The depressed society: facts, causes, and cognitive therapy as promising solution

You should…
…have good grades to be able to study in a good program
…learn everything in school in detail: languages, maths, history, arts, etc.
…do many internships to have the chance for a good job later
…work 80 hours a week to earn more money and get promoted and thus happier
…save money and work hard so that you can survive and enjoy life after retirement
…choose a job that is safe and well-paid to be able to marry, have kids and settle

Do these statements sound familiar to you?
They describe the career path that society expects us to pursue and teaches us from our early age on. These “rules” are so deeply manifested in our society that way too many people never question them!
In fact, many people in the developed world develop perfectionism patterns (“I have to make this perfect”) and distorted thoughts (“I must be successful in my job to be worthy”) based on these expectations and social rules. As a consequence, sooner or later you pay the price and end up in a serious depression or unhappiness, a state that is widely spread among adults as the following numbers clarify:

  • about 121 million people worldwide have some form of depression
  • 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression
  • about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population over 18 experience clinical depression in any given year
  • increase of sickness days due to burnout or depression
  • majority of fully employed people consider themselves as being at risk of burnout
  • about 75% of the people working today are unhappy with their current jobs
  • Everyone will at some time in their life be affected by depression; their own or someone else’s
  • 15% of depressed people will commit suicide
  • Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020

Unfortunately the most-used treatment for fighting depression are still antidepressants. Although, as many studies show, these drugs are often ineffective:

  • Antidepressants work for far less than 50% of depressed people
  • less than 25% of depressed people have access to effective treatment
  • 40% of depressed people do not respond to medications at all
  • High relapse rate with antidepressant drugs as well as therapy

This is not surprising if you understand the underlying roots of depressions that are not solved through antidepressants. Plenty of factors can lead to or are characteristics of depression and unhappiness:

  • Negative, past experiences (in childhood)
  • Wrong assumptions and believes
  • Distorted thinking and acting – “Mindfucked”
  • No purpose (passion) in life
  • Emotional baggage from childhood/parents
  • Not being yourself
  • Unhealthy life style (e.g. smoking, alcohol, obesity, no sports)
  • Negativism, skepticism, pessimism
  • Feel “accepted and worth” only with consistent love, approval, or entitlement
  • Not living in the present
  • Being dependent on outside factors
  • Perfectionism
  • Missing close and meaningful connections with other people
  • Lost in too much distraction and the fast-paced world
  • Guilt
  • Feeling lonely
  • Procrastination, Wasting time

Although the causes seem to be different, you will notice when you look closely that the distorted mind is the true underlying cause of persistent depression and unhappiness. In most cases, the way your parents and teachers educated you in your childhood and the experiences you made with the people around you formed your beliefs and character that you have today. If your parents always complain about how bad everything is, get upset easily, eat unhealthy, and do not see the beautiful things in their life’s, you can be almost certain to mirror their attributes as adult, too. If nobody teaches you how to have control over your mind, eat healthy or find your true passion while you are just forced to follow the system, it is inadvertent you will struggle sooner or later when the mind and body resists to your enforced, wrong way of living.

Unhappy and depressed people make themselves dependent on outside factors that they cannot influence, thus they are disappointed very often, blame themselves and create distorted thoughts assuming it is them who failed. They get mind-fucked!

Thus it is key to change the distorted way of thinking, and cognitive therapy (CT) tries exactly that.
CT helps to control mood swings and self-defeating behavior and is more sustainable than antidepressant drug therapy according to recent studies. CT techniques address the underlying relationship causes of depression and by that enable continuous and long-lasting improvement. You can read a lot about it with practical examples in David D. Burns book “Feeling Good”. The way someone feels at a certain moment is defined by the thoughts this person has at this moment.
Happy thoughts makes you feel happy!

Here is one example how CT can work:
First, identify your level of happiness and your mental areas for improvement. For instance you could have a tendency to measure your self-esteem based on how people react to you and what they think of you. Or you base your worth on whether or not you are loved. Both are biased, because you need to love yourself and be happy alone, and you probably assume things about others that are just in your head but not actually true.

Once you identified your mental weaknesses you need to read about what they mean and how you can improve mentally. During that process you can write down your negative thoughts, write down what is wrong about them and not reflecting reality, and what a rational response could possibly be. Whenever the negative thought pops up again you immediately remind yourself of your counter argument and affirmation. You need to be patient and persistent but over time your brain will manifest your new beliefs. I personally used this technique to reinvent certain beliefs that I had.

If you want to shed your limiting beliefs forever, sign up now for your personal Happyfication to get access to CT-based tools and reading to get rid of your distorted thoughts. Clear your mind with thoughts that are biased and not true. Discard extreme thoughts and expectations, such as the hassle to be perfect, or any thought that makes you believe you are not unique, not loved or worthy.

Once negative thoughts and limiting beliefs are gone, you can start to grow as a person in other areas such as healthy nutrition, meditation, vision, etc. Your mind is the foundation for a happy and healthy lifestyle.

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