Depression is defined as “a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest”.  There are some attitudes that keep you depressed.

According to World Health Organisation-Depression is estimated to affect 350 million people. Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. ”

Depression is on the rise. It affects school going children, teenagers, working adults and old people.

Many societal factors are contributing to this but most people are able to cope with the change.

Some cannot.

That is where bad attitudes play the part. Some of us adopt fearful techniques to manage the challenges of life.

That plays very major role in deciding if the person gets depressed.

WHO also reports that Prevention programs have shown to reduce depression.

What it means is that depression can be prevented and cured by adopting positive thought process.

The knowledge that the person can come out of the depression if he changes the fear based thinking… Click To Tweet

The talk about genetics, social pressure or chemical imbalance in the brain as causes of depression make depressed person feel helpless and hopeless because they are out of his control. We need to talk more about attitudes responsible for depression because they are within our control.

Prevention is better than cure and the knowledge that chronic negative pattern of thinking as a way to cope up with the life challenges result in depression can empower the person because it means changing it will result in a better mental health.

Depression is not caused by chemical imbalance either.

Every emotion has chemical release in the body. If we laugh, endorphin is released. Similarly, if we are depressed, cortisol is released.

Depressed people feel helpless, hopeless and anxious. These emotions cause chemical imbalance.

It is not the other way round.

This is the reason why even after taking medications, depression doesn’t go away until counselling is done and attitude change takes place.

Bad Attitude # 1 : Perfectionism

Today the society is materialistic and highly competitive. Person’s Self-Worth is measured by the success and money. While running in this rat race, some hard-working people become perfectionists.

Perfectionists are admired and appreciated but perfectionism is a serious disease. The person may suffer from mood disorders like Bipolar disorder or Depression.

Wikipedia defines, “Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal.”

When the perfectionist achieves his goal, he raises the bar. This leads to stress. He cannot achieve the standard he has set for himself. This leads to lower self-esteem and ultimately to depression.

Learn to leave the task once you have done it satisfactorily.

Bad Attitude # 2 Worry 

When you worry, you are telling your body and mind that there is a “danger”

To cope up with danger, your body prepares to respond by “fight or flight”.

Brain releases stress hormones. Heart rate increases, breathing becomes shorter and heavier.

We cannot solve all the problems of modern times with fight or flight. This means the stress hormones are still circulating in the blood stream, which has toxic effects.

The unresolved conflicts affect your brain and sleep cycle.

You end up sleeping for more hours because you need more REM (dream) sleep than usual to de-arouse the increased unresolved emotional arousal which results from your excessive worrying and introspection.

If you are tired in the mornings and need longer hours of sleep, you are depressed. Depressed people are in high arousal state due to fear based coping strategy.

Be strict with your sleep routine.

Incessant worrying can have a negative effect on your health. It causes stress and makes you lethargic. It takes away motivation and leads to depression.

Bad Attitude # 3 :Rumination – Dwelling into past and Getting Stuck At Negative event

All of us introspect from time to time but getting stuck at some negative events and thinking over and over again leads to depression.

Heart breaks, rejection, mistakes by parents while bringing up, are some examples from which people cannot move on.

People who ruminate do not know that they have a choice of stopping the thought. “These thoughts just come into my head and I can’t get rid of them.” 

If you are thinking about the same incident because you want to “remember” the incident; e.g. you are upset with your friend and you want to remember so that you let her know how her behavior has hurt you, rather than thinking about the incident over and over, write on the piece of paper.

This will help you forget the negative incident. You will feel secured that if need be, you have in writing what had gone wrong and you do not need to remember it and so “repeat” it in your mind.

If you are ruminating “to find solution” of the problem, see if you are finding solution or just going round and round because solution is not possible.

This should help you in deciding if “thinking over it” is helpful or not.

Bad Attitude # 4 : Complaining

People who ruminate keep complaining. They talk about their sadness and “victim” mentality.

They do not take action. They think they have no choice.

One of my aunts always complains. It could be about her parents, in-laws or health. The negative energy around her saps our energy level.

I wonder how it affects her energy level.

In Psychology, there is a cognition distortion named “Mental Filter”. It means you pick one negative thing and filter out all the other positive things.

For example your mother was the kind who compared you with others and put yourself down.

This affected your self-esteem and hurt you but to filter out all the other things she did for you and concentrating only on one negative and making generalization that my childhood was ruined is too much making out of one negative characteristic.

Sometimes it is okay to take things off your chest but it should not become a habit.

(Following are some cognitive Distortions mentioned in cognitive Behavioral Therapy.)

Bad Attitude # 5: Demandingness

Like perfectionists, people who have lot of “musts” and “should” are stressed out.

Society also makes unreasonable demands on women.

Some examples of demandingness are – I must make everybody happy. I should be loved by all. I should get promotion this year. I should do everything for my children.

Learn relax.

Bad Attitude # 6 : Catastrophic

Some people make mountain out of molehill.

I have high cholesterol level. I will have heart attack.

I have not done any sales this month. I may lose my job.

This type of thinking leads to worrying.

Bad Attitude # 7: All or Nothing

No human being or incident is either completely good or bad. There are always shades of grey but when you think in terms of black and white, you cannot see shades of grey.

This kind of thinking also leads to –

Self–Downing: I am not a good cook. I am worthless

Other-Downing: My husband is not making enough money. He is useless.

or over generalization– “If I lose my job, I am finished.”

Can you see how it leads to depression?

Bad Attitude # 8: Sense of Entitlement

An entitlement mentality is a state of mind in which an individual comes to believe privileges are his rights. Life is supposed to give them what they want.

These people have high expectations from the people around them and throw tantrums if the expectations are not met. They are manipulative and make others feel guilty.

They do not take charge of their life and think people around them–the parents, life partner, siblings, boss–are supposed to fulfill their needs.

Some children think parents are responsible for the welfare of the children even after children are adult.

 Helplessness and hopelessness are common feelings among them because they do not know how to improve the situation and do not take charge of their life.

Bad Attitude # 9 : Attitude of Self–Centeredness create Depression

The Buddhist perspective attributes depression to an underlying selfishness/egotism.

Self-absorption has an immediate effect of narrowing one’s focus and blurring one’s vision.

These people are self-centered. They lack empathy for other’s feelings. They prove to be difficult people as parents or life-partner.

Help others. Your mood lifts Life events up by taking care of your loved ones.

 10 : Traumatic Life event

The study – the biggest of its kind in the UK–found that traumatic life events were the single biggest determinant of anxiety and depression

According to Professor Peter Kinderman traumatic life events are the main reason people suffer from anxiety and depression. However, the way a person thinks about, and deals with, stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel.

What it means is that the person who has learnt to live with positive emotions is better prepared to deal with an emergency that a challenging situation throws.

Read this article – happy today?You will do better in difficult times