Do you ever feel down? Stuck in a rut?
What have you been pondering for too long? Alex Korb, Ph.D., relates in his book, “The Upward Spiral”, that indecision can contribute to a consistently muddled state of mind, even depression.
Sometimes the important thing is to just choose. Korb states that any resolution you come to releases dopamine, a feel-good neurochemical in your brain. That encourages more decision-making, and begins to rewire neural networks so that future conclusions become easier. It also stimulates focused action.
A client felt stuck from deciding upon a career track. Two previous occupations that hadn’t panned out. As a result, they’d been fearful of devoting themselves to something else.
They’d been applying a cognitive distortion to this situation. These thinking ‘errors’ and their corrections are central to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been shown to successfully treat maladies such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and binge eating. This particular type of distortion, known as “overgeneralization”, asserts that just because something happened before, it will recur. Just because something didn’t turn out the way someone expected long ago, doesn’t mean it will necessarily recur in a new situation with a different journey.
However, even if a new career path doesn’t turn out as they currently desire, isn’t that just life? Many things in our lives weren’t meant to be forever, and things change in ways we can’t control or predict. I’ve read that the average person now changes careers four to seven times. So looking at it that way, twice doesn’t seem that bad. And any experience we have adds to our repertoire of what we can do in the future. Realizing these things, they were able to let go of the negative thought and move on.
Reframing cognitive distortions can lead to a more realistic viewpoint. It opens us to new possibilities and can help see things in a more positive light. Besides the impact on or lives, Positive Psychology shows a more positive way of thinking can improve health.
Which situations can you reframe in your own life? What’s stopping you??