Depression is not something that occurs outside of us, but it does have a very significant relationship with the external environment and others within it. Depression Symptoms can be extreme and even manifest themselves physically, which can have huge impact on body and mind alike, not to mention our ability to function and cope normally, and maintain our relationships.
Depression Symptoms & Cognitive Distortions
It is not the actual events of our lives that give rise to depression and anxiety, rather our thought processes, which surround our experiences and observations. With a clear understanding of the inner workings of the mind and the thought processes, which allow depression to creep in, we can start and make necessary changes in order to achieve a state of mentally healthier behaviour.
Understanding Cognitive Distortions can help us to address the thought patterns which cause depression & anxiety.
Here is a list of common cognitive distortions, which people of depressed mood often make in their interpretations:
- All or nothing thinking: Seeing things in black-or-white categories. Anything, which falls short of perfect, is seen as total failure. Over-generalisation. One or more negative events are seen as never-ending pattern of defeat, which is characterised by using the words “always” or “never”. Also, includes Negative Labelling
- Negative labelling: The attachment of a negative label to oneself or another person, which cast character aspersions and describe that person in an exclusively negative. When done in a way that implicates a person’s ‘character’ or ‘essence’, as opposed to their behaviour, these are usually taken very personally. E.g. “I’m a loser”, “He’s just a ……”.
- Mental filter (aka Globalisation): Picking out a single negative detail and dwelling on it exclusively, so that the entire view of reality becomes tainted. Eg dwelling on past events.
- Negative Forecasting: Predicting that things will turn out badly. E.g. I’ll never be able to find another partner.
- Magnification: Exaggerating the importance of problems and shortcomings, as well as minimising the importance of desirable qualities (aka the “binocular trick”).
- Discounting the positive: Rejecting positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count”, e.g.it wasn’t good enough, anyone could have done as well. (Includes Jumping to conclusions).
- Mind reading: Making unsubstantiated conclusions that others think negatively of you. E.g. Nobody likes me at work (nobody talks to you, because they are busy and you don’t talk to them).
- Emotional reasoning: Assuming that negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are. E.g. I feel low, so I’m hopeless.
- Should statements: Characterised by the words “should,” “must,” “ought to” and “have to”, these statements when directed against self-caused guilt and frustration. Note: they can also be directed at other people and cause anger or frustration.
- Personalisation and blame: Personalisation occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control. Blaming or scape-goating is the opposite: blaming other people or circumstances for your problems but overlook the part you might be playing in it.
- Relationships between thoughts and feelings: o Thoughts of loss / loss to self-esteem = sadness and depression o Unfulfilled expectations = frustration o Thoughts of danger to self or self-esteem = anxiety and panic o Thoughts that you are bad = guilt o Thoughts that you are inadequate in comparison with others = feelings of low inferiority
Changes Welcome practitioners are able to offer help to address all kinds of cognitive distortions associated with depression, so why not book your initial consultation today, and start the process of change.
Read more about Hypnotherapy to Help with Depression.