Attacking anxiety and depression: Correcting faulty thinking

When we're looking at attacking anxiety and depression we need to focus on correcting our faulty thinking. To do that it's useful to understand firstly, how your brain works and thinking develops.

Your brain fulfills a huge number of functions that are necessary for life. The majority of these functions are out of your conscious awareness; such as the level of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream, the maintenance of your blood pressure or the process of digestion.

Other functions are mostly out of awareness but can be brought into awareness if you put effort into doing so; such as: chewing food, what it feels like to sit on a seat or how to write your signature. Pervasive and deadly characteristics of depression are often out of conscious awareness, but need to be brought into awareness so that they can be controlled and ultimately changed.

Attacking anxiety and depression: Most brain processes are automatic

It can be quite useful to think of the brain as if it were a computer; if we do that, it is easy to recognize that the brain is the most complex 'computer' in existence.

It has the function of processing the raw data that is constantly arriving from your senses. It then has to make sense of this data and, where necessary, organise an appropriate response. Fully 99.9% of brain processes are automatic. For most things you do not need to make any conscious decisions. Your brain just takes care of it.

As examples of complex human activity that are largely automatic, consider how much thought you might typically put into everyday driving to and from work.How much thought you put into an everyday conversation and how much conscious thought is needed to read a newspaper.

Almost everything that you do, say, or think incorporates a large amount of automatic brain processing! It has to. Any computer built by human hand would grind to a halt in moments if it had to do everything that a human brain does, continually for a lifetime without a break. Even sleep is filled with brain activity.

No one likes making the same mistakes over again

One way the brain attempts to cut down on processing need, thereby making processes more efficient, is to avoid repeating things that it has done before. The marvel of the human brain is its raw capacity to learn from experience.

Do something only once and the next time you will find it easier. Do it 10 times and it will be almost automatic. Do it 50 times and you may not even be aware of doing it.

Repetition leads to learning. Learning leads to automation.

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