Thursday, November 26, 2009

Positive Psychology and below the line mood

Depression and Mania come and go and we are left in the intervening times with so called normal mood. But what is normal mood. Are you as happy as you can be? Let’s do a scale of mood from Depression to Mania.

1    Severe Depression
2    Moderate Depression
3    Mild Depression
4    Not Depressed but Grumpy
5    So called Normal
6    Hypomania
7    Mania

Lets assume that number 5 above is the best possible way to be where all the happy people reside. The utopia that people with mood disorders spend most of their lives aspiring to. The reality is that I have spent most of my life at number 4. I have recovered from depression but then felt that I my mood slips back that little bit. So I would deduct that we can control or influence these smaller changes in mood. And what a difference this would make to our lives if we could shift our baseline of happiness up a little.
The problem is there little treatment out there for this malady. Once your Depression has lifted and you’re not in the manic area the Doctors don’t see it as a problem. The see their job as treating illness and being a bit grumpy is not seen as an illness. But in reality being grumpy everyday and being content everyday are two different worlds in terms of enjoying life. Enter Positive Psychology which is concerned with increasing happiness as opposed to reducing Depression. Where do we get such treatment and are there positive psychologists out there waiting for patients to treat. In my experience I don’t think there are many as it’s still a relatively new area. Here are a few tips that you can use yourself to treat this below the line mood.

  • Remove the little negative thoughts and feelings when they start at the earliest possible stage. See Prevention of Depression using Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for help on this. Prevention of Depression and increasing happiness go hand in hand. It sounds obvious but it’s worth mentioning, If you are happier you are less likely to slip into Depression 
  •  Find out what your signature strengths are. These are the things that you are passionate about doing and feel most content doing. Your strength could be something like Love of learning. If it is you would need to find something to learn. You will find that when you exercise your signature strengths you will feel happy and content and positive about the future.
  •  Work on your relationships – Whether it is your spouse, friends or work colleagues. This means learning from and about the other party in the relationship and changing the old patterns which have kept the relationships from prospering in the past.
  • Work on your Self-Esteem – Very often our level of happiness is dragged down by a poor level of self esteem. Low self esteem is very common in the general population and is a big contributing factor with Depression also.  Challenge the core negative beliefs which are at the root of your low self esteem.
  • Attain and maintain a state of flow – Have you ever done something where you lose track of time, where you are totally immersed in what you are doing. This is known as flow and is one of the happy states. Get lost in your work or your pleasurable activity if you can.
  • Gratefulness – Personally I sometimes feel great because I am not depressed. It feels like everything is a bonus in life since I have come out of the Depression. If you can feel lucky to be alive and not depressed, this will contribute to your happiness


  1. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!


  2. That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

  3. That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.