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In reality, they had no control over the light since the researchers were dictating whether or not to turn the light on. When asked to rate the level of control they felt they had over the light, the nondepressed subjects overestimated how much control they had, while the depressed students were much more accurate. In a meta-analysis of the relationship between mood and creativity, the University of North Texas's Mark A. Davis found that moderate levels of positivity can help open up our minds and get us to think outside the box. But those experiencing high levels of happiness did not exhibit the same burst of creativity as those feeling moderately cheery. An extreme level of heightened positive emotion and lack of negative emotion may be an indicator of psychopathology, or at least abnormality. In 1992, University of Liverpool professor Richard Bentall laid out the case for classifying happiness as a psychiatric disorder. He concluded that it does indeed meet most criteria for this: "Happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system." Gruber and her colleagues also pointed out that negative emotions lead to physiological changes that prepare the body to take action--for example, our heart rate increases when we feel fear, so that we can fight or flee. But if a person lacks these negative emotions, they "may be at a disadvantage," the researchers concluded, "because their bodies are not as well prepared to fight." Gruber added that a "cheerful person may be slower than a fearful person to detect a potential threat in the environment." Through a trio of experiments, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, found that those in better moods tend to be less fair than those feeling sad. Using a "dictator game" that gave subjects the option to allocate scarce resources to themselves and to others as they saw fit, the researchers found that a good mood led to more selfish behavior. The reason? The researchers suggested that those who are feeling good are more focused on themselves, while those in a bad mood are more focused on the external--and are more sensitive to social norms. Similar results have been found in a number of other studies in which subjects were asked to make self-assessments, with depressed individuals proving more accurate. So what one person considers pessimistic may indeed just be realistic. According to psychologists Barbara Fredrickson and Marcial Losada, the ideal balance of positive emotions to negative emotions during the day may be about three to one (more precisely, 2.9 to one). They drew this number from a study in which a group of 188 people made daily reports for about a month, documenting when they experienced positive and negative emotions. Those whose positive emotions outweighed negative ones by a mean ratio of 2.9 or a little more were found to be "flourishing"--what the researchers defined as operating at an optimal level of functioning and health. Those who dipped below that line, whether as individuals, marriage partners, or members of business teams, tended to "languish." Your ego is holding you back and stopping you from getting your act together. It's keeping you stuck in your place of comfort and mediocrity. It's keeping you from doing things differently and making progress.

It's making you inflate your current level of knowledge and giving you the false sense of knowing everything. It's making you think you deserve all of the credit. It's making you think you're better than others. It's giving you a false sense of superiority and the "I'm always right" attitude. It's making you think no one can tell you what to do and how to do it because you already have it figured out. Your ego is telling you that when problems come up, it's everyone else's fault because they're stupid, you're smart, you're superior, you're educated, and there's no way you contributed to it. Your ego is creating and contributing to a lot of the problems you're currently experiencing because it's a stuck up, maniacal, and self-centered entity living within your mind. It's the part of your brain that's overly-concerned with taking selfies, abusing social media, and constantly saying, "Look at me! Give me attention!" and "I'm better than others!" But if the ratio goes too far in the positive direction, it can lead to people getting stuck in their ways. According to Fredrickson and Losada, people with extremely high positive-to-negative-emotion ratios (of more than five to one or so) have been found to be more rigid in their behavior. As they put it, "Without appropriate negativity, behavior patterns calcify." Whether asking for a raise or bargaining with a contractor, effective negotiations strike a balance between two or more people's differing interests--and usually leave everyone feeling a bit unhappy, but better than if they'd gotten nothing. But entering a negotiation in a good mood might actually hurt your chances of getting the best deal. If you decide that catastrophizing relates to you, list two situations where you can identify this type of thinking, together with the thoughts that were going through your mind at the time. Anxiety-free thinking means learning how to challenge and change your negative thinking. Try to imagine that every time you engage in negative thinking it's like going to your building society, taking out a handful of hard-earned cash and then giving it away without thought. Your emotional energy is just as valuable. It's when you face a crisis that you need to be able to call upon your reserves. After all, it's when the central heating needs replacing that you are glad you have saved some money, and the same principle applies when you face an emotional crisis. Writing things down means you are more likely to stick to your plans. Buy yourself a notebook and use this to track your progress.

If you keep all your information in one place it means that when you have a bad day, where you feel you are slipping back and making no progress, you have an independent record of your success. Everyone has bad days and progress hardly ever goes in a straight line upwards. There are usually some setbacks along the way. Your first step is to learn how to challenge your thoughts. Using the list you made of your negative thinking under the self-defeating thinking' list, copy into your notebook and complete theFaulty thinking form' below to help you identify the type of unhelpful thinking in which you are engaging. Drug taking is a highly complex and variable human and social phenomenon. And it is not going away, prohibitionists and border interdictionists notwithstanding. Human beings throughout this planet have used psychoactive drugs since the Stone Age and, except for the Inuit until the white man came, every society has partaken--and continues to do so. If we are to inculcate intelligence and balance in our efforts to reduce the harm or enhance the benefits of drug use, legal and illegal, one-dimensional or simplistic efforts will continue to waste time, drain personal and governmental treasuries, sustain familial and community agonies, and along the way sacrifice countless human lives. We can tip the balance from harm to benefits--and certainly to harm reduction--from addiction to abstinence or controlled use, and from failed and destructive criminalization to decriminalization and selective legalization. But only if we open our eyes, expand our consciousness, to what really matters in the use of psychoactive substances. at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands tested this hypothesis in an experiment that charged participants to try to sell a consignment of mobile phones to an unseen buyer (actually a computer program) at the highest price possible. Before beginning the negotiation, the sellers were given statements about "the intentions of the buyer"--statements that reflected either their anger or happiness. The sellers who thought they were dealing with a happy opponent made the highest demands and gave the smallest concessions. Those who believed the seller to be angry made the lowest demands and asked for the largest concessions. The researchers expanded this out in a second experiment, which replicated the findings that participants with angry opponents placed lower demands on them. The important thing to do, therefore, is not to find a way to avoid the possibility of having a panic attack, because you can't. The important thing, rather, is to realize that you do not need to avoid it because panic attacks are not dangerous. In the concert hall all those years ago, I was confronted by the frightening fact that I could not foresee all of my future potential bodily responses. None of us can.

We do, however, have the power to keep ourselves anchored in the present and to realize that we are perfectly safe, even if we start to panic. Being asked to a party I won't know anyone. I'm really not good at meeting people, I will have nothing to say and they will think I am boring. CHALLENGES Empirical: Where's my evidence that people will think I am boring? Logical: Just because I don't like parties how does it logically follow that I'm not good at meeting people? Pragmatic: Does holding on to these ideas make my life better or worse? Anxiety There is no evidence that people will think I am boring. If I ask people about themselves it will show them I am interested in them. Logical: I meet new people at work and manage OK, so if I use the same skills it is logical that I will handle things OK Pragmatic powerful. I find it hard it is not the end of the world. If I plan for the party then I can handle it. If I use the skills I have learnt at work and ask people about themselves then they will think I am interested in them. If I do not go to the party I am only allowing my fear to become more will never learn to feel better about such events if I do not practise dealing with them. It doesn't care about you. It only cares about itself. It's only concerned with looking good, getting attention, and avoiding the opinions of others. It has no interest in helping you get your act together and become a better person. Your ego knows if you get your act together, it's going to get evicted - and that's not what it wants. Get your ego under control. Treat it as if you're the boss and you have some egotistical employee running around the office and messing everything up.

Tell your ego, "Look, I need you to calm the f*ck down. You're messing everything up and I need you to take a back seat, sit down, and shut up." Strange as it may seem then, as you come to accept the possibility of panicking, you will quickly find that a panic event that you fear is far less intense in reality that you thought it would be in imagining the future. Indeed, you may discover that the panic attack never comes at all. Some people who have dealt with panic disorders have even gone as far as to say that they are not sure they have ever really had a panic attack at all. This is because so much of the panic attack experience itself is often tied up in an anticipatory dread of a future panic attack, or the fear that a panic attack will get worse or go on forever, that telling the difference between a panic attack itself and the fear of a panic attack is often not easy to do. Indeed, it is possible that there is no distinction between the two, and the two experiences are one and the same. Mental chatter is a major distraction. It's robbing you of energy, peace of mind, the ability to focus, and leaving you drained, tired, and used up. When you know what needs to happen and you know it needs to happen now, mental chatter talks you out of it. It creates doubt, insecurity, and causes you to second guess yourself. It delays and prevents you from taking action. To reach your goals and get your life on the right track, you need to keep your head on straight. Your mind needs to be clear. You need to be able to hear yourself think. You need the mental space to logically process all incoming information so you know what to do with it and how to apply it. Mental chatter amplifies anything negative so you don't take action. It holds you back and thinks it's trying to protect you. Mel Robbins says anything you want to do, you have 5 seconds to get started and to take action or your brain is designed to kill it. After 5 seconds, the mental chatter sets in and talks you out of it. Do your best to operate with a silenced mentality.