Depression

Habits for preventing and overcoming depression: It’s how you behave and what you think

In this article, I discuss habits to prevent and overcome depression which stem from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help you prevent and overcome depression. These habits are rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Using CBT as a framework, in the following sections I will discuss behavioural habits followed by cognitive habits...[more]

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The holiday season: A time for cheer, a time for psychological skills

In this article, I discuss how you can practice using psychological skills over the Christmas holidays. The Christmas holiday season is a great time to relax and enjoy good times with family and friends. It also offers many opportunities to practice psychological skills which sometimes get neglected during the rest of the year. In the following sections, I will discuss how you can practice several psychological skills this holiday season...[more]

Expressing gratitude: It’s the right thing to do…in more ways than one

In this article, I discuss how expressing gratitude regularly can be good for your mood. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we are reminded to be grateful for the blessings in our lives. While expressing gratitude has value in and of itself, there are additional benefits for the person doing the thanking. In the following sections, I will discuss these benefits and indicate how expressing gratitude regularly can bring these benefits throughout the year...[more]

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Genetic and cognitive risk factors for depression: What you’re born with and how you think

In this article, I discuss ways to protect yourself from depression when you are at risk because of genetics and negative thinking patterns. As is the case with many negative conditions, depression is not an equal opportunity issue. Through the luck of the draw, some people are more vulnerable to depression because they possess certain risk favors for the issue. In the following sections, I will discuss two such risk factors—genetics and negative thinking patterns. My focus will be on how to help protect yourself from depression if you have one or both of these risk factors...[more]

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How to get back on track when you fail to achieve a goal: A cognitive behavioural approach

In this article, I discuss ways to rebound from the adversity of falling short in achieving a goal using skills from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I encourage my clients to pursue challenging goals as a way to enhance their lives. Pursuing challenging goals fosters ongoing excitement, energy and passion in your life. It also exerts a consistent positive influence on your self-esteem as you regularly demonstrate your abilities and efforts in taking the steps toward conquering a challenge. If your hard work pays off in achieving your goal, the good feelings you experience can last for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, the downside of pursuing challenging goals is that there are times when you may not achieve them...[more]

Chronic depression: How you think about it is a key to addressing it

In this article, I discuss the often-misunderstood notion of chronic depression along with suggestions for how to think about it in a manner conducive to addressing it. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients in depression counselling who tell me they have been suffering from chronic depression. This typically means that the individual has regularly met the diagnostic criteria for depression as a disorder. That is, they have experienced symptoms such as depressed mood and lack of interest and pleasure in their life for an extended period of time. In helping clients address their chronic depression, as a psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) I take a two-pronged approach...[more]

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Strategies for easier and effective boundary-setting

In this article, I discuss ways to make boundary-setting easier and effective. In my last article, I discussed the importance of setting boundaries to achieve long-term positive effects on mood and self-esteem. In this article, I provide strategies on how to make it easier to deal with the ‘short-term pain’ which often accompanies setting boundaries. These strategies will also help to make your boundary-setting effective...[more]

Setting boundaries: Short-term pain, long-term gain

In this article, I discuss why it is beneficial to set boundaries even though it may sometimes be unpleasant to do so. Situations requiring us to set boundaries are those in which we need to send a message to others that they have not treated us properly. Examples include not being given good customer service, not being paid back the money you are owed by someone or any situation in which a friend, family member, relationship partner or anyone else has not treated you with respect. Setting boundaries involves letting the offending party know with your words and/or your actions that it is not acceptable for them to treat you in this manner...[more]

How to change your negative core beliefs

In this article, I discuss how to change thought patterns called negative core beliefs which often play a role in many psychological issues. In my last article, I discussed how to identify negative core beliefs--long-standing negative views people may have about themselves, other people in their lives or the world. These negative views usually originate from people’s difficult experiences and predispose them to think negatively about themselves, other people or the world in the present. They also play a major role in causing and maintaining various psychological issues including depression, the anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and eating disorders. In the following sections, I will discuss how to change negative core beliefs once they have been identified so that their negative influence on current thinking and mood can be reduced...[more]

How to identify your negative core beliefs

In this article, I discuss how to identify thought patterns called negative core beliefs which often play a role in many psychological issues. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, much of my focus in helping clients is on identifying and changing negative thought patterns which contribute to their emotional distress. This ‘cognitive restructuring’ work typically entails examining clients’ negative thoughts in response to particular situations and events in their everyday lives. However, on some occasions I help my clients address negative thinking patterns which are rooted in their pasts...[more]