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A small confession.

Today I want to talk about another avenue I’ve explored to help me take charge of my happiness. Over the past few months I’ve benefited greatly from spending time with a psychologist who focuses on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In a nutshell, CBT is a way of talking about how you view yourself, others, and the world, and focuses on the idea that how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings. For someone like me who usually holds a lopsided view of reality, these sessions are invaluable. I’ve been able to pinpoint some of my unhelpful thinking habits and led to more helpful ones. I am learning the importance of “behavioural antidepressants”. That is, the behaviours I can engage in that actually lift my mood, such as tackling a cluttered closet (of course this is not a universal “behavioural antidepressant”). The perfectionism in me often causes me to avoid and procrastinate – I’m unsure of the best possible mode of action and I’m scared of failing. My avoidance has depressing consequences because closets only get dirtier and I am left feeling even more overwhelmed and powerless. When I reduce my avoidance of things I feel more in control and get a huge confidence boost. Another “behavioural antidepressant” for me would be engaging in play dates with other moms. Making the effort to make plans, get out the door, and engage in meaningful relationships, puts me in control of my mood. Even if my son whines the entire drive, at least I’ll be sipping tea with another exhausted mom who’s just as annoyed with the toddler tantrums during lunchtime. 

 

What are some of your own behavioural antidepressants? 

 

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2 thoughts on “A small confession.

  1. Andrea, after reading your last posts it’s scary how much we have in common! I’m definitely a perfectionist and an over-thinker. In my first couple years of University such perfectionistic tendencies were paralyzing…just like your closet analogy! Eventually, I learned to get started on things ASAP so that assignments couldn’t “haunt” and have power over me. I almost played a little game with myself to see how much I could get done ahead of time….I’d have several assignments done several weeks in advance. The more I got checked off my list the more motivated I was to keep going and see how many more assignments I could obliterate! I think for me it all has to do with control. Today, as a stay-at-home mom I find that “being in control of things” feeling still has a lot to do with wether it’s a good day or not. One of my biggest “behavioural antidepressants” is showering and getting ready for the day right when I get up….even if I’m not going anywhere that day. I feel more productive and better about myself and it sets a brighter tone for the day. I kinda treat my home like a job, and like to sit down around 10 o’clock with a coffee in my hand and look back on my accomplishments and tally up my “checks”. Showered and ready…check! Beds made…check! Girls dressed, fed and hair done….check, check check! Laundry in….check! Dishwasher emptied…check! Kitchen spotless….check!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing that, Kery-Ann! That’s awesome that you were able to realize on your own what helps you overcome avoidance. I totally agree with you that “being in control of things” has a lot to do with our feelings of contentment and happiness. I’ve come to realize that I often try to control things that are actually outside of my control, such as how well my son naps or how other people treat me. Trying to control the uncontrollable only makes me more stressed. I’m really trying to separate those things from what I can control, such as my thinking habits and how I place the dishes in the dishwasher 😉

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