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As you will see, the self-monitoring measures that I am about to recommend take time: four weeks time, to be exact. I encourage you to take all of that time and complete all of the steps. Follow through to the end!
The following self-monitoring strategy will enable you to uncover reasons for your long-standing blue mood. Unlike the predisposing factors you learned about in the last chapter, these reasons direct you to the solutions you have been hoping to find. What is more, the process itself provides certain benefits. First, it gives you an opportunity to take the healthy, objective, mindful part of yourself and bring it to bear on your dysthymic, depressed side. You have been doing the exact opposite for quite some time now, so the change in focus will be refreshing, even uplifting. Second, by concentrating on specific parts of your condition instead of looking at it as a huge, unmanageable whole, you will feel less powerless. Although making the blues go away in one fell swoop is still beyond your capabilities, correcting small pieces of the problem is something you can do, and you will see a ray of hope. Finally, you will be developing a new positive habit of paying attention to what is happening within and around you, and with it, the potential to recognize and do something about upsetting circumstances before they send you plummeting into the pits of depression.
that in mind, get out your notebook and make copies of the Weekly Self-Monitoring
Chart (Appendix A).
If you give yourself the same rating five times a day every day, you are probably operating on the assumption that you feel about the same all of the time, youre not really paying attention. That wont help you.
Two: Continue your ratings and in the space provided list the emotions you
are experiencing or experienced between ratings. Be specific. You already know
you feel blah or blue. What else are you feelinganger, frustration,
resentment, sadness, confusion, jealousy, hopelessness, fear, anxiety annoyance,
self-doubt, disappointment? Remember that you can have several feelings at the
same time and that pleasant feelings count. List them too.
What happened? Describe the event objectively, as if it were a movie you were
watching. Provide details in sequence (what happened first, next, and so on).
3. What were you feeling?
4. What was your role in the situation? In response to what was happening, what did you do, say, or signal non-verbally? What didnt you do or say that you could have? For example, when Greg turned the spotlight on himself, Danielle got quiet and responded unenthusiastically (hoping that he would notice she was upset and give her some of the spotlight.). When she learned that Greg had made plans without consulting, her she swallowed her anger and did nothing. And when Greg finally expressed interest in what had happened to her that day, she played down her news, presenting it as if it was as unimportant as she already assumed Greg would view it.
5. How did the situation turn out for you? What was its actual outcome? And how did that compare to...?
What did you want to happen (the desired outcome)?
Based on those patterns, identify some areas where changes or adjustments might help you to feel better. You dont need irrefutable proof. A hunch is fine. And rather than phrasing things negatively (that is, I have to stop jumping to stupid conclusions, or Id better stop acting like such a doormat), try putting your goals in the following framework: If I could ____ [weigh the evidence before I draw conclusions or be more assertive] ____, I might feel better. Then prioritize your goals, giving number one priority to the self-help measure you would be most willing to try, number two priority to the one you are next-most willing to try, and so on until all of your goals have a numerical ranking.
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