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Healing Depression with Whole-Person Care

Applying the whole-person approach to recovery can individualize treatment for depression. This approach is based upon recognition of the unique components of an individual’s life and how they interweave to form the whole person. Below, we will explain each aspect of the whole-person approach and how, taken together, they can identify real answers to curing depression.

Emotional Influences

We are emotional beings, and we choose to acknowledge or express those emotions in outward forms. We are never far from our feelings and emotions. They trip us up when we are stressed or tired. They sneak up on us at unexpected moments. They support our expectations, fuel our disappointments, and energize our victories.

When depression settles into a person’s life, emotions become confused. A promotion at work may produce thoughts of despair and fear. Minor daily irritants can become major life hurdles. The joy of others can become a gloomy reminder of inner insecurities. Even if life appears to be going well, our emotional balance can become tilted toward depression.

Environmental Influences

We live in a world where complexity greets us every morning. What are we going to wear? What are we going to eat? How are we going to arrive at work? Which task are we going to complete? What call are we going to deal with first? Should we answer our cell phone, our home phone, respond to our e-mail, reply to our voice mail—and in what order? From the moment we awake, the assault begins. We are overwhelmed. The assault demands a response, and retreating into depression can be that response.

Relational Influences

We constantly use our personal relationships to determine our position in life. We observe the world and people around us, and we make decisions about who we are based on how we believe others perceive us. We define our position by the people with whom we interact. Then, we use this information to triangulate our state of well-being, factoring in what we’ve learned or observed in the past, a view of our present circumstances, and the potential outcome for our future.

Depending on our ability to reason truthfully, these relationships provide us with a sense of well-being or foreboding. The uniqueness of our circumstances and our relationships can either help or hinder our ability to deal with these ever-present thoughts and emotions.

Physical Influences

In the past, the answer to a broken-down spirit was a pharmaceutical fix that relaxed the physical body. But as we learn more and more about the interworkings of mind, body, and spirit, we are discovering that the potential exists for our bodies to act as a partner in recovery, instead of as an opponent.

Spiritual Influences

Wrestling with questions of worth and purpose is a spiritual issue. Who am I? What is my purpose? Where is joy? When will this be over? Why is this happening? How did I get this way? The spiritual component of a person’s life can provide direction toward both the right questions and the needed answers.

At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we look at each individual’s emotional, environmental, relational, physical, and spiritual history and health. Together, these elements provide keys to understanding why a person is depressed and opens a doorway to his or her recovery. Whole-person care is the foundation of our practice. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are ready to find true recovery and joy, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.

 

 

Finding Purpose in Your Life

Over the years, it is possible for the activities and responsibilities of life to layer one on top of another. The combined weight of all these activities and responsibilities can be crushing. One of the first things to do in taking stock of your life is to look at what you are doing.

Think about all of the things that you do daily, weekly, monthly, and otherwise periodically. Think about your reasons for engaging in each of your activities. What are those reasons? Are they still valid today? Are your reasons for engaging in each activity the same today as they were when you started? Have the reasons changed? Have you changed?

This is an intentional, purposeful look at the activities that build up your life, including family, work, recreational, religious, and community. It is possible, over time, for an activity to become unhinged from its original reason. If your life is filled with too many activities separated from the reasons for doing them, then it is possible for you to feel that your life is futile. You might feel that what you are doing and how hard you are working and make little difference. Life can seem busy and burdensome yet without purpose.

This outlook can be a major factor in environmental causes of depression. As you look over your activities and how you are feeling about your life, what you are looking for is twofold: the first is the number of activities, and the second is the overall effect those activities have on your life. Depression can occur when the amount of activities are either too great or too small. If you are engaged in too many activities, your life can become a blur of motion without any real substance, and depression can result. Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not confuse motion with action.” If you are engaged in too few worthwhile activities, and have isolated and insulated yourself from outside relationships, this motion without action can result in depression.

Depression can occur when your activities are out of balance in the following ways:

  • You have too many activities, and the sum of them outweighs their individual value. When you’ve got too many things going collectively, you are too busy to enjoy any of them individually.
  • You may have activities but too few worthwhile ones. When the sum of your activities is draining, the draining ones interfere with the worthwhile ones.
  • You have too few activities in your life. When you’re bigger activity is inactivity, you rob yourself of the stimulation and engagement of purpose and people.

You may find that you are simply too busy. If so, you need to evaluate which activities to continue and which activities to let go. Or perhaps you have isolated yourself from meaningful, worthwhile activities and will need to stretch and expand yourself. This may mean giving up some activities so you’ll have time to integrate more worthwhile ones into your schedule. Intentionally changing the pace of your life can help you move forward in the recovery from depression. By evaluating the substance of your activities, you can make informed decisions about which ones to add, which ones to support, and which ones to let go.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression caused by grief, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. In addition to physical, mental, and emotional treatment of depression, The Center • A Place of HOPE offers Christian support to address the spiritual components and struggles in a person’s life that affect grief and depression. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a depression recovery specialist today.

 

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

 

 

 

 

 

Become an Active Participant in Life

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

To paraphrase the famous Serenity Prayer, it is so important to recognize those things in our lives that we can change and those things that we cannot. While there may be a great deal in your own life that you cannot change, you may be surprised at how many things you can. One of the keys to overcoming depression is to honestly and realistically evaluate your life. Then, develop a plan to accept those things that are possible. This requires taking stock of your life. Just as a storekeeper takes an inventory of all that he has, it is wise for us to make a tangible list of our physical, mental, and spiritual assets and liabilities. Make a list in your responsibilities; write down what you want to do or be in addition to what you have already done or become. Consider what needs to happen (or stop happening) to fulfill your hopes and aspirations.

You may be reluctant to do this exercise for fear that it will make you even more depressed. But the objective of taking stock is not to create an inventory of all the things that are wrong with your life. Rather, taking stock will help to categorize the changeable and unchangeable things in your life to intentionally more forward, out of depression.

Too often, we live our lives feeling like spectators instead of active participants with the power to choose our own course. We get caught up in life’s low, whether good, bad, or neutral. Wherever the currents take us, we go. It’s as if we are on autopilot, but depression happens when our autopilot gets stuck in a negative descent. Unless we take intentional action, chances are that circumstances won’t force a change to the positive.

In other words, if you go along waiting for some “thing,” or some event to alter the course of your depression, you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s time too take control and look at where you are in your life. It’s time to actively and intentionally participate in the course of your life.

If the prospect of taking inventory of your life is overwhelming, and you don’t even know where to begin, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. Our team of depression specialists can not only help you take the first step towards recovery, but they can guide you every step of the way. If you are ready to begin your journey, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

 

Mastering Your Mood

One of the skills we teach clients is mood mastery, or how to choose their mood. All of us have a profusion of moods at our disposal at any given time. So often, we choose negative moods simply because we’ve formed a habit of submitting to their strong presence. We’ve allowed them to take shortcuts to the forefront of our moods.

Mood mastery is akin to choosing your attitude. Mood and attitude are linked; they are interrelated but separate. Mood is how we are feeling; attitude is how we respond to the mood. Choosing our attitude, our response to the mood, is one way we can actively achieve mastery over any mood. No matter what mood we initially experience, our attitude can either reinforce that mood or cause us to choose another.

Let’s be clear. Choosing a mood is not about reacting to an event or circumstance. Things happen and each of us will have a natural reaction, such as a surprise or anxiety, that may be similar to the way anyone else might react. It is what happens next that falls under the category of choosing our mood. After our initial reaction, we have the opportunity to review that reaction. Then, we can intentionally respond with a continuation of that reaction, or respond with one of our other mood choices.

Here’s a common, everyday example: We’re in our car on the way to work. Maybe we’re running a little big late. All of a sudden, the car next to us swerves into our lane, cutting us off. Our reaction is probably one of shock and surprise. It may even be anger. It’s upsetting when we feel endangered or surprised by the irresponsible action of another driver.

What happens next, however, is a choice. We can choose to take a deep breath and back off the bumper of that car, realizing it would probably be a good idea to give a little bit more room between that driver and ourselves. In other words, we can choose to respond intelligently.

We can also choose to respond angrily. An extreme example of this response has the name road rage. It begins when the actions, real or perceived, of another driver produces an angry, aggressive response. Even if it doesn’t go as far as road rage, we can still respond by using that event to fuel a bad mood. We can choose to react to that event by remaining angry about it long after the fact.

If an event such as getting cut off on the roadway can produce a day-ruining reaction, it’s not surprising that other, more serious or traumatic events can lead to a sustained bad mood lasting months or even years. Once people understand this concept, we work to support them in expanding the moods they choose from when responding to life.

Here are a few techniques to help you master your mood, regardless of what situation life presents to you:

  1. Practice Gratitude: When confronted with a challenging situation or just a “bad mood,” instead of dwelling on the negative situation, refocus to think about five things you are grateful for in your life. If you can think of a gratitude directly linked to the seemingly negative situation at hand, even better!
  2. Breathe Deeply: Before your emotions carry you away, stop and take ten, slow deep breaths. This will send oxygen throughout your body, physically calming you and putting you in a better state to deal with the situation positively.
  3. Get Active: As you probably know, exercise can be a great, natural mood booster, triggering the release of mood-boosting endorphins.
  4. Go Outside: Nature has an amazing affect on our mood, vitality, and overall health. Spending time outdoors and in nature has been proven to boost your serotonin levels and improve your mood.
  5. Help Someone: Sometimes the best thing to do when you are feeling upset, angry, or down is to do something for someone else. Find an opportunity to give of yourself, even in a small way, to help someone. Whether it is opening the door, buying someone a coffee, or paying someone a compliment, these small acts of kindness can sometimes have a greater affect on the giver than the receiver.
  6. Smile: Even if you have to fake a smile at first, try it anyways!

A good mood allows you to experience life in its fullest. But sometimes a good mood doesn’t come naturally, while unconstructive moods do. To overcome bad moods and negative thought patterns, you must turn the flow of this negative tide and strive, even if it seems like you’re paddling against a strong current, to promote optimism, hope, and joy. Once you begin putting good energy out into the world, you’ll be amazed what you’ll get in return!

The Center • A Place of HOPE has been consistently ranked among the top treatment facilities in the country for depression. If you or a loved on are struggling to overcome negative feelings and depression, call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 to talk with our team of specialists.

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

 

The Importance of Self-Talk When Overcoming Depression

The relationships around you can oftentimes influence your struggle with depression. But before you continue examining others, pause for a moment and take a good, deep look at you. Perhaps the most fundamental relationship you have is not with someone else it is with yourself. Though you interact with others, you are also in constant communication with yourself through self-talk. This inner dialogue sets the stage for how you respond to life.

When you are depressed, your self-talk can become one-sided, centered on negative dialogue of despair, regrets, frustration, confusion, and doubts. The voice of forgiveness is rarely heard, and the chorus of optimism, hope, and joy are drowned out. Take some time to think about how you treat yourself. Are you your own drainer or filler? Do you make it a habit of pointing out the positive? Or is your self-talk a constant stream of emphasizing the negative? How do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake? How do you talk to yourself when negative circumstances occur?

If your self-talk is out of balance, your ability to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself is compromised. It becomes difficult to escape the constant chatter of negativity inside your own head. Even more devastating, the more we think a certain way, the more likely we are to believe ourselves, manifesting our thoughts into reality.

Escaping this pattern of negative self-talk is a great challenge, and requires a consistent, long-term effort. It begins with simply observing your thoughts. Throughout the course of the day, try to step outside yourself and be an onlooker to your stream of consciousness. What types of thoughts are you having? Where do they come from? Where do they lead? Are they primarily positive or negative? Try not to pass any judgment on your thoughts, but just observe them as they pass through. Having awareness of your thoughts is an important first step towards shifting your thought patterns.

The next step in working toward a healthier relationship with yourself is through more realistic and truthful self-talk. There is great value in acknowledging and affirming the truth, both about situations and about yourself. By focusing on objective truths, you are able to avoid any subjective, and oftentimes negative, judgments.

Finally, another strategy to help improve the quality of your self-talk is to focus on the things you’re grateful for. When you observe your thoughts wandering towards negativity, don’t get angry with yourself. Instead, stop whatever you’re doing and think about something or someone that you are grateful for. This will immediately divert your mind from negative self-talk and redirect it towards the uplifting, positive aspects of your life.

Overcoming depression requires a multifaceted approach—both internally and externally. While there are many thought patterns that you can shift internally to help shake the feeling of depression, oftentimes people struggling with depression need external help. At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we understand the importance of holistic treatment,  If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, call to get the help you deserve.

Sustaining Optimism, Hope and Joy: Keys to Emotional Equilibrium

It is vital for your emotional equilibrium that you counterbalance anger, fear, and guilt with optimism, hope, and joy. The promise of the whole person approach means that the healthy aspects of a person can support the weaker characteristics until the whole person is strong and well. Intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life can also assist you in sustaining the life-affirming emotions of optimism, hope, and joy.

Intellectual Support

To support emotional balance, be aware of the information you are feeding your mind. Try reading a positive, uplifting book, and intentionally set aside time in your day to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek to counter the negative input we all get as a part of our day with positive influences.

Relational Support

Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who’s fun to be around. It could be a family member, coworker, teller at the bank, or anyone who brings a smile to your day. Intentionally plan to spend time with that person, even if it’s just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.

Physical Support

Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goal is two fold: to get your body moving, and to allow you to focus on something other than yourself and your surroundings. Take a little time when you’re in the neighborhood and greet your neighbors. Stop while you were at the park and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world around you.

Spiritual Support

Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer. Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects your spirit.

Each of these actions may seem unachievable, given the way you feel. Please, do them anyway. If you are emotionally out of sync, you can’t rely on how you’re feeling to determine what you do. Each of these actions, done intentionally, will help you in two ways: (1) they will assist you in focusing on optimism, hope, and joy; and (2) they will reinforce the truth that you can intentionally respond to life and it’s circumstances. You can choose. Today, choose optimism, hope, and joy.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, The Center • A Place Of Hope can help. Call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you soon.

The content of this post was derived from: 2013 Gregory L. Jantz, Turning Your Down into Up, WaterBrooks.