Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), developed by Segal, Williams, and Teasdale, has been shown to be effective in reducing relapse among people with three or more depressive episodes. Like positive psychology, MBCT helps participants to observe their negative thoughts with curiosity and kindness, to accept themselves and stop wishing things were different, to let go of old habits and choose a different way of being, and to be present and notice small beauties and pleasures in the world.
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Last month, in Part 1 of a Journey to Self-Regulation, the focus was on the influence of character on behavior, how people develop habits that help them control their urges. However, there is another interesting way to look at self-regulation that addresses the power of the environment, regardless of how virtuous a person might be.
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Aristotle claimed that a virtue or strength is developed through action: “Brave people became brave by doing brave things.” He said there were six states of character development: brutishness, self-indulgence, weakness of will or caving into temptation, strength of will or mastering temptation, character excellence, and heroic excellence.