Is Negative Thinking Always Bad? Think Again!

The last few weeks have seen a spate of suicides among school-going children in our city, the usual reasons touted being the stress of exams and studies coupled with unrealistic expectations from peers and parents and eventually the inability to cope with these pressures.
An interesting article, in a recent issue of the New York Times, penned by Mr. Jonah Lehrer describes a new theory about depression, put forth by a psychiatrist, Andy Thomson and an evolutionary psychologist, Paul Andrews. According to them, occasional bouts of depression that occur following major setbacks such as a death in the family or extreme pressure at school or work, are actually due to a protective mechanism that kicks in spontaneously to help cope with these problems.
The article quotes studies where functional MRI in patients with depression, has shown activation of a part of the pre-frontal cortex whose main role is to help the brain focus intensely on specific thoughts or problems. According to Thomson and Andrews, getting into a funk and spending long hours ruminating and internalizing, actually allows the brain to focus better and to slowly but surely arrive at the correct and appropriate thought-processes that are needed to help bring the person out of the depressive state.
Our seers have also had similar thoughts. Shantanu messaged me this excerpt from Yoga Vashistha, ‘There are two types of depression. The first type that results from pining for the things of the world, takes one into a downward spiral to hell. The other type of depression that results from the realization that the external world can never bring lasting happiness, leads to enlightenment. Rejoice O King for your son has the second type of depression

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