Hi, and welcome to the Atticus Health blog. This entry considers mental health, and looks at how best to keep your mind ‘healthy’. The first question you’re probably asking is why mental health for the first blog? Well – because I think it’s that important! Basically, your mind and body are connected, so each benefits from the other being fit. However, there are some directions that your mind can drift towards that can lead to anxiety or depression - or both. Today we look at a couple of such so called ‘thinking errors’, and show you how to deal with them.

Black and white thinking. Do you ever feel like a situation is ‘win or lose’, ‘sink or swim’? The reality is that most of life is grey, not black and white. Things sometimes do go 60% the way you wanted them to, sometime 40%, sometimes 90%. However, sometimes our mind can try to simplify things, leading us to engage in ‘black and white’ thinking, where we believe either we ‘win or lose’ with no in-between. And, often times, when we are down – things seem to go completely wrong - 100%. This drags us down further. If you feel like you are a black-and-white thinker, then try and consider situations in a more ‘coloured’ way. Try and accept that there are good and not-so-good aspects to what happens in your life, every day. Let the good aspects lift you up, and look to see how you can improve on what didn’t go quite so well. This type of thinking will help you to deal with outcomes in your day.

Catastrophising. If someone was to call you, and let you know that a loved one had ‘had an accident', what would be your first thought? Sometimes it’s the worst possible outcome – that they died. Then of course, if we listen more, then whatever else that accident was – we feel relieve that it wasn’t that they died. Thinking that the worst is going to happen is called catastrophising. In some ways, it is a defence mechanism; we do it to help prepare ourselves. However if we are receiving bad news recurrently, our body can start to think the worst will to happen too frequently – in some cases all the time. For example, most people who get a runny nose and sore throat might consider that they have the common cold. However, for a person who catastrophises, they may worry about such symptoms being a sign of throat cancer, and this will be their first and predominant thought. This can all increase anxiety. The way to combat such thinking is to make an attempt to write down the different options of what could reasonably be the true answer, and try to honestly rank them from the most to least likely.

Anyway, I hope this helps you. If you have any comments, contributions or questions, please leave them on the blog. I look forward to hearing what you think.