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Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

The way you interpret things, writes Burns, leads to feelings of anxiety, guilt, pessimism, low-self-esteem, and depression. Cognitive therapy teaches you how to handle criticism, deal with stress and stop procrastinating. Studies have found that cognitive therapy works faster to eliminate depression than conventional psychotherapy or drug therapy.

In Feeling Good and The Feeling Good Handbook, Burns identifies ten cognitive distortions that most of us will recognize, such as:

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking (A straight-A student gets a B and thinks he is a failure.),
  • Personalization (A woman’s son’s teacher suggests he could do better in class and she thinks, «I must be a terrible mother.»)
  • Jumping to Conclusions (A friend is distracted and doesn’t notice you and you think, «She’s mad at me. I must have done something wrong.»)

In each case, the individual becomes depressed and anxious because of the way they misinterpreted what happened.

This kind of distorted thinking is more common if you are feeling depressed. And, when you allow the negative thinking to influence your emotions, it only intensifies your depression. By learning to recognize patterns like these, you gain control over negative moods.

Feeling Good includes The Consumer’s Guide to Antidepressant Drug Therapy.

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