It is pretty obvious that it is our emotions that cause us most pain and suffering when we are depressed. Emotions associated with joy and pleasure are reduced , while those associated with sadness, threats, anxiety, and anger are increased. So let’s take a closer look at how the brain is designed., because this will help us ‘look in’ on our minds. We will then be more able to move between different emotional systems, from those which are less helpful to those which are more helpful.

Basically, we have different types of emotion systems to our brain and these are designed by evolution to do different things. We sometimes call these emotion systems ‘Affect regulation System’ .

* Those that evolved to deal with threats, and are designed to help, protect and defend us(threat system)

*Those that evolved to excite and inspire us to go out and achieve things (incentive/resource/system) .


This could also be called the’ threat and protection system’. You and I , like all other animals , need system in our brains to alert us to dangers and stimulate our bodies to take defensive actions.

So if we were walking in the jungle and saw a lion we would need to immediately become anxious and run. Anger, too, is a built – in emotion that we need to cope with. If we are doing something important and then get thwarted , we need to put more energy into it, and this is called frustration and anger. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s something or someone in the way , thwarting our needs-how we learn to recognize this automatic system, and deal with it, can be important in depression.


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