Depression lies behind a considerable proportion of the world’s health care problems. Increasingly, illnesses the medical community categorized as purely “physical” are now found to be linked to depression. They include (as of this writing) diabetes, some forms of cancer, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and even eye diseases. And this does not include depression’s role in addiction and conditions arising directly from a negative lifestyle such as obesity, lack of exercise, isolation, and stress. Depression is a symptom of underlying social problems as surely as the plague of the Middle Ages was due to poor public hygiene. And depression’s grasp is as pervasive within each community and far more wide reaching geographically. Below are seven steps in overcoming depression
1. IDENTIFY AND DEFEAT THE INNER SABOTEUR
The first step in peeling back the layers of depression is to see how you have re-created the very circumstances that will re trigger earlier traumas. These conditions keep you captive to and even exacerbate the illness. You don’t do this on purpose; in fact “you” don’t do it at all. These self-defeating
beliefs and behaviors are learned and can be unlearned. They are not you, but they are part of a self-reinforcing system that has a life of its own. Its goal is to maintain your depression. We call it the inner saboteur.
Three Actions to Arrest the Inner Saboteur
* Identify your program.
* Recognize how your habitual patterns show up day to day.
* Make choices that counter the program.
2. RECONNECT TO YOUR BODY:
Trauma, the root cause of most depression, lodges in the body and sets up a self-reinforcing system. Trauma and depression manifest themselves in the body in three ways. First, many physical problems, such as illness and injuries, can be directly associated with or caused by a mood disorder. Second, childhood trauma imprints itself on the body as poor posture and maladaptive movement patterns. Finally, childhood abuse and dysfunctional social messages combine to create faulty body image, low
self-esteem, and a range of related disorders.
3. CREATE HEALING RELATIONSHIPS
A relationship is the mutual satisfaction of need. The problem is that most of us don’t know what our real needs are. Or if we do, we are afraid to tell others. As a result, many of us find ourselves in relationships that do not fulfill our basic needs, and leave us feeling dis-empowered, isolated, frustrated, and depressed. Lacking clear boundaries and concrete guidelines for communicating our needs, we may cut ourselves off from the very source that could prevent and heal depression a supportive relationship environment.
4. ELEVATE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
You can’t be happy or optimistic if you don’t feel good about yourself. And you can’t feel good about yourself in a vacuum. Self-esteem is a function of your perception of how other people view you. It will rise when you’re praised, treated as important, or given appropriate attention. It will fall when one of these doesn’t happen. Society has a vested interest in your lack of self-esteem. If you feel bad about yourself, you’ll work harder (although less effectively), stand up for yourself less often, and you’ll buy more unnecessary stuff. Real self-esteem comes from the support, praise, and encouragement you get from people around you. These enable you to overthrow the negative beliefs about your-self planted in childhood.
5. UNCOVER YOUR COMPETENCE
One of the main components of satisfaction in life is what is called a “sense of competence.” It’s difficult to feel any lasting self-esteem without it. Indeed, when researchers at the University of Missouri set out to identify the satisfying elements of satisfying events, a sense of competence turned out to be high on the list. What is a sense of competence, this important component of value happiness? How can you get it? It is the inner knowledge that you do some things really well, such as raising your children to be happy and healthy people, painting exquisite watercolors of local scenes, making things that other people find beautiful or useful, or even perhaps heading a large corporation. ? How do you free yourself from the depression and pessimism that come with a lack of this sense or a competence that is so fragile that it may be lost at any time?
6. ACCESS THE POWER OF SHARED PURPOSE
Each of us needs a sense of purpose to be depression free and optimistic and, according to the latest research by Julienne E. Bower of UCLA, for our immune system to function properly. We need to believe that we have a reason for being here and that our existence matters. But in the jumble of life, and with the pressures of career and family, advertising, and social obligations, we are in danger of losing that belief.
7. DEEPEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE DIVINE
Spirituality, along with functional relationships, is the ultimate antidepressant. We are hardwired for spirituality just as we are genetically programmed to be social animals. Our spirituality is part of our essential humanity. This does not mean that you have to believe in a religious creed or undergo rigorous spiritual practices to be happy and emotionally well. It does mean that freedom from depression and the leap to optimism can involve a spiritual renewal.