Some people view their experience of depression and anxiety as a fundamental part of who they are. Instead of seeing mental illness as a permanent state of being, what if we talked about it as a temporary phase? What if we stop identifying ourselves as flawed?

Depression and anxiety can characterize a certain season of life, but they don’t have to stick around forever. If you are facing anxiety or depression, you must know that you can move past it. To get started, it’s important to understand five negative mindsets that impact mental health.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, Alleviant Health Centers can help. Contact us today at 501.904.4762 to learn about our treatment options.

Negative Mindsets That Impact Mental Health

1. Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is the belief that you are stuck in your depression or anxiety forever. Persistent negativity can lead to learned helplessness, which reinforces states of depression and anxiety. Learned helplessness keeps you from taking responsibility for your life and reaching the goals that you want to achieve. It’s self-defeating and unproductive.

The antidote for learned helplessness is resilience. Martin Seligman, a psychologist, developed these three P’s to help people gain a resilient mindset:

  • Permanence — Understand that what you’re going through won’t last forever. It’s a temporary setback. You can be optimistic about the future instead of pessimistic.
  • Pervasiveness — Just because you made a mistake at work doesn’t mean you have to feel like a failure at home. Trust that good things are the norm and that bad things are specific instances you can face and overcome. They don’t have to define you.
  • Personalization — Don’t blame yourself for everything difficult in your life. Acknowledge when you have been hurt by someone else or the circumstances making certain things more difficult for you. Be realistic. It’s not always your fault.

2. Exaggeration

If you’re facing anxiety and depression, you might see the most minor challenge as an impossible setback. Just getting out of bed can feel overwhelming. People with depression tend to exaggerate negative experiences or aspects of life.

Exaggeration isn’t a realistic view of the world. It’s inflated. If you’re facing a season of depression and anxiety, remember that you might be blowing some things out of proportion because of your current mental state.

3. Dichotomous Thinking

Dichotomous thinking means viewing a partial setback as a complete failure. Learn to compartmentalize your mistakes and let them stand alone. Don’t let them bleed into other areas of your life. Remember that:

A mistake at work doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible employee.

An argument with your significant other doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed

A difficult test doesn’t mean that you’re not smart enough

4. Selective Abstraction

Selective abstraction is a mindset that only uses negative information to interpret events instead of seeing the positives. Poor Eeyore from Winne-the-Pooh has a bad case of selective abstraction. He assumes the worst about people and situations and fixates on only bad facts or possibilities.

Recognize that depression and anxiety will distort your worldview, filtering out the good and leaving only the negative.

5. Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization is when a person with depression or anxiety lets negativity in one area of life bleed into other unrelated areas. If you had a fight with your spouse and said some harsh words, you might think, “I’m a terrible human being and a horrible wife and mother.” Chances are that your depression has distorted your thinking.

Don’t let your problems from one area bleed into unrelated areas. Mistakes and setbacks are just a part of your reality—they don’t define it.

Change the Way You Think at Alleviant Health Centers

Take control of your thoughts by changing the negative mindsets that impact your mental health. Alleviant Health Centers can help you change your unhealthy mindset. Contact us at 501.904.4762 today to learn more.