Negative thoughts can affect us in ways we sometimes do not understand. They can affect the way we act toward family, friends, and co-workers — really, affect our entire day. In this second edition of Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky provide a workbook to help us through cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques that can in turn let us move past old ways of thinking.
Greenberger and Padesky offer case scenarios along with worksheets to help teach specific skills for people to work through anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, relationship problems, and other emotional issues. Their step-by-step process helps readers break down thoughts and emotions into smaller pieces to analyze and understand the how and why, as well as what action to take next.
For the CBT steps to work effectively, it is important to honestly fill out the worksheets and read through the case scenarios. And the scenarios are quite realistic and relatable. One that particularly stood out was the case of Ben, whose situation helped me think about feelings of depression that can come on after the death of someone close.
Because the scenarios and exercises help readers dig deep into emotions and heal from the past, the book is not something you can read in two days. Rather, it is something to work through. For me, the book triggered memories and emotions about different life events, and I was able to identify my core beliefs. I also found that connecting with one of the case scenarios helped me understand that I am not the only one who sees the world as hard and punishing.
Using the so-called forgiveness letter technique is a powerful way for readers to heal. Understanding that forgiving yourself for your actions and how you feel is a big step in healing and learning to shape your moods.
This was not like any other book that I have read on emotions or moods. The process of identifying, analyzing, and taking ownership of your emotions, thoughts, and, reactions was helpful. That said, the book was challenging to use alone, without a therapist — and some parts were drawn out, making it easy to lose interest.
To that end, I would recommend using the workbook with a therapist or group in order to work through the exercises together. But the skills in the book, once absorbed, can help readers each time depression or anxiety arise.
Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, 2nd Edition
The Guilford Press, October 2015
Paperback, 341 pages