Decision-making and time management training may relieve
depression, if one has neglected and made poor decisions or
mismanaged his/her time. A series of mistakes can cause
disappointment and a low self-concept.
Level IV: Cognitive Methods (chapter 14)
Build a more positive self-concept. More and more evidence is
accumulating that positive self-esteem is an antidote to depression.
Examples of helpful action: make more positive self-evaluations by
noting your successes, abilities, good morals, traits, and actions
(Homme, 1965; Vasta, 1976). This is especially important for the
depressed people who have a severe internal critic. You must
challenge and silence your unreasonable critic. Also, personal pride
comes from believing that your successes are due to skills and
discipline you developed and utilized to meet a challenge. Being
successful because you inherited wealth or a good brain doesn't build
the ego as much as "coming up the hard way."
If a person grew up in a non-rewarding, inattentive family, he/she
may feel like an underdog and have little self-respect. Such people
frequently drift towards "a bad crowd" and become antisocial because
they gain some self-esteem in that way (Kleinke, 1991). They will
probably need more than a shot of self-administered esteem-building
cognition; they may need new social skills, educational-career-life
plans, and a different peer environment. It takes courage to leave
friends, especially if they are, for the moment, our only support
See method #1 in chapter 14 for an extensive discussion of
building self-esteem. It is very important. Evidence suggests that self-
esteem buffers us from the onslaught of anxiety, guilt, depression,
shame, criticism and other internal or external attacks.
Challenge faulty perceptions, irrational ideas, automatic
ideas, faulty conclusions, and excessive guilt. If your "automatic
negative thoughts" slip by too quickly for you to notice (but they still
cause sadness), try starting your search for the negative thoughts at
the moment the emotions occur. Ask yourself, "What was I thinking
when I got upset?" Or, "What was my view of the situation when I
started to feel depressed?" These questions and the answers may help
you uncover the well hidden self-blaming antecedent thoughts or
interpretations of the situation. Write down your thoughts, and then
What is the evidence for this idea (that may be causing me to
feel bad)? Is it true?
Is there another way of looking at the situation?
Even if my first thought were correct, is it really as awful as I
feel it is (or is the situation just "lawful" reality)?