If you struggle with a constant low level of depression, suffer episodes of mild-to-moderate depression or find yourself dealing with stress, burnout or chronic unhappiness, then positive psychology offers a new approach with scientifically-tested techniques to:
- Lift your mood in the short-term
- Tackle negative thinking habits
- Halt the downwards spiral into depression
- Build positivity & resilience over the long-term
- Overcome mild-to-moderate depression
- Speed the recovery from depression
- Stop relapse into depression
- Relieve residual symptoms of major depression
- Defeat pessimism, the fast track to depression
- Develop optimism & other more positive thinking habits
- Build your resilience to bounce back from tough time
- Gain a more grounded, sustainable form of happiness
- Take you from floundering to flourishing
How does it work? Positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness. The research in the field has generated a vast body of knowledge and evidence-based tools. These techniques were developed to help people raise the bar on their happiness BUT one of the delightful consequences of these practical tools is that they have also been found to be effective in depression. This was confirmed in the first meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions (Sin Lyubomirsky abstract, 2009) which demonstrates that they work as well on the symptoms of depression as they do for your happiness and satisfaction with life.
This is a different approach to treating depression. Conventional psychotherapy involves exploring the source of emotional pain in the hope that this will lead to a cathartic release. This can have limitations as one client put it – “digging up sad stories from the past is not my idea of an effective treatment for depression.” The goal is to get you to an ABSENCE of depression. However this can leave you feeling empty and flat and is not the same as experiencing the PRESENCE of happiness, positive emotions, well-being, satisfaction and meaning in life. This is the goal of positive psychology coaching, which works in the opposite way by focusing on building well-being rather than on reducing suffering. It’s indirect but it’s effective and a more positive experience. This adds up to a paradigm shift in the way we approach depression.
Forty percent of your capacity for happiness is under your direct voluntary control and positive psychology’s evidence-based techniques can help you increase your well-being. You can learn these scientifically-proven strategies in personal coaching sessions*, through the Happiness Training Plan audio programme and in a new book – Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression (Watkins). I (Miriam) have personal experience of depression and after years of trying other methods to overcome it, I finally found the solution in positive psychology where the focus is on things that increase positivity rather than on investigating my long dark night of the soul. Positive psychology enhances your capacity for positive emotions like joy, contentment and love. Possibly the greatest benefit is that once you’ve mastered the techniques, you can use them whenever you need them as self-help to maintain your mental health and stop the usual triggers that drag you down into a low.
“I approached Miriam Akhtar for some personal coaching having found that her CD on the topic went some way towards helping my anxiety and depression from which I had suffered occasionally over a number of years. I had been given a variety of medication but found that my body could no longer tolerate the side effects. I had also quite recently undergone an 8-session face to face CBT course which had given temporary relief only, since I was not given any self-help tools on which I could draw. Miriam’s training was different and more effective in that it gave me those tools to cope with down times and to accept that by focusing on things in my life that gave me happiness I would be better equipped to find a positive solution to those difficulties that had dogged me before. ”
* Please note you should talk to your doctor about finding a treatment which is appropriate for your needs. More severe cases of depression may require clinical treatment. This is coaching rather than therapy, designed to help you master the tools that you can use as self-help for depression.