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The Effects Of Thinking On Human Stress And Depression

897 words - 4 pages

In act two, scene two of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, William Shakespeare wrote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Shakespeare & Edwards, 1985, p. 53). This phrase, spoken by the character Hamlet, is done so to express to his two close friends how Denmark feels like a prison to him, but may not feel so to them. It means that there is no concrete concept of good and bad, and that what is good, and what is bad, is defined subjectively by ourselves. The two terms are only common labels that are used to describe mental associations, that may vary from person to person. While it might be argued that there are some events that are collectively considered to be bad, ...view middle of the document...

Charleton (1992) provides a useful definition of stress as a general medical label that is used to describe various stimuli, and human responses to them. He concludes that stress works much like a cause and effect relationship, that there is an objective life event, and a subjective emotional response to it. Stress then, is only the result of how we interpret these events individually. Ceasing to view events negatively will result in reduced stress, whereas continuing to do so will result in continuos, if not increased levels of stress, which according to Monroe and Reid (2009) is a leading cause of depression - one of the most debilitation mental diseases.
These ideas were imperative to the work of psychotherapist Albert Ellis - a leader in the field of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. The ideas behind much of his work stemmed from the from the work of the ancient philosopher Epictetus (Schatzman, 2007), a quote from whom appears on the Albert Ellis Institute website: “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take on them.” Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, and preached that negative behavior was solely the result of negative thinking. The goal behind his method was to eliminate his client’s maladaptive behaviors, and make them behave rationally by altering their thought patterns. This therapy is still prevalent when treating depression. “Not only can CBT relieve acute distress, but it also appears to reduce risk for the return of symptoms as long as it is continued or maintained. Moreover, it appears to have an enduring effect that reduces risk for relapse or recurrence” (Hollon, Markowitz, &...

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