Habits of Thought
Such as your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Marcus Aurelius Antonius
Psychological science has over fifty years of research documenting the truth that Marcus Aurelius voiced hundreds of years ago. By learning to identify and modify the habits of thought that give rise to depression, you can prevent it, or at least keep it at bay.
The habits of thought that make us vulnerable to depression include overly inclusive, global thinking, a style of thinking that does not take context and nuance into account enough, coupled with a tendency to internalize blame, plus a habit of personalizing rejection and capped off with consistent trouble identifying and tolerating ambiguity—the uncertainties of life.
When life is chugging along on a predictable course, coming up roses, it might not be such a terrible thing to have a global cognitive style that overlooks a lot of nuance and context, it might not be so bad to perceive the causes of things to be outside of oneself and yet to hold oneself responsible. When life is holding a steady course, there isn’t so much rejection to process and wonder about, and when life is following a relatively predictable course, there aren’t a lot of unknowns to fret about. But when life throws a curve ball, when change hits, when disappointments pop up, then the brain has to make sense of things that don’t fit our formula. This is when distortions in our habits of thought are exposed. Nothing quite like bringing home baby to do just that.
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