A principle of cognitive psychology is like Shantideva's "in all the three worlds, there is nothing to fear but the mind"

Another is not to lust for results. That is, work hard, but don't expect that hard work "should" give you results, as this sets you up for disappointment and frustration. In other words, control what you can control (i.e. your own thoughts and actions) and don't worry about what you cannot control (other people, the results you get, external conditions)

Every patient thinks theirs is the special, one-in-a-million, unique problem that won't be solved, is incurable.

Cognitive distortions

  1. All-or-nothing thinking. Leads to perfectionism and fear of failure.
  2. Overgeneralization. Leads to fear of rejection.
  3. Selective attention to the bad
  4. Disqualifying good things. Such as people who care for you, successes. They don't count for some reason
  5. Jumping to conclusions
  6. Mind reading
  7. Future-telling. Foreknowledge that things will turn out badly
  8. Catastrophizing bad things / playing down good things
  9. Taking emotions as evidence. "Because I feel guilt, I must be guilty".
  10. MUSTurbation. This is a kind of lost performative because who is judging it? Don't expect reality to conform to your whims. Why should it? Also leads to procrastination because tasks are assessed as being a drag.
  11. Labelling. (This is attaching nominalizations)
  12. Center-of-the-universe illusion. Taking bad events personally.

In a depressed mood, you will assess your depressing thoughts as being accurate

Depression and self-dislike go together

Bust self-critical thoughts, identify which of the 10 distortions is at work, and challenge it.

More elaborately: specify situation, rate emotions 1-100, bust self-critical thoughts, identify cognitive distortion, challenge it, rate emotions again.

It is "crucial" to write these reframes rather than just thinking them. 15 minutes a day for a month or two

Using a counting device, count the number of negative thoughts you notice during a day. Three weeks is enough time for vigilance to develop to control them. Use this alongside the written counterarguments.

So much for cognition, on to behavior.

Depression leads to apathy, which leads to lack of achievement, which leads to self-hate and more depression

If you do things that disprove the bad thoughts, you scramble the depression cycle

People lose hope and feel that the way they feel now is the way it always must be

People feel they have no power to change their bad state

People magnify a task to make it seem more complex or bigger than it is until it scares them away

People disqualify the satisfaction of doing a task

People create identities of themselves as ineffective

People create perfectionistic standards that put them off doing things

People fear failure, and the blow to their self-esteem that comes with failure

People get too attached to outcomes, and so they don't value trying their best if it doesn't work

People fear the pressure of raised standards that come with success

People fear that they'll be judged for the inevitable mistakes that come with effort

People try to force themselves into action, and this creates unpleasant strain

People compare reality to an ideal in their head and get frustrated when obstacles arise

To overcome these tendencies, make a list of tasks to do through the day

Be sure to balance fun and productivity. If you're blue, add more fun stuff

Predict how satisying (1-100) and how hard (1-100) you expect something to be. Then do it, rate these retrospectively and see if you were right.

Ask yourself, "When I think about that undone task, what thoughts come to mind?" Dispell the answers. Sometimes they won't go away first time and there will be a bit of a spell-counterspell battle for a while.

Celebrate small victories. This creates joyful effort and dispels discouragement-about-self

Just as you challege verbal thoughts with rebuttals, challenge visual thoughts with the swish.

To motivate yourself

List all the advantages of achieving this

Lying in bed, mentally travel to your happy place

Imagine being in your happy place having this accomplishment under your belt

Undo limiting beliefs by testing them. Think you can't dance? Try it for 30 minutes for 30 days!

Do the stoic thing of exploring the worst consequences of a scary task. Write them down and dispel them.

When someone gives you vague, general insults, use questions to steer them towards more specfic, therefore more constructive, criticism. This also makes the critic feel listened to, which often is what they want most. Alternatively, agree with criticism, but interpret it as constructive criticism about behavior, not about ego-judging. Once the critic cools off, you can have a constructive, reational conversation about their grievances.

With angry, critical people, calmly agree that there is a grain of truth in their criticisms. Emphasize common ground.

Dealing with MUSTurbation   Four philosophies leading to self-esteem
  1. There is no such thing as "worth". It is a nominalization.
  2. All life is sacred. (In other words, Buddha-nature is the only valid basis for self-esteem.
  3. Worthiness or worthlessness are illusions created by the mind
  4. Cultivate self-love

Chasing ideals is a sure path to misery because nothing is ideal in samsara.

To stop perfexionism:
  1. Develop aspiration to do so by listing advantages and disadvantages of perfexionism
  2. Take the advantages from that list and dispell their irrationality
  3. Set a goal that is lower than your normal goal, maybe 60% of it
  4. Rate how perfectly you did an activity and how enjoyable it was.
  5. Notice how everything in samsara can be improved. Look around - everything
  6. When you get fearful coz you're being imperfect, continue being imperfect and groove on the fear
  7. Focus on the process, the doing, not on the result. As long as you do you're best, you win. That's the rule of the game you set up.
  8. Setting deadlines and time-slots makes overly perfexionistic behavior impossible
  9. Go on record publicly by writing an essay or blog arguing that it's wrong to be perfexionistic and better to learn from mistakes. Read the essay daily for a fortnight.
  10. Use a click-counter to count the number of things you get right in a day (to reorient your focus). Try it for a fortnight.
  11. Instead of hiding your shortcomings, frankly discuss them with some other people
  12. Think of memories of times that were happy, and notice how they were also imperfect
  13. You have a desire to be excellent. The best way to be excellent is to have realistic standards so you can play the game well. Perfexionism makes you more flawed, more of a failure. You can write ten good articles for the effort of one perfect one, so which will get you further?
  14. To err is human. You wanna be human, dontcha? It's therefore good to make mistakes from time to time, every day
  15. Write down some blunder and what you learned from it