Psychological Self-Help

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False conclusions
More reasonable idea
I forgot the assignment, I'm
irresponsible.
(self-blaming)
A mistake, I'll not do that again.
John snubbed me, nobody likes
me.
(over-generalization)
I'd better talk to John; others like
me because I'm so good to them.
It's terrible if I can't be an MD.
(absolutism)
What a downer. What is my next
choice?
I'm a nerd, always will be.
I need some better social skills.
I failed once, I'll always fail.
(irreversibility)
I'll learn and practice more next
time.
The teacher is mad because I
forgot
to do the paper. (personalization)
Half the class is doing poorly, not
just me.
After my accident, they'll never
trust me. 
(over reaction)
One mistake doesn't destroy trust.
If some relatively minor event (not like death or divorce) has
gotten us down--and we have stayed down too long--we must
examine our conclusions about that event. Remember that depressed
people demand too much sometimes, get obsessed with a loss, blame
themselves (no benefit of the doubt), let events get them down, and
don't think they can do anything about the depression. That is the
nature of depression and low self-esteem. They see no silver lining, no
light at the end of the tunnel, no opportunity for growth in this crisis.
They aren't thinking rationally (see cause #7 above). 
Avoid assuming responsibility for bad events and feeling
guilt on and on. Recognize that it is unreasonable to assume that you
are responsible for just the bad things in your life and not the good.
Try to reduce your focus on your faults that may or may not have
caused some loss in the past; instead, focus on your strengths that
could improve your future. Likewise, guard against dwelling on and re-
living the bad events and overlooking the good. Refer to #4 above.
Flanigan (1996) offers advice about putting the past behind us and
find self-forgiveness. 
Unlike Seligman's dogs, challenge your assumptions that you
are helpless. Acquire Learned Optimism and the courage to "give it a
try," and you are on your way to success, more friends, less
depression, and better health (Seligman, 1991). In all the specific
actions for coping with depression, optimism is important: to some
degree, the effectiveness of all anti-depression methods is a function
of how much the user believes in the methods (Kirsch, Mearns, &
Catanzaro, 1990). 
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