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Our personal values guide our choices and behaviors and assist in deciding right from wrong. Some values are held more strongly than others. One of the hardest lessons one must learn is to respect values when they are different than their own, and avoid imposing their own personal values on others. An example of a personal value is compassion. If a person values compassion they are forming a bond with the person that is suffering rather than feeling superiority over them. Honesty, integrity, generosity, gratitude, altruism, and well-being are also examples of personal values.

The subconscious mind accounts for 50-60 percent of the brain’s capacity. The subconscious is a part of the brain that a person is not fully aware of and has the greatest influence on behavior.

The subconscious retrieves memories from past experiences and determine a person’s actions. This part of the brain is also responsible for automatic functions such as breathing. The subconscious helps the conscious make decisions up to ten seconds before a person realizes it.

The unconscious mind accounts for 30-40 percent of the brain’s capacity. The unconscious mind holds all of the information that the person has forgotten, such as the first word as a child. The unconscious mind cannot be retrieved.

The conscious mind accounts for only 10 percent of the brain’s capacity, and refers to whatever is in a person’s awareness, what he or she says, thinks, and does. The person is aware of his or her actions.

Learning begins with an individuals’ interaction with their environment and the individuals’ behavior stems from the exposure that is stimulated from that environment. This can be detrimental to a person’s mental health, whether it is experienced as a child, an adolescent, or an adult. Experiencing abuse or neglect by a parent or caregiver as an infant or child is an example of an environment that can cause poor thought patterns, negative emotions, and negative behavior at a young age and even throughout adulthood, if treatment is not sought.

An individual’s ability to accept and positively reappraise feelings when faced with challenging events is determined by their mental flexibility, being able to shift your thinking patterns to deal with and adapt to the current difficult situation. Mental flexibility is helpful when the individual has limiting thought patterns and is not able to think of other possible outcomes.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a common treatment that addresses a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior and how they affect and determine the other. CBT combats negative thinking, causing the individual to learn new thought patterns and behaviors while increasing mental flexibility. CBT is very useful when treating depression and anxiety, as well as an array of mental illnesses.