Important strategies for dealing with modern problems that can trick our natural psychology!
Our moods and emotions are signals to tell us about how our lives are going. When things are going well, we tend to feel good. When something goes poorly, our moods or emotions tend to shift towards an unpleasant internal state. In this way, moods and emotions act as feedback systems to help us act in productive ways – to keep going in the same direction if things are going well, and to change direction if things are going poorly. When much in our lives is going poorly, it is not uncommon to experience depression. Depression acts as a signal, and as a motivating force, to help us look carefully at what is not going well, and to consider alternative courses of action. In order to deal with depression most effectively, it can be useful to understand how we sometimes come to be depressed, and what actions we can take to restore better mood functioning.
Feelings and feedback
Moods and emotions – our psychological feelings – are feedback systems that can indicate the effectiveness of our actions. They work in a similar fashion to physical pains and pleasures. If we sprain an ankle, for example, we feel physical pain because our behavioral error has resulted in physical damage – and has potentially compromised our survival. The pain of walking on the injured ankle helps discourage us from doing anything that could cause further injury, and thus aids the healing process.
On the more pleasant side, we often feel physical pleasure when we eat calorie-rich foods when we are hungry, or while we [...]