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, ensure 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. I’d venture to say that we moms experience much more depression than the general population. After all, the pressure has been turned on high with social media, right?
You see everyone’s pictures of their perfect kids, 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 heard 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 cognitive therapy (basically using your thoughts to shape your feelings) and the author of Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy. This book is 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 how you feel about it.
Here’s what you need to know…
Causes of Depression
According to Dr. Burns, several thought patterns 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 off 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 and stop the event, 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 you are at fault for all the bad things in your life.
- Tyranny of the shoulds – I 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. You feel like a total failure if you’re not a complete success.
- Perfectionism – This is what we discussed above – feeling like everything you do must be perfect to be acceptable.
Do you see yourself in any of those? I 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 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, a lack of acceptance of our humanness may be the main cause of depression, but our mistakes can be great 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 overcome depression is to find the positives or the beauty in your negative emotions. For example… If you’re always anxious 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 writing down 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; 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, and 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 tools 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 the depression and anxiety above.
If you need a little more motivation and happiness, check out these posts:
What to Do When Life Throws You a Curveball – How to Deal With Things that Don’t Turn Out Like You Expect
10 Ways to Get Motivated when You’re Tired, Frustrated and Ready to Give Up
The 28 Most Important Things My Kids Taught Me
The 10 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made as a Mom
And as always, I wish you a strong family, optimal health, and a smart income,