Vaccinate Yourself Against Depression
How we speak to ourselves, and how we speak to those around us – especially children – can have a huge impact on the way each of us deals with life situations – both negative and positive.
Recent neuroscience research into memory is starting to provide some important insights into how we may be able to prevent depression.
Memories are fluid. They are not a fixed, chronologically ordered book of the past. We morph into what best suits us for the stories we tell ourselves about current and future events – and about ourselves.
Research also shows that people who experience depression tend to have a very generalized memory about the past and don’t tend to remember specific events.
Dr Martin Seligman – author of Learned Optimism and The Optimistic Child -talks about “the 3 P’s of Pessimism” and how they correlate with depression.
The three P’s are:
1. Personalisation: The event that happened was my fault. Many early childhood negative experiences are interpreted this way and this can shape our views and beliefs about life.
2. Permanence: How many times have you thought “I will never be able to do that” or “that always happens to me”. This perception that something always happens when in reality it sometimes happens depending on the situation can make us feel disempowered and hopeless.
3.Pervasiveness: This is when one thing may go wrong and you apply it to everything. E.g. You are criticized for something and you think to yourself “I’m useless. I will never be good enough.” This internal dialogue can then go on repeat and you can stay in a dark place for a long time.
For example, Mary hates cooking. She claims to be an appalling cook and has no desire to a better one. She does not like to try new things or learn new skills. As a child, she was constantly shooed away from the kitchen despite being enthusiastic and curious about food and cooking. She was consistently told “you can’t help with the cooking, you will make a mess”. As a small child she concluded that cooking was complex and difficult and she wasn’t good enough to learn how.
Mary ticks all three P’s – she has personalized the experience, it has become a permanent part of her self-talk, AND she applies it across everything in her life.
Giving specific feedback helps frame the event for what it is. Look for the lesson in the situation, and then move on. Mary’s mother might have explained that she was in a hurry and didn’t have time for Mary to help – but that she would sit with her later and they could do some simple (achievable) cooking together.
If you catch yourself saying to yourself or someone else a something that may embed one or all of the three P’s, stop, and correct yourself.
Vaccinate yourself and those close to you from depression by understanding what the three P’s are and how, through healthy self-talk, we can start to re-organise how we (and those around us) react to events and situations.
At OHE we use NET (Neuroemotional Technique) to help you clear old beliefs and memory patterns so you can move on to a better version of you! Call us for a consultation today on 02 9999 1680.