Experts say that it is normal for most individuals to feel down or depressed for about 5 to 10 days a year. Some people, however, struggle with a persistent feeling of the blues. Oftentimes these individuals will describe their feelings as “coming out of nowhere” and as something that they just “can’t control.” If you have been battling feelings of depression over a prolonged period, you may be interested in the research conducted by Dr. Aaron Beck, founder of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research in Philadelphia. Dr. Beck proposes that there are four main reasons for depression which are affecting many individuals.
Discovering Reasons for Depression
Working with depressed patients for many years, Dr. Beck came to the realization that people who are in a constant state of depression tend to see themselves, others, and the world in quite the same negative way. If you are feeling depressed, and would like to test this cognitive behavioral theory out on yourself, take out a pen and paper now and make a list of the following:
- How do you see yourself? Start each sentence with the words “I am”. For instance, “I am indecisive”, “I am overweight”, etc.
- How do you see others? Start each sentence with the words “Most people.” For instance, “Most people are luckier than me”, “Most people try to manipulate me”, etc.
- How do you see the world? Start each sentence with “The world is.” For instance, “The world is unpredictable”, “The world is unsafe”, etc.
- How do you view your future? Start each sentence with the words “When I think about my future, I see.” So, for instance, “When I think about my future I see increasing credit card debt”, etc.
Analyzing Reasons for Depression
Dr. Beck’s cognitive behavioral theory of depression states that people who are chronically in a blue or depressed mood are in this state because they have a negative thinking disorder. They tend to see:
- Themselves as worthless, inadequate, flawed, deprived, powerless or unlovable.
- Others as critical, demanding, uncaring or untrustworthy.
- The world as dangerous, hostile or unpredictable. And,
- Their futures as just more hardship, more suffering, more disappointment or more failure.
Carefully look at your answers from the first part above. Do your statements tend to indicate that you see yourself, others and the world through the negative lenses described by Dr. Beck above? If so, don’t despair.
Halting Thinking Patterns that are the Reasons for Your Depression
According to Dr. Beck, blue moods do not just appear out of nowhere. If you think poorly about yourself, others and the world, you have been causing your own miserable moods without really realizing it. The first step to ending this cycle is to realize this important truth. Next, you must learn to catch yourself as you begin to entertain a negative thought pattern so that you can deal with it before it results in a depressive state. To learn exactly how to do this and receive more excellent advice on the subject, I wholeheartedly recommend Robert Hirschfeld’s When the Blues Won’t go Away This amazing little book discusses Dr. Beck’s research in greater depth and also provides practical suggestions on how to control and win against the reasons for your depression.
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