AS@W Antidepressant Skills Workbook: Heling You Deal With Depression
Thinking Realistically

Negatively distorted thinking feeds into depression. We call it depressive thinking.

Depressive thinking is unrealistic and unfair:

  • unrealistic, negative thoughts about your situation;
  • unrealistic and unfair, negative thoughts about yourself;
  • unrealistic, negative thoughts about your future.

The aim is to challenge depressive thinking and replace it with realistic thinking.

Realistic thinking is:

  • accurate about your situation, seeing things clearly as they are;
  • fair about yourself, looking in a balanced way at the positive and negatives in your life;
  • accurate about your future, not exaggerating bad outcomes.

So what’s the goal in dealing with depressive thinking? Is it to think positive thoughts all day long? Do we want to kid ourselves that nothing bad will ever happen?

No. Overcoming depressive thinking doesn’t mean replacing it with positively distorted thinking (everyone loves me, nothing bad will ever happen, I will always get what I want). The point is that thinking in an unrealistic way, whether positive or negative, causes us to feel and react inappropriately. The aim is to evaluate our lives and ourselves in a realistic manner. The goal is fair and realistic thinking.

That means being fair and realistic about yourself (paying attention to good qualities and strengths as well as problems), about your current situation (weighing the positive and negative aspects of your life accurately) and about your future (not exaggerating the likelihood of very negative outcomes). So, how do you change depressive thinking?

Following are the steps . . .

Next: Step 1