Saturday, May 28, 2016

#MentalHealth Myth Two: "If I have emotional problems, that means there is something wrong with me."

Experience gained from my 30+ years practice in cognitive-behavioral psychology shows that, when given the right tools, people readily learn to elevate and maintain emotional health and happiness.

At the Think Right Feel Right Blogoscope you will find the behavioral tools and techniques that help to ward off #anxiety, depression and addiction.  You will learn about ways to defeat troubling emotions such as anger, worry and sadness.  You will also find practical self-help strategies for increasing self-esteem, positivity and for being a happier you. 

Myths and misunderstandings about  mental health and emotional well-being abound.  We think we can change, or we doubt real change is possible. We hear that #happiness is attainable; then we hear that it is limited by our "setpoint."  We are told that mental health may be largely genetic.  We are left thinking that our emotions and behavior patterns are indelible, fixed patterns like some personality traits.  We burden ourselves with the shame that our emotional problems are somehow our fault.  We are embarrassed by emotional problems and avoid talking about them.  If we have"issues," we see ourselves as being different from others.  We try to fix ourselves with talk therapy.  We go the medication route.  We ignore emotional problems and our cup rarely gets above half full.  Change is too difficult, too little, impossible.  Just give me some drugs.  No medication for me, medication just hides the problem.

We pay a big price because of the myths and misconceptions about happiness and emotional health.  For those willing to try, a lot of time and money are spent on the journey.  Too often, the journey is long, the road signs vague, and success limited.  Others avoid the journey altogether, staying stuck in their struggles over a lifetime.  We can indeed learn how to possess good mental health, but first we must cut through the jumble of misconceptions that stand in the way.

Myth two: "If I have emotional problems, that means there is something wrong with me."  Not so quick.  Maybe we are not very good at bowling or chess either.  Should we conclude that there is something wrong with us?  As I mentioned previously, most of us learn very little about mental health or the best ways to improve it.  So it should come as no surprise that we may have "issues."  We are not taught the "emotional A game," so to speak.  But should we all line up for psychiatric intervention, or can we simply learn what's necessary to feel well. How sad and wrong-headed it is that we continue to stigmatize people with mental health issues and vastly overplay the idea that they have medical disorders. 

Emotional proficiency requires skill.  For example, the ability to reliably regulate thoughts and emotions and posess intrinsic #SelfEsteem. Recognize that those who taught us probably were not experts in such matters, so we often lack these skills.   In the meanwhile, we need to lighten up. Stop making ourselves  feel bad if we are not bowling or behavioral health experts.  If your emotional expertise isn't all that great, you share company with most people.  More important, If you would like to improve your emotional well-being (and most would benefit by doing so), you can ... and no, it's really not difficult.  More on this last point next time. Stay with #ThinkRightFeelRight.Net

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