A little while ago I was approached by someone who wanted help in curbing their depressive thoughts.
Now I normally only work with people who are 100% committed to change, people who are really going to engage and act on the information we cover during our sessions.
So on this occasion I tried something a little different…
I explained that I was extremely busy and that I only worked with people who were 100% committed to getting better. He convinced me that he was indeed fully engaged with the process and given that he was desperate to come and see me I replied, “show me how committed you are!”
He asked me how, so I explained that I would be prepared to work with him but only on one condition!
I would send him a set of “to-dos” for each day of the next week and he would have to email me the completed tasks by midnight on the corresponding days.
Furthermore I explained that I wouldn’t check my emails from him until the end of the week and if any of the tasks were missing or the times hadn’t been stuck to then I simply wouldn’t work with him. (Tough love eh?)
So this was the task list I sent him:
Tuesday – Make a list of 10 things in your life that you are grateful for.
Wednesday – Make a list of 10 things that you are looking forward to (however big or small).
Thursday – Make of list of 10 things that you would like to do in the future (however big or small).
Friday – Make a list of 10 wonderful past memories, which make you feel good when you think about them.
Saturday – Make a list of 10 things that you have achieved (however big or small).
Sunday – Make a list of 10 things you have done to help others (however big or small)
Monday – Make a list of 10 people who love, admire, or are friendly with you.
Now, as predicted he stuck rigidly to the task and sent me all of the lists I had asked for by midnight each day.
The interesting thing though is that when I worked with him the following week he told me that he had actually been much better than normal last week anyway and, maybe he didn’t need as much help from me as he originally thought.
You see the task was simply a way to force him to begin to use his neurology in a more productive way. When you start looking for positives, for gratitude, for love, for good feelings and memories you literally start to release more endorphins and boost serotonin levels and consequently you begin to feel better.
So… take a few minutes each day and complete your own depression busting “to-dos”
(Image courtesy of artur84 at FreedigitalPhotos.net)