Mental Health

If you struggle with low-grade depression, experience episodes of mild-to-moderate depression, are low on resilience, vulnerable to anxiety and stress or chronically unhappy, positive psychology offers a new approach with scientifically-grounded techniques to:

  • Lift your mood
  • Halt the downwards spiral into depression
  • Overcome mild-to-moderate depression
  • Speed the recovery from depression
  • Relieve residual symptoms of major depression
  • Prevent relapse into depression
  • Challenge pessimism – the fast track to depression
  • Develop optimistic thinking habits
  • Build resilience to depression
  • Bounce back from challenging times
  • Experience a more sustainable form of happiness
  • Move away from floundering and towards flourishing

How does it work? Positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness. The research has produced a wealth of knowledge and evidence-based interventions. These techniques are designed to help people increase their happiness BUT one of the delightful consequences is that they have also been found to be effective in depression. This was confirmed in the first major meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions  (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009) which shows that these tools also reduce depression.

This is a fresh approach to depression treatment. Psychotherapy is one of the major forms of treatment. Traditionally this involves exploring the source of emotional pain so that this might lead to a cathartic release. This has its own limitations as one client put it – “digging up sad stories from the past is not my idea of an effective treatment for depression.”  The goal is to help you towards an ABSENCE of depression. However this can leave you feeling empty and flat and is not the same as experiencing the PRESENCE of happiness, well-being, satisfaction and meaning in life. This is the goal of positive psychology, which works in the opposite way by focusing on building well-being rather than on reducing suffering. This method has been found to be effective and adds up to a paradigm shift in the way we approach depression.

Around 40% of your capacity for happiness is under your voluntary control. Positive psychology’s evidence-based techniques can help you overcome depression and build your well-being -. You can learn these scientifically-proven strategies in personal coaching sessions*, through the Happiness Training Plan audio programme and in the book – Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression (Watkins). I (Miriam) have personal experience of depression and after years of trying ways to overcome it, I finally found the solution in positive psychology, where the focus is on doing things that increase positivity rather than exploring the long dark night of the soul. Positive psychology enhances your capacity for positive emotions like joy, contentment and love. Possibly the greatest benefit is that once you’ve mastered the techniques, you can use them to maintain your mental health and stop the usual triggers that drag you down into a low.

“I approached Miriam Akhtar for some personal coaching having found that her CD on the topic went some way towards helping my anxiety and depression from which I had suffered occasionally over a number of years.   I had been given a variety of medication but found that my body could no longer tolerate the side effects.   I had also quite recently undergone an 8-session face to face CBT course which had given temporary relief only, since I was not given any self-help tools on which I could draw. Miriam’s training was different and more effective in that it gave me those tools to cope with down times and to accept that by focusing on things in my life that gave me happiness I would be better equipped to find a positive solution to those difficulties that had dogged me before. ”

* Please note you should consult your health practitioner about an approach to treatment which is appropriate for your needs. This is coaching rather than therapy, designed to help you master tools that you can use as self-help. Positive psychology is useful at every stage of depression but it is not a substitute. Severe cases may require clinical treatment. Please visit your GP – do not suffer in silence.