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Recap: thoughts: fact or opinion?

Yesterday you learned to question unhelpful thinking by asking yourself 'is it fact or opinion?'. Today we will look at some of the unhelpful things that people with depression often do.

Stop Doing Unhelpful Things

Think about the unhelpful things you do that make the Vicious Cycle worse. Take a look at the unhelpful things that lots of people do:

Alcohol & Caffeine

Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.

Unhealthy Eating

Binge eating, comfort eating or just eating too much junk.

Sleep Problems

Struggling to get to sleep, waking up early or sleeping during the day.


Constantly worrying about things.

Avoiding People

Avoiding your friends & family or isolating yourself.

Putting Things off

Avoiding dealing with things like deadlines and household bills.

Seeking Reassurance

Being clingy and constantly asking for reassurance.

Social Media Problems

Comparing yourself to 'perfect' people on social media.

Calling in Sick to Work

Making up physical illnesses to get time off work.

Lashing Out

Snapping at people or being violent.

Retail Therapy

Buying things to make yourself feel better.

Self Harm

Hurting yourself to get temporary relief.
Get urgent help

Unhelpful things usually give short term relief but make things worse in the long run.

If you are doing something unhelpful, you need to make a Magic Plan to stop doing it.

Remember the 3 Rules of Magic Plans:


Pick a realistic goal - don't set yourself up to fail.


Work out each tiny step you need to take in order to achieve your goal.


Do one small step at a time. Only plan one day in advance.

A word of caution: stopping doing unhelpful things is really hard. Take things very slowly and expect things to go wrong.

Today's Summary

Remember these three things

  1. STOP DOING UNHELPFUL THINGS! - They might make us feel better for a second but in the long run they just keep the Vicious Cycle going.
  2. MAKE A MAGIC PLAN - You can use a Magic Plan to stop doing an unhelpful thing. Just remember to take it even slower than usual.
  3. YOU WILL HAVE SETBACKS - Trying to stop doing an unhelpful thing is very hard. Lots of the unhelpful behaviours (like binge eating, smoking & social media problems) are addictions and you will almost certainly fail a few times before you succeed. When things go wrong, just remind yourself of the 'Fixing Things' advice in Lesson 4.

Lesson Complete!
Here's your homework:

Make a Magic Plan to stop doing an unhelpful thing. Remember it's going to be hard, so take things really slow.