Recurrent Breast Cancer

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Healthy mental habits restore optimism.  

Faltering economy, unemployment, school shootings, hurricanes, and destroyed homes are remembrances of 2012. These unpleasant, subliminal thoughts trigger stress and anxiety. 

“Cognitive-bias modification” self- training is a tool that controls negative response. Results suggest that this training decreases anxiety, depression, and alcohol overuse. People who suffer from anxiety and depression, compared to those who don’t, have greater risk of symptom flare up the next time they’re stressed.  An emerging field of psychology, “cognitive bias training,” shows promise in turning around negative thinking and alleviating stress.

Antidepressant medication and psychological counseling help control anxiety and depression.  However, about sixty percent of people with significant depression (major depressive disorder) relapse in a year whether or not they take antidepressants and see their specialists. 

Rejecting negative with positive thoughts can squelch a negative mood. Cognitive training teaches coping skills and adjustment techniques that lead to emotional and behavior change. Cultivating healthy mental habits can bolster optimism for the long term.  

Self-help methods  that control and diminish negative mood include:  keeping a diary of events, altering daily routines, contacting a friend, making time for a fifteen or thirty minute mid-day break, and speed walking without a cell phone. 

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind.
~Albert Schweitzer
A book that explores cognitive- bias modification is:  “Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain:  How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook;” E. Fox, Basic Books, 2012.

Source:  Scientific American Medicine Mind, January/February 2013.  For questions or comments, contact Dr. Clem at