Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Make A Gratitude List To Combat Depression

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If you’ve been struggling with depression some symptoms you’ve probably experienced include low self-worth, negativity about your life situation, and hopelessness about your future. These symptoms occur together so often that Beck and his colleagues termed them the cognitive triad of depression.

The thing to realize is that your beliefs about yourself, the world, and the future don’t necessarily represent objective reality but instead represent reality filtered through your point of view, a point of view not shared by everybody else. For all you know, other people with different constitutions would be happy as clams in your exact same situation. This is not to discount what you’re going through, simply to remind you that perception plays a huge part in determining your reality.

You’ve got to find a way to stop that negativity in its tracks if you want to interrupt the downward spiral, to interrupt that wave that keeps gaining momentum and will certainly crash before long. A simple yet highly effective way to do it is to make a gratitude list and carry it around with you wherever you go. Just come up with five to ten things you are grateful for.

Creating the list will be helpful on its own, but what will be really helpful is for you to pull it out and look over it every time a negative thought creeps in, every time that negative self-talk starts up, every time you start to feel down about your current situation or hopeless about your future. The gratitude list is the antidote, a way to ground you in what is right about your life instead of dwelling on what is wrong about it. The stories you tell yourself over and over again become your reality, and the first step in pulling out of the tailspin is to start telling yourself a different story, not one based on wishful thinking but one based on the elements of your situation that inspire gratitude rather than depression.