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Feeling anxious or blue? Check out these three simple tools for dealing with depression and anxiety I learned from the Mom Conference.
Mommin’ is hard…. You work hard to put dinner on the table, make sure your kids don’t look homeless, and run them around to soccer, dance, and piano.
Sometimes it feels like a vacation to go to the bathroom alone, or on a solo shopping trip to Target.
You really, really need a break but feel guilty taking one. You’re under pressure all the time – to be the best mom, the best wife, the best everything.
And, often that pressure can leave you feeling depressed and anxious. In fact, I’d venture to say that us moms experience a lot more depression than the general population. After all, these days the pressure has been turned on high with social media right?
You see everyone’s pictures of their perfect kids, perfect house, perfect career, perfect husband, perfect vacations… and the list goes on and on – and you wonder, where am I dropping the ball? What’s wrong with me.
You forget that what you’re not seeing about those people’s lives is the same things they don’t see about yours – the behind the scenes, nitty gritty, where the real mess happens.
That’s exactly why I wanted to write this post.
I was listening to the Mom Conference the other day (it’s a free conference designed by moms for moms that happens once a year) and I hear Dr. David Burns speaking about successful tools for dealing with depression and anxiety so I wanted to share what I learned with you because it was so powerful.
Dr. Burns is a pioneer in the field of cognitive therapy (basically using your thoughts to shape your feelings) and the author of Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy. This book is really amazing – not only has it sold 5 million copies – it lays out simple, easy to follow exercises you can do in your own home to beat those blues.
The basis of cognitive therapy is that you can’t change what happens to you in life, but you can change the way you feel about it.
Here’s what you need to know…
Causes of Depression
According to Dr. Burns, there are a number of thought patterns that could be responsible for your depression. A few of these include:
- Over-generalization – This is where you take a negative event and generalize it to your whole self. For example if your kiddo falls of the monkey bars and breaks their arm (true story – this happened to my oldest daughter) you think, “I’m a bad mom.” You feel like you should have been able to foresee the event and stop it and because you didn’t you’ve failed.
- Discounting the positives – This is where you dwell on the negative things that happen to you and ignore the good things that happen.
- Self-blame – Here you feel that you are at fault for all of the bad things that happen in your life.
- Tyranny of the shoulds – I really relate to this one. It’s where you get stuck in the, “I should have…” or “I shouldn’t have…”
- All or nothing thinking – This thought process is completely black and white. If you’re not a complete success, you feel like you’re a total failure.
- Perfectionism – This is what we talked about above – feeling like everything you do needs to be perfect to be acceptable.
Do you see yourself in any of those. I know I can see myself in numbers one, two, four and five!
So, now that you know what could be contributing to your depression or anxiety, let’s take a look at what Dr. Burns says you can do about it using cognitive therapy…
Acceptance and Finding the Beauty
There are two tools that Dr. Burn suggested using to beat depression fast.
#1 – Acceptance and Positive Re-framing
According to Dr. Burns, lack of acceptance for our humanness may just be the main cause of depression but our mistakes can be a great thing when we are willing to learn from them.
Think of it this way… You are going to be below average 50 percent of the time. If you performed poorly or failed at something this time, you got it out of the way and you can be better next time. Accept it and allow yourself to fail.
Like I always say, give yourself a little (or a lot of) grace!
#2 – Find the Beauty
The next tool to overcoming depression is to find the positives or the beauty in your negative emotions. For example… If you’re anxious all the time and worried that your child will be hurt, the positives would be that your vigilance keeps them safe, shows that you’re a loving mom, demonstrates your empathy and caring and more.
Find the beauty in the negativity and be thankful for the good things it brings to your life.
#3 – Write it Down
The final tool to overcoming depression is to write down all of your negative thoughts. Next, you look at them and ask, “Is that thought valid or true?”
For example, if part of your depression is because you think, “I’m a bad mom because I don’t spend enough time with my children.” Ask yourself is that thought valid? You probably spend lots of time with your kids and to top it off time is not the only measure of a good mom.
You go out of your way to equip them with everything they need clothes, food, a bed to sleep on. You give them love, you teach them kindness, confidence and self-respect. The truth is that you’re a great mom!
These are just a few of the tools that Dr. Burns teaches in his book, Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, but they are amazingly powerful.
Don’t let the pressure from being a momma leave you depressed and anxious. You don’t have to be perfect because you are perfect just the way you are…
And, for a little extra help, use Dr. Burn’s crazy simple tools for beating depression and anxiety above.
If you need a little more motivation and happiness, check out these posts:
And as always, I wish you a strong family, optimal health and smart incomes,