How to beat the blues
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Dr Jonathan Hutchins, MBACP (Accred), C.Psychol, EMDR Therapist, BABCP accred.
5th August, 2010
Depression or, as I prefer to name it; feeling low, can impact up to one in two of us at any time in our lives (Moffitt and others, 2010). It is also rated as the 4th biggest predictor of disability in the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2000).
I view depression or feeling low as part of our human experience as I believe that misery is part of the human condition. From my experience of working with many people who have felt low there are often very understandable reasons as to why they feel like this such as: redundancy, loss of a loved one, loss of ability and life crises. When we experience difficult life events we naturally may do less things and we may find it harder to get pleasure out of life.
These difficulties can also lead us to have negative thoughts about ourselves, the world and other people (Greenberg & Padesky, 1995). For example some of my clients have believed that they are worthless, weak or stupid even though there is no evidence to suggest this. These thoughts then lead to us doing less things and to feel more low in our selves, ending up in a negative downward spiral (Beck, 1976). However, there are many ways to beat the blues and to overcome these difficulties which include:
1. Doing the things that you may have stopped doing due to feeling low.
2. Doing more things that give you a sense of achievement or pleasure.
3. Remember thoughts are just thoughts and that they are not facts! Therefore what they may say about you is not the truth.
4. If you have negative thoughts challenge them by asking yourself what would someone else say to this thought? or what is the evidence against this thought?
These are just a few evidence based techniques that my clients have found helpful to overcome depression. I hope that these techniques may be useful to you too. If you feel this is a difficulty that you may experience I would recommend reading some self help books such as Overcoming Depression by Professor Paul Gilbert and a book called Mind Over Mood by Dr Christine Padesky and Dr Dennis Greenberg. These two books contain similar techniques to the ones I just suggested and more. If you feel you need more than this then please seek out the support of someone through this website, you don’t have to be alone in these difficult times.
Beck, A, T. (1976). Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. Penguin Books.
Moffitt, T., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., Kokaua, J., Milne, B., Polanczyk, G., & Poulton, R. (2010). How common are common mental disorders? Evidence that lifetime prevalence rates are doubled by prospective versus retrospective ascertainment. Psychological Medicine, 40 (06),
Padesky, C., Greenberg, D. (1995). Mind over mood: a Cognitive Treatment Therapy Manual for Clients. Guilford Press.
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