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Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Hardcover – July 1, 1980
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It deals with the here and now, and teaches you how to understand your own negative contribution to your depression, and it gives you several tools with which you can assess where you are at, how you talk to yourself, how you interpret others, and how to regain control over that narrative.
Best book that I have ever read. It made a difference just reading, but much more so by using the knowledge and tools that Dr. Burns provides in the book. I bought copies for friends and family who have also had learned how to feel better and even feel good.
I would give it 6 stars if I could
This book shows that it's not what happens to us in life, it's what we think about it.
For example, say you lose your job. Many people would then catastrophize and think negative thoughts about how awful it was, how we're going to be homeless and go broke and then we get depressed. Instead of thinking like that, we should think realistically about how it's tough that we lost our jobs, but we'll eventually find another one and that we will overcome the current crisis.
I was a pessimist for years. Negative thinking becomes a habit and changes brain chemistry. By thinking more realistically and talking back to our negative thoughts, we can live much happier lives.
On top of meds and therapy, I've amassed quite a collection of self-help books, some better than others. I try to be proactive in dealing with my business; I feel that's super important in helping deal with mental and emotional problems. For anxiety, I've found that books on mindfulness meditation to be quite helpful. For depression, stuff that emphasizes CBT is effective.
That's why I like this book. It's written well, although some bits seem a bit dated (an example in the book of something that might irritate you is when you use your last dime at a payphone and the call drops and you don't get your money back. Little things like that pop up here and there in the book, but don't detract from the important things).
I use some of the exercises in this book with a therapist which is helpful. There are exercises where the author asks you to write out things instead of mentally reviewing things. I agree with that recommendation. It helps solidify concepts and organize your thoughts.
The book is written well, and in a conversational way. I found there were many times the author explained something that made me say 'Yeah, that's me! If I'm being honest, that's how I think and what it really means!'
Hopefully you'll like it. Do the exercises, be honest in the exercises, and if you see a therapist try working through this stuff with them. My therapist knew who this author was right away and was familiar with his work.
It's one of the few books like this that I own that I go back and review periodically.