Depression may be thought of as secondary emotion. There may be other feelings which contribute to and cause it.

One might feel alone, lonely, rejected, discouraged, loss, grief, unfulfilled, disconnected, uninspired, unproductive, unaccomplished, uncertain, misunderstood, and pessimistic. Together, all of these feelings drain our energy and lower our motivation.

Here are some questions which might help you identify contributors to depression or the blues.

  • Have I lost something? A belief? A dream, a relationship? A vision? Is there some disillusionment? Some unmet expectation? Unfulfilled desire?
  • Am I feeling productive? Am I accomplishing anything?
  • Do I feel focused? Do I have any goals I am working towards?
  • Am I feeling pessimistic about something? About several things? Am I feeling discouraged about something? Hopeless?
  • What beliefs are helping me feel pessimistic, discouraged, and hopeless?
  • Am I looking for something on the outside to happen before I will feel better? Am I feeling dependent on someone?
  • Do I feel resentful about something? About someone?
  • Am I feeling disconnected from my emotional support system? Do I have an emotional support system?

Then ask yourself:

  • What would help me feel more optimistic? More encouraged?
  • What beliefs can I change?
  • What can I find to appreciate? To be thankful for?
  • What would help me feel more connected to others, or less dependent on them?
  • What could I do to strengthen my emotional support system?
  • What small goal could I achieve right now that I am sure I can do?

Taking negative feelings one by one reduces becoming overwhelmed. You will have more potential to feel more organized and capable of managing negative feelings

~Adapted from Steve Hein

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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