When you are engaged in healthy functioning, your decisions tend to be based on reasonable and realistic variables. If you are depressed or anxious, it is highly likely that your thought processes are unhealthy and possibly even dysfunctional. At times when I have felt depressed, I have avoided making long-term decisions that would have a substantial impact on my life. The reason I delayed decision making when I did not feel mentally healthy was that I did not trust my thinking at the time. If we are anxious or depressed we may be operating from a part of our brain that is not logical and well balanced. The right side of our brain is more image-based and uses emotional reasoning when perceiving the world. If your mental health is suffering you will either avoid making decisions or you are more likely to make the wrong decisions.
It’s amazing how being depressed can affect the way you see the world. When we are functioning well we are more able to dismiss negative thinking and our resilience is higher but when we are struggling mentally our perceptions become distorted. For example, when I have felt depressed in the past I have felt as if I couldn’t do anything right. Making a mistake would take on far more significance than it would when I felt mentally well. I would also feel more paranoid and be more inclined to believe others were thinking negatively of me. Self-criticism is destructive and unhelpful. The body’s defence system perceives self-criticism as a threat and this can increase adrenaline and raise our stress levels.
Inevitably when we’re feeling anxious or depressed we will definitely feel more vulnerable in the world. We tend to overestimate problems and fears and underestimate our ability to cope. This thinking process leads to avoidance and in this way we never test out the reality. Our thoughts remain untested and the fear remains. It is common knowledge that depressed people tend to be more lethargic, lack motivation and enthusiasm and tend to isolate and withdraw from others. One of the main ways that a cognitive behavioural therapist would address depression is known as behavioural activation. It is one of the hardest things to galvanise yourself to doing things but it is one of the best ways to counteract depression. Severe depression can even lead to someone not wanting to get out of bed, wash or brush their teeth. It is a hopeless dark place and it is never a case of telling someone to “snap out of it”.
Anxiety and depression affect our relationships. We may be bought irritable and this can affect our home environment. It’s true that we take out our frustrations on the ones we love but doing this can create a lot of unhappiness. If your mental health issues are affecting your relationship, it is definitely worth considering seeking out therapy in order to limit the damage.
Anxiety is often caused by overthinking. We become focused on hypothetical worries that may never happen. Borey tends to work in a spiral and we go from one worry to the next to the next. Catastrophizing is a common symptom of worry and so his mind-reading. Have you ever made an assumption about what somebody else might be thinking of you? This is an example of mind reading. If you had to be very scientific about your worries you would notice that 80% of your worries or not grounded in real reality but rather they are a product of your fears and insecurities. The antidote to overthinking is mindfulness. Stay in the present moment and only focus on real worry, not hypothetical worry. The difference being, a real worry is happening now and you can do something about it. For example, your washing machine has broken down and you need to get it repaired. A hypothetical worry is a what-if worry. For example what if I fail the job interview? It hasn’t happened yet so instead of worrying, problem solved ahead of time and then do the best you can.
when we are not mentally balanced we tend to look for ways to escape from our stress. This could mean overeating or not eating at all. We might shop too much or gamble too much or spend time seeking out affairs. These are all known as safety behaviours and we do them in order to feel safe and more comforted. The problem with this type of solution is that it doesn’t look at the underlying problem. Safety behaviours act as a great distraction and a short-lived dopamine hit but until you address the underlying issue , the safety behaviours will continue. So the next time you feel like drinking alcohol or spending too much on Amazon, stop and ask yourself what the discomfort is. What are you avoiding dealing with? Addictive behaviours come from a lack within us and they can be overcome when we focus our attention in the right direction.
perfectionism is growing and many of us become perfectionistic because we fear failure. We mistakenly believe but if we can achieve and that everything can be perfect, Then life will be stress-free. Of course this is a load of nonsense and the struggle to try to maintain perfection will keep you in a cycle of anxiety and possibly depression when you realise that ultimately it is impossible to be perfect all the time. The only way to overcome perfectionism is to learn acceptance. When you accept that you have flaws and make mistakes just like everyone else, you can let go of that self-induced pressure and start to enjoy life more. You can choose to embrace failure and congratulate yourself on being part of the human race.
Anger and resentment
Anger and resentment on negative emotions that can cause a lot of strife in daily life. These negative emotions tend to come from unresolved past issues. Denial works for a short time that it will eventually catch up with you. Remember that acceptance is not approval but it will help you to move on with your life. You are fully responsible for how you wish to perceive your life and what has happened to you. If somebody has been unfair to you, you hand them more power when you allow them to still have an emotional hold over you. Learn to let go and you will enter a place of healthy functioning .
Procrastination is strongly linked to perfectionism. We can be so afraid of failure that we put off starting a task. There is so much pressure upon us to do a perfect job that the task can seem insurmountable. When we procrastinate this can lead to guilt and self-criticism which only makes the situation worse. When we are functioning healthy we know that procrastination is a part of life. We set ourselves goals and we show ourselves compassion if the plan does not go smoothly. The negative emotion underlying procrastination is one of fear. When you reframe your ideas about failure and see failure as part of the human condition you may feel more likely to embrace this negative emotion. It is possible to create a positive association between failure and self-actualization.
Have you ever noticed that when you are not functioning well or feeling happy you were unable to concentrate and perform to the best of your ability? Have you ever felt bothered but we’re not sure why? When we find it hard to maintain focus and concentration this affects many areas of our life. People do not realise how important mental health is for a healthy productive life. We struggle on in our sub-par existence and wonder why we’re not achieving more.
It is only when you embrace yourself fully and understand your weaknesses and your strengths that you will begin to achieve your trip potential. Be kind to yourself, ask what you want and don’t be afraid to fail.