Many of us often hear – “Think positive and you’ll attract all good things”. And often, people who are depressed tend to think that the reason behind their deep unhappiness is nothing but negativity.
However, the truth is — those who are suffering from depression need more than just a little ‘positive thinking’. Positive thinking can actually drive you deeper into depression.
Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Always Work
Positive thinking doesn’t solve depressive thoughts and emotions. Being mentally weak doesn’t make one more susceptible to depression. More often than not, the root cause for depression has nothing to do with ‘thinking’ at all.
Depression is not a cognitive thought and it’s not possible to ‘cure’ depression by simply thinking positively. On the other hand, a person who believes that positive thinking can help with depression feels worse when it doesn’t work.
There is no doubt that positive thinking can do wonders for anyone who wants to feel motivated. But on the other hand, positivity can be unhealthy when taken to extreme, since it unhinges the mind from reality.
While feeling positive can be a motivational boost, it in no way can ascertain success 100% of the time. And that is where this concept fails – the unrealistic expectations some people pin onto positive thinking can become the very cause for depression when their optimism doesn’t result in fruition.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Positive thinking comes with many merits — it can encourage you to take life-changing risks and it can give you the confidence you need to expand your horizons. However, it has its limits.
After all, it is nothing but a thought process….it is not a state of mind.
For those who are susceptible to worrying and brooding, positive thinking can feel like a ‘burden’, especially when it doesn’t work.
In fact, it’s good to know that sometimes it can even be counterproductive, especially if you have taken positive thinking to the extreme and are expecting some unrealistic ideas to become an instant success without working enough. Positive thinking can never replace the right skills or experience, and can become the downfall for an over-confident person who can go into depression when facing failure.
You Need A Balance
Balance is the key to a happy state of mind. In fact, a certain degree of pessimism prepares the human mind for the likelihood of failure.
A study done by Seligman and Brandeis University psychologist Derek Isaacowitz in 2001 closely followed elderly community participants to find out that pessimists were less prone to depression than optimists, especially after experiencing negative life events, such as the death of a friend.
The pessimists had likely spent more time bracing themselves mentally for unpleasant possibilities.
When you are relaxed and feel good, thinking positively comes a lot more naturally. However, if you need to force positivity into your psyche constantly, you could be setting up unrealistic expectations that could drive you into depression over time.