• Learn the consequences of how you attribute failures in your life. Stable attributions, (blaming permanent and unchangeable factors for one's problems) can lead to hopelessness. After all, if the circumstances leading to the disappointments are set in stone, how can you hope to make any headway against them? Internal attributions of failures are unhealthy as well, as they can chip away at self-esteem, especially if one blames oneself for many of life's problems. Therefore the healthiest way to look at upsetting circumstances is to look for unstable, external factors. Just be sure to take responsibility when it is called for.
• Look for alternative explanations for why things went wrong. Instead of telling yourself it was your fault, that people just don't like you, or finding some other negative explanation, try to look for other reasons. Sometimes, our life circumstances get in the way of our goals - it happens to everyone. And sometimes, people are just having a bad day and do not behave as enthusiastically as they normally do. Learn not to take things personally and you will be released from some very common thought patterns associated with depression.
• Get your mind off your problems. If you over-think problems in your life, they begin to crowd out all of the good things that are going on. Give issues the thought they deserve, but allow yourself time to have fun, read a book you've been meaning to read, or pursue an active activity. It may take conscious effort not to think about a problem (pinch yourself when it comes up, or immediately think about something else more enjoyable) but the effort will help remind you of the good things going on in your life.
• Think about seeking cognitive therapy. Even if a person with a depressive mindset doesn't meet the DSM - IV criteria for depression, he or she can likely benefit from cognitive therapy to help battle against depressive thoughts. Therapists using this technique teach their clients how to identify their particular depressive thoughts, and then provide methods to fight against them. It really is possible to change the way we think for the better.
• Be on the lookout for warning signs of black and white, absolutist thinking. Look out for thoughts in your head like "I always perform poorly on important projects at work", or "I will never get over this break-up", or "Now that the first night of my vacation went poorly, the whole trip is ruined". Such thoughts can lead to generalizing one negative experience to other situations or the same situation in the future. Like a house of cards, for depressive thinkers using this style, their whole world can crumble when one thing goes wrong.
Tips on dealing with Anxiety
• Remember: Worrying does not change anything. Only constructive action can bring about results - although realize that there are some things we just can't control. Remember the old mantra, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". Whether you believe in an almighty maker or not, this little prayer carries a powerful message and a worthy goal.
• Be in tune with yourself. Know when you are beginning to feel anxious and have strategies ready to avoid a full-blown attack of anxiety.
• Get it out. Talk to friends, family or someone you know who is a good listener. If you aren't close enough to anyone, consider joining a support group or even a hobby club to meet like-minded people.
• Create comfort zones. To keep stress from building up, set scheduled times for you to unwind (before bed is a good time, so your mind is at rest and you can get a good night's sleep). The comforting activity should be something you enjoy - something you know will make you feel good. The comfort zone is a place where you can escape and unwind - it could be a corner of your living room or a spot in the park. Talk to a professional. Don't