Research Shows That Positive Thoughts can Lessen Depressive Behavior

New research may offer some insight into how individuals deal with depression, especially when they are predisposed to the mental illness, according to a news article.

Young girls between the ages of 10 and 14 took part in a research study at Stanford. The girls happened to be the daughters of mothers who experience depression. Previous studies have shown that these girls would be at a higher risk for mental illness, particularly depression. During this study, however, researchers set out to show that these girls could determine their own thought processes.

In the beginning, when shown negative images, a real-time brain scan recorded the girls’ stress levels. When told to think happy thoughts, like playing with a favorite pet, the scan noted the switch. These recordings showed the girls, first hand, how they can be in charge of their stress levels when given the opportunity to think happy thoughts.

This new research could likely help a lot of people struggling with depression reduce the severity through a host of cognitive techniques. Later, when the participants were measured by their responses to negative situations, researchers found that the girls were able to lessen their responses with positive thoughts. Individuals suffering from depression tend to have an increased heart rate, cortisol production and blood pressure. The girls in the study were more confident knowing they were in charge of their stress levels.

A second study with the girls showed how, when put in a stressful situation, they could choose a positive opportunity. When in front of a computer and given the choice to move a dot toward either a negative or positive one, the girls always ventured to the positive image. This clearly demonstrates those that are routinely placed in stressful atmospheres will look for a positive option.

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