Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Book:
Dr. David Burns has found in his late research on cognitive therapy that depression could be treated naturally. Without taking any antidepressant drug, we’re gonna go through the process of doing so. But first I want you to remember that you are not the only person, who’s suffering from depression. Taking into consideration that others have faced the same painful experiences can bring about, a relief in the sense of unity. Also, if you’re someone who is positive and you think that unhappiness is not for you any longer and that you’ve worked it out long ago. In my point of view, you should reconsider that thought. In most cases, positive people get so egotistic about their positivity. To a point that they start to assisting unpleasant emotions like sadness. It’s like saying:
“Oh! I gotta be positive, men aren’t supposed to cry, I can’t fall into the sad thing because if I do this I will not be intelligent enough to maintain my positivity.”
And ironically by resisting their mood swing, they get depressed. Sadness is not depression. It is acceptable to feel sad sometimes. The big idea from this introduction is to stop resisting the state that you find yourself in. Even clinging to positive emotions could have you depressed. Emotions are just “chemicals” running through your body. And those emotional chemicals are not permanent. The always come and go. Just like any other experience. Everything is changing constantly it states. And now with that said, let’s move-on to cure for depression.
First, we should know how you got unhappiness in first place & then we get to solve your illness. Think of it as a math equation, if we happen to internalize the rule, we could manage the equation. Let’s say that we’re sitting in the restaurant & unintentionally, you broke a glass in & I’m seeing you. Since I’m positive, my reaction would be to laugh hilariously like if it wasn’t the big deal. It’s funny for me as for you. You get offended by the noises it produced when it hit the ground. Notice that, it’s same event for both of us. The difference is the mode we see that event.
So, the rule here is simple:
Your thoughts create your emotions. Because you got these feelings the way you do because of the thoughts you’re thinking right now. That’s why in some guided meditations, they want you focusing on what you’re thinking at the moment to identify what you’re feeling. If you’re confused about an event that happened to you later in the day then, your emotional, states at the moment could be confusion.
Dr. Burns describes how depression occurs:
- First: we have the event that happens in the outside world.
- Second: we deduce the event with continuous thoughts that have called your internal dialogue.
- Finally: the feelings you’ve been created by your thinking and not the actual event.
In-other-words, way you contemplate in a matter will determine how you will feel about it. When you take an event as negative, dr. Burns describe that as “cognitive distortion”. If you perceive an event as negative you create distorted thoughts & therefore unpleasant emotions. Sometimes you could be right, the event is unpleasant. It must be explained in that way and we have to be truthful about it. But, for people that face a “mild” levels of depression, those cognitive distortions become so habituated to a certain degree that they start perceiving everything in black and white. Dr. burns cited 10 different cognitive distortions that you face when sometimes you’re depressed.
Let’s see some important and common examples that happened. Let’s say that you wanna learn improv-comedy. You took some classes and after a month you started to let it give a shot and go live. So, you go on stage and starts cracking the lamest jokes ever since you’re nervous and it’s your first time. The audience was being bored and they left. As a result, you think in your mind that you’ve no chance of becoming a comedian or that you will never gonna be good at doing anything. This kind of reasoning misrepresentation is called all-or-nothing thinking.
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Either I’m good at this or I will never be even if I burn into practice. Either I’m a charismatic confident guy, or I will never be that way. And you can clearly tell that it’s all pure nonsense. This type of intellectual misrepresentation is conveying an exaggeration of negative event. The event itself is negative but instead of perceiving it as a Passing experience you hold on to cons. This primes us to the second cognitive distortion. This one is called “mental filtering”. You take one negative thing in every situation and keep lodging on it.
This article as an example, it doesn’t matter that how much time I give it to make valuable content. There would be always that one guy who will filter all the value and leave a negative comment. Instead of the saying “ok let’s evaluate this objectively”. What did I get from this article? I learned about something called “cognitive therapy”. I can treat my sadness without taking any antidepressant drug,
See? at least you learned something. To be very honest I’m not resentful to wrote those people are so addicted to negativity that it became normal to them. Just as normal as holding a fork. People who perceive reality from a mental filter, it doesn’t matter that how much you stab to encourage them that the event is actually positive, they will always find something negative about it.
Let’s say that you got in front of a car, you’re on your way to hospital. Doesn’t matter that how much the doctors keep saying to you that you didn’t get a scratch. You got dizzy and you’re ready to go home in three hours. Do you keep thinking to yourself: omg what if I got brain damage? And if my brain is damaged with my girlfriend still want to go out with me? This one is known as “jumping to conclusions”. This is like exaggerating with your expectations. And projecting to unrealistic conclusions. Since the process of emotion formation happens in part of a second, we’ve little to no control over it.
The virtuous news is, however, even if those thoughts get distorted & you fall into depression, you still have a chance to reconstruct them after their occurrence. You got an opportunity to reframe those slanted thoughts & therefore change your mood. It’s scary, how one thought can have too much power that will change someone’s life for good or the worst.
David Burns presented us with some practical strategies to deal with these cognitive distortions.
- The first step: is to start being mindful enough to catch those involuntary negative thinking and thoughts, and write them down, do not let them buzz around in your head.
- The second step: is to acquire nicely how you’re twisting things & wafting them out of proportion.
- The third step: is to change the same thought of lying that made you feel low about yourself.
If you hear a thought saying like you can’t be good at doing anything catch that negative thought and write down. Now write more logical and realistic counter thought to it. Try to find all the logical reasons that convey clearly that you are good at something, doesn’t matter that how and what the thought says. You can read that paper every day in front of you go about your day and with time the subconscious will rewire itself. Instead of weighing you down, your thoughts will start boosting your mood naturally. This is the basic gist of cognitive behavioral therapy.
So far, we saw three big ideas:
- The 1st big idea is that your emotions are created by the thinking and not the actual event.
- The 2nd big idea is cognitive distortions. We saw much simpler distortions that you twitch getting fall into when you are low.
- Finally, we take a look at practical side of the book. Which is to fix those distortions by writing them down and exchanging them with realistic logical thoughts. And with time, your brain will re-wire for good.
Download Links to Feeling Good by David D. Burns:
Feeling Good is an amazing Self-help book on Cognitive Therapy. But unfortunately, this is a copyrighted book so its PDF version is not available free. If you are interested to read this book then you can buy from Amazon, Link is given below.