and improve your well-being

Following a very recent study that was concluded in the UK (Kinderman et al., 2013). The research found three crucial thinking styles and behaviours, which could contribute to increasing the chance of someone experiencing depression and anxiety.  These three key areas are:

Rumination -  worrying excessively and allowing thoughts that are distressing and depressing to run wild in the mind and to be constantly there. Please refer to the CBT page on this site to understand more about problematic thinking patterns.

Lack of adaptive coping - not seeking the support from friends or others. Not eating healthily, lack of exercise and not being able to foresee stressful events can also be points of not coping appropriately.

Self-blame - Blaming oneself. This particular way of thinking and behaving can be very self damaging, eroding self esteem and confidence. Please refer to the research and resources page on http://www.londonanxietyclinic.co.uk/   Here I provide a Self compassion scale questionnaire, this questionnaire brings awareness to particular patterns of how you may habitually deal with certain situations. Clients have shared how useful this is to focus on in therapy, focussed towards developing an attitude of self-acceptance that also adds to increasing confidence, self esteem and assertiveness.

Additionally, you may be aware that significant life events can also lead to depression and anxiety, but its not just traumatic events that can do this, the smaller every day hassles can also develop towards anxiety and depression. To help identify areas of low mood and some behaviour changes, we have created below a mood sheet and daily activity log to self monitor your daily patterns.

 A bit of extra thinking! Genetic, biological factors and family history can influence whether someone is predisposed to experience anxiety or depression, but what makes the difference is how people think about and approach the challenges that appear in life. Whilst we are unable to affect the genetic and biological factors and not able to change family history, we can through various therapeutic interventions, develop with you alternative and healthier thinking styles that will be adaptive and positively rewarding. 

 

To hear more about what interventions and strategies we use to diminish any continual negative thinking and develop healthier altenatives that are lasting, please contact Mike Ward for a free 30 minute consultation.

Mood Sheet

As we all know, our moods can rise and fall. Some days we feel that we can meet the challenges of the day and many things are achievable and enjoyable. Some days our moods can be lower, so it is quite natural for us to experience this ebb and flow of feelings.

Well, if you have found that sometimes these low feelings have been lasting and have had widespread effects in your life, it can be useful to monitor and record your mood on a daily basis.

Looking at the Mood form, the first column is to record your mood, then in the second column rate how strong your mood is with a number, from a one to a hundred, a hundred being the strongest feeling. In the last column, this is to begin to notice your thoughts and the things you may have been saying to yourself at the time of recording your feeling of mood. If at first you find that it is a challenge to catch your thinking, thats ok, because as you begin to pay more attention to your thinking, you will notice the things you are saying in your mind.  It just takes a little practice and perseverance  You may find that your thoughts are more like pictures, so just write down what these pictures are describing.

What we are looking for by using the mood form is your individual pattern of thought and the negative thinking that drives your feelings and behaviour towards low moods. Once we have identified the particular negative pattern of thinking. We can then begin to develop and build resources that create healthier and more positive functional thinking.

Please download the Mood form to help you begin in identifying patterns of negative thinking.(word document - opens in new window)

If you would like a free initial telephone or email consultation regarding ideas on what to do next, please refer to my contact page.

Daily Activities

To help you in identifying mood changes it is also very useful to look at and record your patterns of activity. It could be that your activities, combined with negative thoughts influence your mood in a way that is unhelpful. The form will also develop your awareness to look at the balance you have between activities that are more enjoyable than others.

As you record your activities, it is important to do this as soon as you can and as close as you can to the time that you are completing, or have completed your activity. Record the activities you have completed within the hours on the sheet. You may also find it useful to note if they are enjoyable, or for some of them you may feel that you have achieved something within your activity.

To give you an idea about this, from my experiences of working with clients who have had depression. In some cases and not all, getting up and dressed in the morning was not enjoyable, although it was an achievement, as particular thoughts (the product of depression) was influencing their behaviour to become unmotivated in tasks that are sometimes taken for granted.

Once you have completed your activity sheet and it is sometimes useful to complete these over at least two weeks you will be able to build a clearer picture of what you are doing each day and week. Also if there are periods of no activity you may find that these were the times when negative thinking had become stronger.

What's next?

Well, you may have also noticed areas where there are gaps and it could be useful to begin thinking about planning an activity that will begin to bring some enjoyment to you. Or you may see which ones provide you a sense of greater achievement and enjoyment. What do you notice about the balance between what is enjoyable or not? Are there particular days that create a problem, and are you able to be planning activities on these days in a different way?

The aim of the activity tracker is to build a clearer view of your activities and their function in your day, the effect on your mood and quality of thinking. Sometimes when overwhelmed with negative thinking and low moods that are lasting, there is a decrease in activity. Knowing where you are able to increase your activity and bring more enjoyment into your life is likely to increase your mood into a healthier state.

Please download the daily activities sheet here (word document)

If you would like a free initial telephone or email consultation regarding ideas on what to do next or how to begin reviewing your results, please refer to my contact page.