Most support groups and medical experts address depression and other psychological problems by focusing on the symptoms. By deriving the root cause, they hope to make the issue go away. However, a new study is challenging that method. According to Martine Fledderus of the University of Twente, the focus shouldn’t be on getting rid of a person’s negative feelings but on cultivating a positive mental attitude.


The study revolved around the course "Living to the full," which was taken by people with mild to moderate depression. Unlike most methods, which concentrate on disease elimination, the course put more emphasis on psychological flexibility. Being able to accept one’s own negative emotions and dealing with them using one’s inherent values are what "Living to the full" is concerned about.

Classified as both group counseling and self-help therapy, the course "Living to the full" was found to have positive effects on people suffering from depression. Other psychological symptoms, including anxiety and fatigue, also seemed to minimize.

As further proof of the course’s success, around 15 mental health services are now offering the course to patients. Many psychology experts are also offering the course as a form of group therapy.

You don't need to enroll in the course to cultivate a positive attitude, however. The next time you're feeling down, don't repress your sadness. Instead, acknowledge it before consciously channeling it into something more positive. With practice, you will learn how to deal with your emotions more effectively for the improvement of your mental health.

For more on depression, check these out on FN:

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(Photo by Lst1984 via Flickr Creative Commons)

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