Welcome to the New Beginnings second newsletter. I hope it finds you all doing well.
With the holidays rapidly approaching I was recently reminded that as joyful as this time may be for some people, there are many, many people who suffer from depression, especially during the holiday season. Because of this, I am devoting this newsletter to the issue of depression. What it is, what we know, and some ways to help.
First, I’d like to share an article that S. Kelley Harrell, C.Ht. of Soul Intent Arts was kind enough to send me.
Confessions of a Reformed Depressive
Question: This week the question for my column comes from myself. I haven't featured a personal inquiry in my Q&A before, which after some thought made no sense. I'm on as much a quest for insight as anyone, and somehow in opening myself up to that observation, I decided to share.
I've been wondering why I'm not very emotional lately. In fact, life has been so level that I wondered if I'm depressed. Except that life is good. I'm relaxing into it. I'm challenging myself in needed directions and flowing with the insecurities and jubilation such new territory brings. So why am I not overrun with emotion about this newfound stability? I am feeling. There is no lack of feeling...
Then I considered... what if this is the way life is when your neurotransmitters are finally balanced? What if this balanced state is the way functional polarity feels? Given my history of chronic depression, it would make sense that I don't recognize it. Whatever it is, it's manifesting in livelihood, productivity, motivation, the ability to feel comfortable creating myself as I want to be and not as I feel I should be, for others or for my own trived self. Life really is pretty good.
Realizing that fact, I'm left pondering: how much of depression is habit? How much of it was me getting to this point of balance before, sensing the lack of drama, and creating one to fill the FEELINGS void?.....
You can read this wonderfully insightful and inspiring article in its entirety at Kelly’s website http://www.soulintentarts.com, an intertribal shamanic practice for Universal wellbeing.
Depression. Let’s deal first with some of the facts and information that are known.
Even though depressed people may share a common cluster of symptoms such as sadness, sleep problems, and/or exhaustion, suicidal feelings, an inability to feel pleasure and a variety of physical discomforts and conditions, this doesn’t mean that these symptoms are the result of the same cause. Mood is affected by dozens of genes.
Most research today is focused on the physiology of depression, yet clinicians have found that approaches which combine medical and psychological treatments are by far the most effective. Therapists have discovered that if they can get patients to probe the unconscious roots of their problems, finding solutions becomes much easier. Techniques like cognitive therapy teach patients to recognize destructive patterns in their lives and develop practical steps for changing these patterns. In addition, researchers are pinpointing the genes that are involved in depression. If this work fulfills its potential, patients will receive individualized treatment based on genetic makeup.
For more information on decoding depression at the molecular level, read Dr. Miller’s article “Managing Every Shade of Blue” at www.newhypnotherapy.com. Dr. Miller goes on to stress, however, that even with the new sophisticated tools and treatments becoming available, it is important to cultivate a sense of well-being. One of the best and most effective ways of cultivating a sense of well being and changing destructive behavior patterns is by working from the inside out, talking directly to the subconscious through hypnotherapy.
Meditation, hypnotherapy and biofeedback have long been championed as proven stress relievers. It has recently been discovered that in addition to providing relaxation and emotional relief, these techniques may actually lower levels of cortisol, the hormone that is frequently found in elevated levels with depressed patients and which can interfere with insulin sensitivity.
Studies have long established links between the incidence of depression and several other diseases, including cancer, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, stroke and Alzheimer's. "Depression almost certainly has multiple causes that produce similar symptoms," observes Dr. Bruce Cohen, president of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Heart disease is just one of a long list of illnesses that worsen with depression. People with such afflictions as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and osteoporosis all appear to run a higher risk of disability or premature death when they are clinically depressed. More and more doctors and patients recognize that depression and physical well-being are intimately connected. An unhealthy body can lead to depression, and depression can trigger or worsen diseases in the body. Fixing one problem can often help the other.
As more and more people are dealing with the effects of depression (20 million in the United States alone), many people are also realizing that much of their pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is originating on a deeper, subconscious level. If the pain is not dealt with at that subconscious level, it will continue to go on.
There are wounds that do not heal with time. Instead they start hurting again given certain "weather conditions". If this occurs, subconsciously we will withdraw into ourselves in interpersonal situations, or be oversensitive and react in a hurt manner without apparent reason, sometimes we become particularly hurtful, without actually wanting to. We have the opportunity, the ability and capability to bring these painful experiences into the light. We can look at these experiences under the soothing blanket of hypnosis and in this way we can begin the healing process.
The first steps in this healing process are releasing and forgiving. Forgiveness is necessary to free your spirit. Releasing is the first step in the process of forgiveness and moving forward. When you release the hurt, bitterness, resentment, fear or anger that you are experiencing, you take back control of your own life. You feed your spirit and you increase your capacity for joy, love and happiness beyond measure.
This is not easy. As Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of “Dare to Forgive” states, “Forgiveness… has to be cultivated; it goes against a natural human tendency to seek revenge.” It is for this reason that he recommends getting help to accomplish this.
Trying to accomplish this by yourself consciously is often a slow and uncomfortable process. By using the relaxation techniques utilized in hypnosis, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the releasing process. Hypnosis can enable a client to more easily focus on what needs to be forgiven and released. Working from the inside out, releasing negative thoughts that have been harmful and freeing the spirit so that the healing process and take place.
Simply knowing something intellectually gives you very little power. When you can take a truth and internalize it, with the aid of hypnosis, so that it becomes a part of you on a cellular level, on a subconscious level, you radiate that truth outward and your entire life is changed. “Repeat a positive statement often enough and it will become ingrained in your subconscious” says Adrian Calabrese, Ph.D., Woman’s World, October 18, 2005.
Sometimes, though, we run into problems when we try repeating positive statements to ourselves. When we are feeling down or depressed or angry, negative thoughts can creep in and because we have set up our subconscious to be more receptive to our suggestions by practicing meditation or self-hypnosis, these suggestions are even more powerful. This is why it is recommended that you listen to a recording or CD, allowing the therapist to guide you with the recorded suggestions insuring that your subconscious receives only positive, healing suggestions.
I have, for this reason, created a series of downloadable mini-sessions which include Releasing, Anger, Healing and Blues. They are an extremely powerful tool to be used to take back control of your life. They can be used individually or in combinations. Each is between 7-10 minutes long and are a cost effective way of bringing about changes that you want, changes that you need and changes to improve your life.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
And now, a few health tips to keep in mind regarding stress and depression::
Gazing at familiar faces, even in pictures, may help you feel less stressed.
The look of a familiar face appears to soothe nerves and dampen the stress response, according to a new study. And finding the familiar face in a photograph produces the same effect. Spend time with friends and family when you're feeling stressed and keep photos on hand for times when they can't be near.
Getting outside on your lunch hour could help keep winter blues away.
Whether you walk to the store, have lunch on a heated balcony, or simply walk around the outside of your office building a few times, spending your lunchtime outdoors could help boost your mood. Research suggests that blood levels of mood-boosting serotonin may increase with increased exposure to sunlight.
- Are you feeling a bit of post-holiday malaise? A little extra exercise may boost your spirits.
Many people feel an emotional letdown after the passing of a holiday season. However, studies have revealed that exercise is a great way to boost mood or keep negative feelings a bay. In a study, regular physical activity appeared to reduce the risk of both depression and anxiety.
... and a few of my favorite quotes:
“To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed.”
“It's not what you are that holds you back; it's what you think you are not.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
I hope you have enjoyed this second Newsletter and I hope that if depression is a problem you have or that someone close to you has, that perhaps you have found something, some piece of information or advice that will help.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.