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Being happy instead of sad a matter of will?

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Alexander Ypsilantis

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Some of what I read about people with depression/anxiety is that they respond improperly to events in their life. I had a therapist one time who showed me the pic of the old woman/beautiful young girl. I'm sure many of you have been exposed to it, what you see in the picture-whether the old woman or the young girl-is what your mind wants to see. My therapist suggested that when we see the old woman, we need to 'flip' our outlook and try to see the young girl. Train our minds so to speak to react better to events.

My early life was filled with a lot of turmoil, I've mentioned that in the past. I'm sure it frames my outlook when things happen today. I believe the hardwiring of my brain is also predisposed towards overthinking and 'catastrophizing'. What about this concept of 'flipping' our outlook and trying to make being happy instead of sad more of an act of will? What are your thoughts?
 
MeAndMyDepression

MeAndMyDepression

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I think that being happy instead of sad is an act of will that does apply to someone who doesn't have depression or someone who has mild or moderate depression, but definitely not to someone who has severe depression. I also think that 'flipping' our outlook doesn't apply to someone who has severe depression. Maybe this would apply to someone who has mild or moderate depression, but definitely not to someone who has severe depression.
 
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Purpleplum

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That therapist sounded like a whack. People look at the picture of the young girl/old lady differently depending on if they're right brained or left brained and a number of other reasons.
Besides, who says the old woman is a negative or depressing thing? She sort of looks like Mother Teresa...that doesn't sound like a bad thing to me.

Don't believe everything therapist's say....they're just people.
 
JessisMe

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I think “fake it til you make it” has some bearing on the general level of happiness vs. sadness anyone can feel in the day to day. Trying to pursue happiness certainly can’t hurt any. But as an above poster said, when we insist people with depression “aren’t trying hard enough” it becomes unreasonable and I think unfair.
 
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Elphie10

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It's a difficult one that I've struggled with as well. I think I am generally a positive person, I can count my blessings and see all the good things around me. Yet it doesn't make me happy. Telling myself all the positive things doesn't rid me of that empty, grey feeling. But I guess that's because depression is an illness, it's not that easy. Changing our thought patterns can certainly help, but it may not be a be all and end all cure.
 
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Pantone175104

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It's a difficult one that I've struggled with as well. I think I am generally a positive person, I can count my blessings and see all the good things around me. Yet it doesn't make me happy. Telling myself all the positive things doesn't rid me of that empty, grey feeling. But I guess that's because depression is an illness, it's not that easy. Changing our thought patterns can certainly help, but it may not be a be all and end all cure.
Wow couldn't say it any differently
 
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fragrant_violet

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Some of what I read about people with depression/anxiety is that they respond improperly to events in their life. I had a therapist one time who showed me the pic of the old woman/beautiful young girl. I'm sure many of you have been exposed to it, what you see in the picture-whether the old woman or the young girl-is what your mind wants to see. My therapist suggested that when we see the old woman, we need to 'flip' our outlook and try to see the young girl. Train our minds so to speak to react better to events.

My early life was filled with a lot of turmoil, I've mentioned that in the past. I'm sure it frames my outlook when things happen today. I believe the hardwiring of my brain is also predisposed towards overthinking and 'catastrophizing'. What about this concept of 'flipping' our outlook and trying to make being happy instead of sad more of an act of will? What are your thoughts?
It can't be done unless you are unscathed by mental illness.

During my worst spells I've listened to motivational talks, tried to talk my way out of things, look at the positives. It don't work.
 
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fragrant_violet

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I'm actually a bit dismayed that anyone would make a suggestion like that on a forum like this. Its like saying Cheer up, Pull yourself together, Grab the bull by the horns.

I was recommended this famous Indian doctor (so famous I forgot his name already), who claims that the mind has the power to cure illness. Mind over matter if you like. He's a good speaker and wrote a couple of books. But he doesn't actually tell you how to do it.

I think there is a tendency for folk who have been 'cured' from mental illness to forget how hard it is for those still struggling.

OK I'm gonna make myself happy today by looking at two fotos 😂
 
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Willbebetter

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I think a very small part of it is will but for the most part I find a very hard time doing things I used to love and when I do there isn't much pleasure in it
 
jajingna

jajingna

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There's no happy switch. Maybe a dimmer you can adjust a little bit with something that might cheer you up some. I find will useful for forcing myself to do what is beneficial. Usually I just do those things, like getting a walk, but sometimes I'm tired and have to force it, knowing it's better for me to get out of the house for a while.
 
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Missionready

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Some of what I read about people with depression/anxiety is that they respond improperly to events in their life. I had a therapist one time who showed me the pic of the old woman/beautiful young girl. I'm sure many of you have been exposed to it, what you see in the picture-whether the old woman or the young girl-is what your mind wants to see. My therapist suggested that when we see the old woman, we need to 'flip' our outlook and try to see the young girl. Train our minds so to speak to react better to events.

My early life was filled with a lot of turmoil, I've mentioned that in the past. I'm sure it frames my outlook when things happen today. I believe the hardwiring of my brain is also predisposed towards overthinking and 'catastrophizing'. What about this concept of 'flipping' our outlook and trying to make being happy instead of sad more of an act of will? What are your thoughts?
Some of this all boils down to choice.no one "makes" us do anything. Everything we do and the water respond ( emotionally), is based on choice. Yes, there might be a chemical imbalance that causes some depression, but a lot has to do with how we choose to react to something that happens.
 
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Twinkle Toes

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I think I read somewhere (in a scientific or medical journal or something like that) that chronic depression like the type you have thats not related to a specific event like death of a loved one (where everyone one feel sad) is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. so that's why even someone who others might see to have a successful life, can still suffer from depression severely. so for those people itsnot about 'thinking yourself happy' cos it just wont be possible until the chemical imbalance has been corrected via medication.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Keep in mind that the chemical imbalance explanation is a theory, not a fact. It started in the 1960s, and by the 1990s with SSRI drugs, was popular enough to get loads of people including doctors who prescribe antidepressants, on board with the idea. American TV commercials then were using the theory in a way that was misleading and simplified, in order to sell their product. Sales of antidepressants have boomed since then, way more people take them nowadays. Has this alleviated suffering on a grand scale like the promise of Prozac as a "miracle drug" said it would? No, it hasn't.

More recent research looks at stress hormones causing damage to neurons. Antidepressants are said to help the brain grow new nerve cells, a process that takes some weeks, in line with how long it takes for the pills to kick in.
 
Desire less

Desire less

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I recovered from chronic depression last year.
At the time i did let go of my own believes and tried something which sounded very logical.
I noticed pretty quickly that my way of thinking and feeling chanced as i removed a lot of stress by letting go.
So i think it surely has tot do with the chemical balance in your brains which make you feel and think the way you do.
 
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Missionready

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During my first semester at a 2 year college back in the fall of '86, I had this psychology instructor who, if he felt like saying sh$t, he said it. One day, when he was in one of his tamer moods, he said : "act the way you want to feel, and pretty soon, you'll feel the way you act." Hope this helps.
 
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