Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cognitive Processes

Guess what I have learned recently in my cognitive processes class. Besides the fact that I am really weird. ;p

Well, I learned that people who have tendencies toward depression think differently than people who aren't. Not that this is really unusual. What caught me, though, is that people who aren't prone to depression tend to remember pleasant events in their lives while "forgetting" the bad events. It is called the Pollyanna effect.

What this means is that people who find themselves depressed a lot need to change their thinking! (I think I might have mentioned that before) The neural pathways that connect all the wonderful nodes in the brain become very strong, or weighted, when they are used a lot. My metatheory of psychology was all about this, but since I hadn't taken cognitive processes yet, I didn't know there is a whole bucketload of research on it, mostly because I was ignorant of the official terminology.

So, a person can stop being depressed all the time by "refusing to remember" the bad and "choosing to remember" the good. This research really supports Carl Rogers supposition that a person can become self actualized if he is willing to change. When I first studied his theory, I wasn't sure, but it didn't sound so bad. He said a person who remembered their childhood as being unhappy will be unhappy as an adult. They way to change is to focus on the positive.

Cheri 1970Cheri doing splits 6 years old

Ok, so it's one thing to know this. It is comforting to know that the research literature has become rich with evidence to support it, it offers hope. Yes, my childhood was hard in lots of places. But there were times when I shone like the sun. There were things I could do that no one else could do. There were people who loved me unconditionally and treated me like I was valuable and valid.

Those are the memories to hold on to and treasure. I choose to "forget" the bad, and replace it with the good.

Wow, that was easy to type. It wasn't so hard to say either. I just have to learn to live it!


  1. Yes that is interesting!
    OK will think positive and remember the good!

  2. In my 12-Step tradition, we use positives to counteract the negatives. We have a slogan: "Look for the good." And we try to remember to be grateful for what we have. One woman on the organization's e-list makes a daily post with something for which she is grateful. Sometimes it is detailed; most times, it is very simple and humble. I try to remember every day that I have so much to be happy for. And I am extraordinarily grateful that every day I put distance between me and 2006.