Is This Why You're Depressed? Stop Should-ing on Yourself

Here’s one way you make your depression worse: should-ing on yourself.
A should statement is a cognitive distortion. It’s based on an overly rigid rule inside your head that you aren’t able to live up to. Shoulds generate a lot of shame. This way of talking to ourselves is like having a little shoulder angel constantly finding fault and criticizing you. But shoulds just aren’t that helpful in actually creating change – they mostly just make us miserable and discouraged.
Is this what’s making you depressed?
Are shoulds making you feel like you’re never good enough?
Shoulding is a bad habit that sends a message to your brain that you’ll never be good enough. It creates hopelessness which leads to depression.
So, how do we stop shoulding on ourselves? How can we stop making ourselves more depressed?
In order to resolve these shouldy feelings, we’re going to use the emotion processing model: Notice, Pause, Explore, Clarify and Act.
So the two shoulds we’re going to look at for our example are “I should always be happy” and “I should spend more time with my kids.”

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Therapy in a Nutshell and the information provided by Emma McAdam are solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and are not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.
In therapy I use a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Systems Theory, positive psychology, and a bio-psycho-social approach to treating mental illness and other challenges we all face in life. The ideas from my videos are frequently adapted from multiple sources. Many of them come from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, especially the work of Steven Hayes, Jason Luoma, and Russ Harris. The sections on stress and the mind-body connection derive from the work of Stephen Porges (the Polyvagal theory), Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) Francine Shapiro (EMDR), and Bessel Van Der Kolk. I also rely heavily on the work of the Arbinger institute for my overall understanding of our ability to choose our life’s direction.
And deeper than all of that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ orients my personal worldview and sense of security, peace, hope, and love

If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or your local emergency services.
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