Is it good to recommend to a depressed person to see things in a positive way?

Have you ever wondered why when you’re depressed it seems like others are seeing positive aspects of your life that you can’t see?

The truth is that today, thanks to various studies in psychoeducation, support networks and the development of empathy, we know that when someone is going through a difficult time, mention the positive aspects of life or encouraging him to put more momentum (or desire) into his daily life can not only be counterproductive, but can worsen the evolution of certain conditions such as depression (the person could begin to consider that – “I do not serve not to see the good things”).

So, although it’s intuitive, trying to help people with these kinds of sentences might not be very helpful in practice. But do they have real phrases like “tienes cosas buenas”? It would be difficult to say so, even if it is not entirely undeniable.

An optimistic outlook before the depression?

It happens that certain mental health conditions are given by the way our brain processes things. In other words, the perspective we give to events can determine the degree of emotional discomfort.

In fact, several studies have shown that our mind leads to hasty conclusions with insufficient informationespecially when we are depressed or anxious.

It is not a decision on the part of the individual (since the grouping of events and their consequences facilitate this perspective), and since it is not a decision, changing any perspective generates a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance in which people experience confusion in these ways of seeing situations differently.

The interpretation of reality

For many theorists such as Aaron Beck or Albert Ellis (renowned researchers and authors of some of the most widely used types of psychotherapy today), the way we naturally interpret certain things arouses anxiety reactions. An example is hypochondriasis, a condition in which people interpret changes in the body (example: a mole) as indicating cancer or a more serious condition.

Although to others it may seem over the top, it is experienced with deep anguish and it is very valid to feel this. This is where our perception and interpretation come in. Our experiences, our lifestyle, our overall health…shape the way we see things, it’s a learning system.

Thus, this small model explains many conditions. This is not a simple observation, of course, and we must not leave aside the many additional external factors linked which lead us to interpret things in a certain way, such as our family background, work, the illnesses that we live, violence, etc.

What role does psychotherapy play?

Therapy doesn’t just work with the way we see things; it comes with changes in lifestyle, our relationships with others, and the setting of boundaries for ourselves and others.

whole, we allow our brain to process information in a more friendly way with us and allows us to cultivate greater emotional well-being.


As we can see now, it is not only about recommending a positive perspective to others when we go through difficult times, it is about changing many sources of stress to learn to see the full panorama, and above all, in a more user-friendly way. path for us. Although for several authors, definitely, the way we see ourselves and the world can profoundly affect our mood.

Author: Dr. Octavio Gascón – Medical specialist in mental health and cognitive psychotherapy.

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