Using Positive Thoughts Against Depression
The ability to overcome depression might be in our own brain. A scientific study carried out by the Brain Sciences Institute and MIT investigated the curative properties of our memory, and how positive thoughts can improve symptoms of depression.
The scientists show that the reactivation of memories generated by positive experiences may lessen the symptoms of depression caused by stressful situations. This makes it clear that positive thoughts actually can influence mental disorders and remembering positive experiences may help us overcome depression and other similar disorders.
How Using Positive Thoughts Against Depression Works
To test this point, the study’s main author, Susumu Tonegawa, stimulated a group of neurons that held positive memories in a rats that had been previously exposed to stressful situations. After being stimulated for five days, the rats no longer showed signs of depression caused by stress. To prove that it would have a lasting effect, the scientists stopped stimulating the rats’ brains and they continued to improve, showing that positive thinking benefits our brain and lasts over time.
Optimism is a quality that can be trained. People who go through a depression feel overwhelmed by automatic negative thoughts. With some self-control, we can change our inner dialogue and start talking to ourselves nicely. We can learn to identify negative and irrational thoughts and stop them before they control us. The key is to learn how to transform these negative thoughts into other more positive and motivating thoughts.
Marisa J., a patient that suffered from various bouts of depression throughout her life tells us how negative thoughts affects her emotions:
The psychological causes were, I think, mostly due to my low self-esteem and the negative way that I lived my life, which made me always expect the worse out of everything I started. For example, when I started a relationship or had something good happen to me, I would be happy and actually see a happy ending, but it didn’t take long for me to start doubting everything and then I was sure that everything was going to change and end badly, like I didn’t deserve something good in my life”.
Talking about the advantages of positive thoughts against depression, Marisa adds: “The most important thing was, ever since I started thinking truly believing that I can control my destiny with positive thoughts, and my life changes completely. It’s been five years since I’ve had depression. Our thoughts have amazing powers. Someone’s true self is made up largely by what they want to be.
Molly is a writer specialized in health and psychology. She is passionate about neuroscience and how the brain works, and is constantly looking for new content from interesting sources. Molly is happy to give or take advice, and is always working to educate and inspire.
This post is also available in: Spanish