Thinking About Past Achievements Could be Good For Your Mental Health

Even before the pandemic, mental health was quickly becoming a prominent global concern. Now that the pandemic is with us, cases of mental health issues have hit an all-time high. In fact, it is difficult to find a working adult who is not dealing with a mental health issue, however minute.

Depression, anxiety, and decision making

Depression, anxiety, and many other clinically diagnosed mental health issues can hinder victims from making prudent decisions. Researchers have therefore been working tirelessly to find a lasting solution to these problems. As a team from UC Berkeley came to find out, however, it’s all in mind.

The team of researchers, led by Sonia Bishops, conducted two studies to show the effects of mental health on decision-making. Results showed a considerable link between the two and the possibility of regulating depression and anxiety by focusing on past achievements.

Researchers tested the probabilistic decision-making skills of 300 participants. All the participants had a clinical history of anxiety or depression. In the study, the participants with higher signs of depression or anxiety were less able to adapt to computerized simulations that represent drastic environmental changes. The participants with less severe symptoms of mental health issues were able to adapt without a hitch.

Focusing  on the good decisions

According to Bishop, when things happen very fast and take a turn for the worst because of a bad decision you make, you are likely to dwell on the bad decision and make even more of those in the process. She adds that conversely, emotionally irrepressible people can focus on the things they did right, which might actually be the key to earning from mistakes in the real world.

The study was an expansion of 2015  one by the same team, which revealed that depressed and highly anxious people were prone to make more mistakes in a computerized challenge. Bishop suggests that to deal with depression, therapists should use CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) which teaches the patient to focus on previous achievements hence building confidence and consequently decision-making skills. 

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