Back to basics: the Occam’s Razor approach to mental health

Time for a confession: I have been struggling with my mental health lately. As we are all collectively living through a global pandemic, I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision and start thinking, “I’ve taken a turn for the worse,” or “this state of increased depression/anxiety/etc. is my new normal.” Scary stuff.

Occasionally while “tunneling” my ability to think logically will poke through and I’ll recall my own resourcefulness (like we discussed back in September 2021). Today I was feeling quite worried and down, when I remembered the often paraphrased principal of parsimony, or Occam’s Razor. Per Wikipedia, the philosophical razor is:

“…when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions…”

This morning my brain told me that this dip in mental health was forever and my new normal. Occam’s Razor told me that I should probably ensure I’m doing all I can to support positive mental health before making many unfounded assumptions about my state of being. Suddenly I recalled I haven’t taken my vitamins in a while, and I haven’t finished a solid workout in a few days. Perhaps there are a few things I can do to encourage my brain to make some changes before considering doom-and-gloom hypotheses about the future.

Do you have any tricks that help you tell your brain, “it isn’t that bad,” when you’re feeling down? Wishing you lots of logic-fueled joy on this beautiful day!

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