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Break the self-criticism habit. Sunday June 16, 2013

Have you noticed that we tend to criticise people in great detail but praise them only superficially? If we are criticising somebody — for example, for breaking a promise — we spell out exactly what they've done wrong, how much it offended us, and for good measure we mention all the other times they've let us down.

But what do we say to someone who keeps their promises? If we say anything at all, we might give them a word of thanks.

When we criticise ourselves, we do exactly the same, especially when we're feeling depressed. We knock ourselves in great detail but pay little attention to what we've done right. Interestingly, research tells us that when we're feeling depressed we tend not to remember the detail of events, but to think in sweeping statements, like "I've always been useless at relationships".

Try and train yourself to remember specific details so that good times and experiences are as easy to recall as the bad times. Put aside a little time during the day to make a list of actual achievements and positive aspects of yourself, such as "I'm being sensible with money", or "I helped my nephew with his homework" or "I cooked a nice meal."

Make sure your list also includes details of pleasurable activities. "The new Ricky Gervais comedy really made me laugh." You may well find that your life is richer than your negatively oriented memory lets on.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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DIANA Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 7:44am

If waiting to meet someone, and they are late, 10 minutes can feel like an hour. ( even if they have been considerate enough to give a quick text ) An angry 'greeting' WHEN THEY FINALLY ARRIVE can spoil what could have been a fun occasion. Did it myself three days ago...I think I could have sent a text ( AFTER the 'occasion' ) to that person, to explain my angst at the seemingly long wait...well what think you ?

Caroline Ashcroft Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 8:56am

I think it's a good idea Diana. I'm sure it will help.

Anonymous Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 10:07am

Watching some comedian one liners can really enhance your mood.
Try these links to two of the funiest
(you may need to copy and paste the URL's if they are not clickable)



June Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 11:31am

Thank you for today's blog Andrew, it was very timely for me, I have noticed that I am very negative before meals (blood sugar levels no doubt) and before breakfast one of my granddaughters sent me a picture of herself and her baby daughter with the question "How do we look?". My first reaction was that her neckline was too low but mindful of Andrew's words I messaged back the other truth, that they were lovely enough to stop traffic.

Lesson learnt, I can be positive before breakfast if I try hard. :-)

Anonymous Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 1:30pm

Just a word or two to say how much I enjoy the blog and the various posts - thank you very much.

caroline Ashcroft Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 3:31pm

Thanks for the feedback. It's great to know that you are enjoying them.

Anonymous Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 3:34pm

This made me smile. I'm exactly the same!

Happycakes Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 8:35pm

These are lovely coming every day. If you are ever tired and can't write one just post a rereun. We could use to read all these many times!

Annes S Sun, Jun 16th 2013 @ 9:31pm

During my recovery from a nasty bout of anxiety and depression, actually acknowledging what I had done right - and not wrong - made a huge difference to my mood and I still do it now whenever I feeling low.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Jun 17th 2013 @ 9:29am

Thanks Happycakes, it great to know you are enjoying the blogs.

Victoire Tue, Jun 18th 2013 @ 8:31am

Thanks for this thought Anne. It helps remind me to try and do the same. I tend to go into an All or Nothing mode when low and anxious and can only perceive my failures and seeming disasters. Yet each day, I must do lots of things right, even if small things. Today, for instance, just getting out of bed and into the shower. When every fibre of my being wants to get back into it and go to sleep.

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