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.