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How Your Erroneous View of Self-Worth Fuels Your Depression

Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem represent key symptoms of depression.  Self-worth is how you value yourself as a human being or your overall opinion of yourself. Self-worth has also been equated with self-respect – having respect for one’s abilities. People with depression experience feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem in thoughts as: “I am worthless” “I am inadequate” “I am incompetent” “I am bad” “I am a failure” “I am a loser” “I am ugly” “I am no good” “I am immoral” “I am stupid” “I am a fake” In depression, most thoughts of worthlessness represent irrational thinking patterns such as all-or-none thinking, overgeneralization, labeling (putting negative labels on self), and magnification (blowing things out of proportion). For example, you get an average evaluation in one area of your job performance compared to above average in other areas and you start feeling that you are incompetent. Or worthlessness can be also be triggered by not meeting your perfectionistic expect…
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SWOT Analysis as a Strength-Based Tool for Treatment Planning in Depression

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT analysis is a tool businesses and organizations use for strategic planning. The tool serves as a guide for organizations to take advantage of their strengths, work on their weaknesses, explore external opportunities, and protect themselves from external threats. You can use the same tool to strategize your life goals and treatment goals. This tool will enable you to appraise your positive and negative attributes regarding a particular goal or situation, the impact of external factors on the goal or situation, and guide you to make rational choices based on this analysis. SWOT is described below:
Strengths: These are your tangible or intangible internal positive attributes that you have control over. Besides your character strengths, your strengths also include your knowledge, skills, abilities, credentials, reputation, and network. The tangible piece of your strengths includes your tangible assets, material …

DARN: A Simple and Effective Way to Increase Your Motivation to Change

DARN is an acronym which stands for: Desire, Ability, Reasons, and Need. These represent four types of self-talk that people contemplating change engage in (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). Use this approach to ask yourself evocative questions that tap into your intrinsic motivation. 
Desire: Desire is wanting to have something or wanting a change. Examples include, “I want to exercise more” or “I would like to eat healthy.” Ask yourself the following questions to elicit your desire to change. What am I hoping to accomplish by this change?How would I like for things to change?How do I want my life to be different six months from now?
Ability: Ability is your perception of your ability to bring about the change. Questions to elucidate ability include: How likely am I able to flex my schedule to incorporate this change?What do I think I might be able to change in my daily schedule?If I did decide that I wanted to add this change, how could I do it?
Reasons: Help yourself find the…

Anger Problems? Find the “Should” Behind Your Anger

We experience anger when our unrealistic demands, conceptualized in our minds as “should” or “musts,” are not met. Examples include, “I should work harder,” “People should treat me fairly,” “You must do what I tell you to do,” “I shouldn’t be angry,” etc. “Should” and “must” statements arise from either moralistic rules or perfectionistic demands that we hold ourselves and others to. Irrational should statements rest on your assumption that you are entitled to instant gratification. However, life being what it is, does not respect your “shoulds” or “musts.” Moreover, there is no law that says we should get what we want, any more than other people always get what they want.
How do you handle the “shoulds”? 1. Eliminate the words “should” and “must” when talking about expectations and replace them with “I hope,” or “I wish,” or “I prefer.”  For example, “I wish things were different,” “I hope I can do well, but I can tolerate not being perfect,” “I wish things were different,” etc. In co…

Procrastination in Depression: The Motivation Myth

Procrastination is putting off things for another day, or doing things which are not productive as an excuse of not doing what is important. Dr. Wayne Dyer (1995) in his book, Your Erroneous Zones, provides the rationale behind procrastination as a thought process which is something like this: “I know I must do that, but I am really afraid that I might not do it well, or I won’t like it. So, I will tell myself that I will do it in the future, then I don’t have to admit to myself that I am not going to do it. And it is easier to accept myself this way.” This temporary avoidance gives you a quick relief from the anxiety associated with a task, which then reinforces this behavior. We all have procrastinated at one time or the other, but in depression, procrastination becomes more complex due to the self-defeating attitudes of perfectionism (“I can do things only if I can do them perfectly”), hopelessness (“My low motivation and low energy levels are never going get better”), and fear of …

How to Find the Right Mental Health Provider for Depression?

A right match between you and your mental health provider is key to your wellness and recovery from depression. If you are looking for a therapist, the most important thing to inquire is if they use evidence-based psychotherapy to treat depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are two modalities of psychotherapy that have the most evidence to support their first-line use for treating acute depression (Parikh et al., 2009). There is some evidence to suggest that CBT may be more effective than IPT in individuals with severe depression, but the two are comparable for treating mild and moderate depression (Luty et al., 2007). In addition, ask the prospective therapist the following questions:
“How did you get your training in CBT or IPT?” You are not looking for a therapist whose only training was a weekend workshop.“How much experience do you have with these approaches?”“What are your professional credentials?”“What kind of methods wou…

What Depression is Not

When one is feeling low, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one is going through the throes of clinical depression, i.e., major depressive disorder. There are several conditions that may mimic clinical depression but don’t reach the severity or pervasiveness of the former condition or are symptomatically distinct. It is important to recognize these so that one may not unnecessarily get prescribed medications or started on psychotherapy as some of these conditions are time limited or may remit on their own. At the same time, some of these conditions such as complicated grief may need specialized therapy. Conditions that resemble depression but are not depression include the following:
Sadness: Depression is more than the normal pangs of sadness one gets when experiencing a stressful situation. Depression is a more pervasive and persistent change in your mood along with changes in your physiological functions such as sleep, appetite, and energy level. Although stress can trigger a depressi…