Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think

Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462520428
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 10/15/2015
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 341
Sales rank: 13,660
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Dennis Greenberger, PhD, a clinical psychologist, is the founder and Director of the Anxiety and Depression Center in Newport Beach, California. He is a past president and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and has practiced cognitive-behavioral therapy for more than 30 years. His website is www.anxietyanddepressioncenter.com.

Christine A. Padesky, PhD, a clinical psychologist, is the cofounder of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Huntington Beach, California, the coauthor of five books, and an internationally renowned presenter. She is a recipient of the Aaron T. Beck Award for significant and enduring contributions to the field of cognitive therapy from the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Award from the California Psychological Association. Her website is www.mindovermood.com.

Read an Excerpt

Mind Over Mood

Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think

By Dennis Greenberger, Christine A. Padesky

The Guilford Press

Copyright © 2016 Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4625-2042-8


How Mind Over Mood Can Help You

An oyster creates a pearl out of a grain of sand. The grain of sand irritates the oyster. In response, the oyster creates a smooth, protective coating that covers the sand and provides relief. This protective coating is a beautiful pearl. For an oyster, an irritant becomes the seed for something new and beautiful. Similarly, Mind Over Mood will help you develop something new: beneficial skills to lead you out of your current discomfort. The skills you learn by using this book will help you feel better and will continue to have value in your life long after your original problems are gone.

We hope that, like many people who have learned the methods taught in this book, you will look back at the initial discomfort that led you to Mind Over Mood as a "blessing in disguise," because it provided you the opportunity and motivation to develop pearls of wisdom and invaluable new perspectives that will help you enjoy the rest of your life more fully.


Mind Over Mood teaches you strategies, methods, and skills that have been shown to be helpful with mood problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, panic, jealousy, guilt, and shame. The skills taught in this book can also help you solve relationship problems, handle stress better, improve your self-esteem, become less fearful, and grow more confident. These strategies also can help you if you are struggling with alcohol or drug use. Mind Over Mood is designed to teach you skills in a step-by-step fashion, so you can rapidly make the changes that are important to you.

The ideas in this book come from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), one of today's most effective forms of psychotherapy. "Cognitive" refers to what we think and how we think. Cognitive-behavioral therapists emphasize understanding the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors connected to our moods, physical experiences, and events in our lives. A central idea in CBT is that our thoughts about an event or experience powerfully affects our emotional, behavioral, and physical responses to it.

For example, if we are standing in line at the grocery store and think, "This will take a while. I might as well just relax," we are likely to feel calm. Our bodies stay relaxed, and we may start a conversation with someone standing nearby or pick up a magazine. However, if we think, "They shouldn't have such a long line. They should hire more clerks," we may feel upset and irritated. Our bodies become tense and fidgety, and we may spend our time complaining to other customers and the clerk.

Mind Over Mood teaches you to identify and understand the connections among your thoughts, moods, behaviors, and physical reactions in everyday situations like this one, as well as during major events in your life. You will learn to think about yourself and situations in more helpful ways, and to change the thinking patterns and behaviors that keep you stuck in distressing moods and relationships. You will discover how to make changes in your life when your thoughts alert you to problems that need to be solved. In the end, these changes should help you feel happier, calmer, and more confident. In addition, the skills you learn using Mind Over Mood help you create and enjoy more positive relationships.


For any of us, it is much easier to keep trying something when we know we are making progress. For example, when we first learn to read, we often begin by learning the alphabet and recognizing individual letters. Initially, we need to put a lot of effort and practice into recognizing letters. As our skill develops, our recognition of letters becomes easier and more automatic. Over time, we stop paying attention to individual letters, because we have learned to put these letters together and learn simple words. As new readers, we may scan a page looking for words we know. Over time, we develop the skill to read simple sentences, and we know we are making progress when we can read more complicated sentences, paragraphs, and simple books. Soon we are not attending to individual words, but to the meaning of what we are reading. In school, children become better readers year by year, and their reading-level progress can be measured by tests.

Similarly, you will be able to notice and measure the progress you make in using Mind Over Mood. In the early weeks, you will learn individual skills. Over time, you will learn to combine these skills in ways that improve your moods and your life. One way to measure your progress is to measure your moods at regular intervals as you develop and practice Mind Over Mood skills. Chapter 4 helps you do this and shows you how to graph your scores so you can see your progress over time.


Mind Over Mood is different from other books you may have read. It is designed to help you develop new ways of thinking and behaving that will help you feel better. These Mind Over Mood skills require practice, patience, and perseverance. Therefore, it is important for you to complete the exercises in each chapter. Even some of the skills that look easy can be more complicated than they seem when you actually try to do them. Most people find that the more time they spend practicing each skill, the more benefit they get.

In the beginning, it is helpful to spend some time on these skills every day. You may find it helpful to set aside a regular time each day to read about or practice Mind Over Mood skills. If you move too quickly through the book without giving yourself adequate practice time, you will not learn how to apply the skills to your own problems. Thus speed of learning is not the important thing. It is more important to spend enough time with each chapter until you understand the ideas and can use them in your life in a way that is meaningful and helps you feel better. You may find it only takes an hour or so to do this with some chapters of the book. For other chapters, it will take weeks or even months of practice before the skills you learn become automatic and you begin to feel the full benefit.

Mind Over Mood can be customized so that you can read chapters in an order that is likely to be most helpful for you. For example, if you have chosen this book to work on particular moods, at the end of Chapter 4 there is a recommendation that you read the chapters about moods (13, 14, and/or 15) that pertain to you. You can skip any mood chapters that don't apply. After you read those chapters, you can follow the chapter sequence recommended for each particular mood or moods. Alternatively, you may choose to read the book straight through and do the exercises beginning with Chapter 2 and ending with Chapter 16.

If you are using Mind Over Mood as part of therapy, your therapist may recommend a different order for reading chapters. There are many ways to customize development of Mind Over Mood skills, and your therapist may have their own idea about which sequence will work best for you. If you are bringing this book to the attention of your therapist, you might suggest that he or she read the "A Brief Message for Clinicians and Interested Readers" on pages xv–xvii.

Can You Use Mind Over Mood Skills for Issues Other Than Moods?

Yes. The same Mind Over Mood skills that help manage moods can also help you with stress; alcohol and drug use; eating issues such as bingeing, purging, or overeating; relationship struggles; low self-esteem; and other issues. It also can be used to develop positive moods, such as happiness and a sense of meaning and purpose in your life.

What If You Want to Use Worksheets More Than Once?

Throughout the book, there are exercises designed to help you learn and apply the important skills introduced in that chapter. The worksheets that accompany these exercises are meant to be practiced over time. Additional copies of many of the exercise worksheets can be found in the Appendix at the end of the book (and all of them are available to download for your personal use at www.guilford.com/MOM2-materials ), so that you can copy and use them whenever you think they might help.

Mind Over Mood skills and strategies are based on decades of research. These are proven, practical, and powerful methods that, once learned, lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction. By investing time in reading this book and practicing what you learn, you are taking steps to transform your life in a positive way.


Understanding Your Problems

Ben: I hate getting old.

One afternoon a therapist received a telephone call from Sylvie, a 73-year-old woman who was concerned about her husband, Ben. She had read an article about depression, and it seemed to describe him. For the past six months, Ben had complained constantly about feeling tired; yet Sylvie heard him pacing around the living room at three in the morning, unable to sleep. In addition, she said he was not as warm as usual toward her, and he was often irritable and negative. He had stopped visiting his friends and didn't seem interested in doing anything. After his doctor checked him and said he didn't have a medical problem that would explain these symptoms, Ben complained to his wife, "I hate getting old. It feels lousy."

The therapist asked to talk with Ben on the phone, and Ben reluctantly came on the line. He told the therapist not to take it personally, but he didn't think much of "head doctors" and didn't want to see the therapist because he wasn't crazy, just old. "You wouldn't be happy either if you were 78 and ached all over!" He said he would go to one appointment just to satisfy Sylvie, but he was sure it wouldn't help.

How we understand our problems has an effect on how we cope. Ben thought that his sleep problems, tiredness, irritability, and lack of interest in doing things were normal parts of growing older. Growing old was something Ben couldn't change, so he didn't expect that anything could help him feel better.

At their first meeting, the therapist was immediately struck by the difference in Sylvie's and Ben's appearance. In a rose-colored skirt with a coordinating floral blouse, earrings, and shoes, Sylvie had dressed herself carefully for the meeting. She sat upright in her chair and greeted the therapist with an expectant smile and bright, eager eyes. In contrast, Ben sat slumped in his chair, and although he was neatly dressed, he had a slight stubble on the left side of his chin. His eyes were dull and surrounded by the dark circles of fatigue. He stood up stiffly and slowly to greet the therapist, saying grimly, "Well, you got me for an hour."

As the therapist gently questioned Ben over the next 30 minutes, his story slowly unfolded. With each question, Ben sighed deeply and then responded flatly. Ben had been a truck driver for 35 years, making local deliveries for the last 14 of those years. After his retirement, he met regularly with three retired friends to talk, eat a meal, or watch sports. Ben also liked fixing things, working on house projects, and repairing bicycles for his eight young grandchildren and their friends. He regularly saw his three children and the grandchildren, and he felt proud to have a good relationship with each of them.

Eighteen months earlier, Sylvie had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer had been detected early, and she had recovered well after surgery and radiation treatment, with no further signs of cancer. Ben became teary as he talked about her illness: "I thought I'd lose her, and I didn't know what I'd do." As he said this, Sylvie jumped in quickly, patting Ben on the arm: "But I'm OK, dear. Everything turned out OK." Ben swallowed hard and nodded his head.

While Sylvie was undergoing cancer treatment, one of Ben's best friends, Louie, became suddenly ill and died. Louie had been Ben's friend for 18 years, and Ben felt his loss deeply. He felt angry that Louie had not gone to the hospital sooner, because early treatment might have saved his life. Sylvie said that Ben focused all his attention on tracking her cancer treatment appointments after Louie's death. "I think Ben thought he would be responsible for my death if we missed an appointment," said Sylvie. Ben stopped seeing his friends and devoted himself to Sylvie's care.

"After Sylvie's treatment ended, I knew the relief was only temporary. The rest of my life will be filled with illness and death. I feel half dead already. A young person like yourself can't understand this." Ben sighed. "It's just as well. What use am I, anyway? The grandkids fix their own bikes now. My sons have their own friends, and Sylvie would probably be better off if I wasn't here. I don't know what's worse – to die, or to live and be left all alone because all your friends are dead."

After hearing Ben's story and reviewing his physician's report that there was no physical cause for the way Ben was feeling, it was clear to the therapist that Ben was depressed. He was experiencing physical symptoms (insomnia, appetite loss, fatigue), behavior changes (stopping his usual activities, avoiding friends), mood changes (sadness, irritability, guilt), and a thinking style (negative, self-critical, and pessimistic) consistent with depression. As is often the case with depression, Ben had experienced a number of losses and stresses in the preceding two years (Sylvie's cancer, Louie's death, and the sense that his children and grandchildren didn't need him any more).

Although Ben was skeptical that therapy could help, with Sylvie's encouragement he agreed to go to three more sessions before deciding whether to continue or not.


During their second meeting, his therapist helped Ben understand the changes he had experienced in the past two years. Using the five-part model in Figure 2.1 on the facing page, Ben noticed that a number of environmental changes or major life events (Sylvie's cancer, Louie's death) had led to behavior changes (the end of regular social time with friends, extra trips to the hospital for Sylvie's cancer treatment). In addition, he began to think differently about himself and his life ("Everyone I care about is dying," "My children and grandchildren no longer need me") and to feel worse both emotionally (irritable, sad) and physically (tired, more trouble sleeping).

Notice that the five areas of Figure 2.1 are interconnected. The connecting arrows show that each different part of our lives influences all the others. For example, changes in our behavior influence how we think and how we feel (both physically and emotionally). Our behavior can also change our environment and life events. Likewise, changes in our thinking affect our behavior, moods, and physical reactions, and can lead to changes in our environment. Understanding how these five parts of our lives interact can help us understand our problems.

Ben could see how each of these five parts of his experience influenced the other four, pulling him deeper into his sad mood. For example, as a result of thinking, "All my friends will die soon because we're getting old" (thought), Ben stopped calling them on the phone (behavior). As Ben became more isolated from his friends, he began to feel lonely and sad (mood), and his inactivity contributed to his sleep problems and tiredness (physical reactions). Since he no longer called his friends or did things with them, many of them stopped calling him (environment). Over time, these interacting forces dragged Ben into a downward spiral of depression.

At first, when Ben and his therapist recognized this pattern, Ben was discouraged: "It's hopeless, then – each of these things will just get worse and worse until I die!" His therapist suggested the possibility that since each of these five areas was connected to the other four, small improvements in any of the areas could contribute to positive change in the others. Ben agreed to experiment to figure out what small changes would make him feel better.


Excerpted from Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger, Christine A. Padesky. Copyright © 2016 Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky. Excerpted by permission of The Guilford Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Aaron T. Beck
1. How Mind Over Mood Can Help You
2. Understanding Your Problems
3. It's the Thought That Counts
4. Identifying and Rating Moods
5. Setting Personal Goals and Noticing Improvement
6. Situations, Moods, and Thoughts
7. Automatic Thoughts
8. Where's the Evidence?
9. Alternative or Balanced Thinking
10. New Thoughts, Action Plans, and Acceptance
11. Underlying Assumptions and Behavioral Experiments
12. New Core Beliefs, Gratitude, and Acts of Kindness
13. Understanding Your Depression
14. Understanding Your Anxiety
15. Understanding Your Anger, Guilt, and Shame
16. Maintaining Your Gains and Experiencing More Happiness

Appendix. Duplicate Copies of Selected Worksheets


Readers who want to take action to overcome psychological or emotional problems, whether on their own or working with a therapist; also of interest to mental health professionals and instructors and students of CBT.

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