A common problem for anyone suffering from depression is ‘doing nothing’. Unfortunately this type of thinking is never going to get you better.
Thoughts Ask yourself “When I think of those tasks that I haven’t done, what thoughts come immediately to mind?” Maybe it’s thoughts like “I’m not in the mood. I’m going to fail anyway. I don’t have the energy. I’m useless. I don’t feel like doing anything so I don’t have to. I’ll just stay in bed, sleep and forget, it’s easier”. Do any of these sound familiar?
Emotions Our thoughts direct our emotions. How do these thoughts make you feel? Probably bored, tired, discouraged, overwhelmed and useless.
Behavior And then with these sorts of thoughts and emotions, it’s not surprising that ‘doing-nothing’ behavior, or procrastination, is the result! ‘Doing nothing’ convinces you that you are inadequate. And you sink further into the pit of doing nothing!
How to change the cycle
Change your behavior and prove your thoughts to be wrong! Ask yourself some pertinent questions.
- Fear of failure? ‘It’s safer doing nothing than risk failing’! This is a common underlying fear of a perfectionist. Learn to enjoy the process and don’t stay fixed on outcomes.
- Fear of Criticism? Doing something runs the risk of being criticized. True, but so what? Enjoy the process and stop placing other peoples criticisms in such high regard.
Just do something, however small, as any meaningful activity will give you a decent chance of improving your mood. Do it, despite not feeling like doing it. Don’t always trust your feelings. When you’re depressed you might feel like staying in bed the whole day, but it really is the worst thing for you to do!
If you want to learn more about the effects of thoughts on your behavior click here.
I highly recommend the book By David Burns called Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy, illustrated in the right sidebar. It is the book that helped me enormously in my journey of overcoming depression. Click on the book image and it will take you to the Amazon site, where all of David Burns’ books are available. I have several of his books and can really recommend them all.