight of the positives. One facet of depression is the way the depressed outlook shapes thinking. The depressed person tends to ruminate on the negative things people say, and hears only critical comments. This is called “filtering out” and is a particular type of unhelpful thinking trait that often goes hand in hand with depression. Instead of noticing things in a balanced way, we only notice things that “fit” our negative mind-set and we dismiss the positives. This in turn serves to reinforce low self-esteem and a negative outlook.
One way to turn this around is to create a positive book (see tip 25). Buy a small exercise book, and if you are creative, cover it with a bright paper cover or positive images from magazines. Use this book to jot down positive things that happen, positive things people say and positive things that you have achieved during the day. Slowly you will begin to notice more and more positives as you learn to hear them and not dismiss them from your radar.
Consultant Psychologist Rick Norris, in his excellent book, “The Promised Land,” recommends compiling a list of 20 positive memories. He acknowledges that this can be somewhat overwhelming, as depressed people get out of the habit of playing memories that make them happy, because their mental filter tends to screen these out of their conscious mind. He suggests recalling three positive memories each day for a week. He tells us the benefit of doing this exercise last thing at night is because it can be a pleasant way to drop off to sleep and also that we tend to be more in tune with our sub-conscious mind during sleep, perhaps leading to sweeter dreams!
With best wishes, Steve
Please feel free to email your blog posts for “Your Mental Health Matters” to firstname.lastname@example.org Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist