A study by psychologists at the University of Liverpool – the biggest of its kind in the UK – has found that traumatic life events were the single biggest determinant of anxiety and depression, followed by a family history of mental illness, income and education levels, relationship status, and social factors.
The study reported:
“Whilst we know that a person’s genetics and life circumstances contribute to mental health problems, the results from this study showed that traumatic life events are the main reason people suffer from anxiety and depression. However, the way a person thinks about, and deals with, stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel as the actual experiences.
“Whilst we can’t change a person’s family history or their life experiences, it is possible to help a person to change the way they think and to teach them positive coping strategies that can mitigate and reduce stress levels.”
Change your thinking and you change your depression and anxiety levels. But this is very difficult to do on your own. One can’t simply say, “OK, I’ll think more positively from now on.” Help is needed, in the form of practitioners of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapists, counselors, spiritual guides, and others who can help change thinking styles to more positive outcomes.