Ride Out The Storm

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If you were to look at a graph tracking the stock market over the last week or so you would see wild fluctuations, with lots of highs and lows. But if you were to look at a graph that tracked the stock market since its inception what you would see is a steady upward rise. What does this have to do with mental health?

We get caught up in the moment, and most of us can’t help but fall victim to the faulty thinking pattern called fortune telling, where we believe we can predict the future. When things are going badly, many of us believe our lives are going to be that bad forever. Humans are notoriously bad at predictions though, and lots of clever psychological studies polling experts from across diverse fields have proven it. Most of these experts are no better at predicting the future in their discipline than a random guesser, and some of them are worse, precisely because they get caught up in largely irrelevant details.

If you are struggling, don’t make the mistake of predicting that the rest of your life will be a struggle too. Just like those stock market graphs, if you take a step back and view the larger picture you’ll probably be able to find lots of data points in your past that counteract this reactionary belief, showing you that there have been many good times too. You probably believed during those moments that the good times were going to last forever, and of course they didn’t.

Consider your next crisis, your next life struggle, to be a storm that you’ve got to ride out instead of an unalterable situation. You take the necessary steps to protect yourself as best you can, you keep up a hopeful attitude, and you wait for the storm to pass. And sure enough, after some time the sun peeks its face out from behind the clouds once again. For most of us, life has its fair share of ups and downs, and our mental health issues stem just as much from thinking they will last forever as from the ups and downs themselves.


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