So motivated by the latest research on depression, I just had to write beyond depression. As a depression specialist, I know it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to remove the shackles of depression from our lives.
Recent research revealed that one in six men and one in four women will suffer depression. One in 20 will endure Bipolar (formally ‘manic depression’) and depression is now the #1 health concern in Australia.
According to the Black Dog Institute, Depression is a common experience. We have all felt ‘depressed’ about a friend’s cold shoulder, misunderstandings in our marriage, tussles with teenage children – sometimes we feel ‘down’ for no reason at all. Though we can move beyond depression; it doesn’t have to be an illness.
Depression can become an illness when:
- The mood state is severe.
- It lasts for 2 weeks or more.
- It interferes with our ability to function at home or at work.
- Signs of a depressed mood include: Lowered self-esteem (or self-worth)
- Change in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or broken sleep
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Inability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety
- Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
- Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can’t enjoy what’s happening now, nor look forward to anything with pleasure. Hobbies and interests drop off
- Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments
- Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
- Poor concentration and memory. Some people are so impaired that they think that they are becoming demented
- Reduced motivation: it doesn’t seem worth the effort to do anything, things seem meaningless
- Lowered energy levels.
What can you do to shift depression? 7 Tips to Terrific!
With over 10,000 hours of working clients to move beyond their issues including depression, Rik Schnabel soon became known as “Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer.” A reputation he gained through untraining depression and other long-standing issues. He became the specialist who psychiatrists, psychologists and councillors sent their toughest clients. He now also teaches his specialist techniques to his NLP and Life Coaching students.
To help you now, here are some simple things we can do ourselves to move beyond depression.
Beyond Depression Tip #1: Entertain Changing Your Beliefs
To move beyond depression, the first thing is to understand is, if we believe we have depression, we do. Now that might not make a huge amount of sense right now, though understand that all our beliefs are not necessarily true. We only believe they are and will typically act as if they are true. Our beliefs are always true for us though not always right.
Rather than getting into a justification process to prove that you have depression, simply entertain the fact that you don’t know for sure. Now I know that some people might call this naïve or suggest that we’re in denial, though here is where intelligence or getting things right is not our greatest asset. Simply ask yourself, “What if I’m completely wrong about me having depression?” “What if I really don’t have depression?” And simply pay these questions some attention. While that won’t completely move you beyond depression, it destabilises the belief somewhat and that’s a start.
Beyond Depression Tip #2: Change Your Posture and Move Your Body
We can massively shift our psychology by shifting our physiology. When our body moves it tells our brain that something’s happening while people who have depression sometimes believe that nothing’s happening. Creating this conflict can sometimes interrupt the depressive pattern.
As long as you’re in good health; run at your top speed, like a lion is chasing you for 30 seconds. This will have your thoughts shift from your inner world to your outer world and into self preservation. It might sound crazy, but so is depression.
Try this. If you’re sitting or standing, immediately straighten your posture, puff out your chest and ask yourself, “Do I feel happier or sadder when I do this?” It is highly likely you’ll instantly feel better. Now try walking around with your chest puffed out for a couple of minutes and notice how you feel when you do.
Beyond Depression Tip #3: Reconnect with Friends
The seasons can influence how we feel, particularly when we move from Summer into the colder months and spend more time indoors and less time socialising and interacting with our friends. Conversations are a great way to reduce the intensity of any issue as our closest friends will usually want to listen to our problems and to help us resolve them.
Get on the phone and arrange a time to catch up with your friends. While talking on the phone can help, it is often better to meet face to face particularly for visual and kinesthetic people who need to see or physically connect. It’s amazing what a hug can do for you. Though a word of caution here. Don’t create a co-dependant relationship where all you do is get into a moaning and groaning pattern with someone every time you meet or you’ll make them depressed. I’m serious. This is not beneficial for either of you.
Beyond Depression Tip #4: The 20 Minute Grin
It takes 43 facial muscles to form a frown on your face and only 17 to generate a smile. Though you can activate up to 53 muscles for a really cheesy grin. Again shifting your physiology by using specific muscles can send signals to your brain to release a gush of biochemistry to shift your depression.
One study found that patients who were diagnosed with clinical depression were asked to look into a mirror and smile at themselves for 20 minutes a day. It was reported that after four weeks, every single participant was no longer clinically depressed.
Robert Zajonc, a psychologists whose scientific research proved that smiling leads to physiological changes in the brain. Smiling cools the blood in the face, which in turn creates a feeling of happiness. The very act of smiling releases our ‘happy chemical’ serotonin which sends a message to our body to get happier. So, even a smile that starts out fake, could lead to genuine happiness. Try it right now as you’re reading this. Put on a little smile and notice a small gush of serotonin.
Make a cheesy grin and while you might feel a little silly doing so, persist and notice how you feel. Do the same thing in front of a mirror or at your reflection from a window at intervals during the day for up to 20 minutes and monitor your feelings. Perhaps place a mirror at your desk if you work in an office or bring a small mirror with you to work and when no-one’s looking, grin at the mirror and time yourself. Keep doing it until all your ‘mirror sessions’ equal 20 minutes each day. Psychologist Professor Diener, has found in his research on Subjective Well-Being that happy people live 9 years longer than depressed people, so it’s well worth it!
Beyond Depression Tip #5: Meditate for 20 Minutes a Day
My personal favourite meditation style is Transcendental Meditation or ‘TM’ for short though you can simply sit quietly and not engage with your thoughts, just observe them and you’ll gain the benefits of TM. The benefits of meditation are immediate and increase over time and with practice. The technique’s positive effects for mind, body and relationships have been verified by hundreds of research studies conducted at top medical schools and published in over 350 peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Turn off your mobile phone and any other alarms or distractions. Simply create a daily ritual where you just sit down in a comfortable position in a comfortable spot, close your eyes and aim to resist thinking. If you have a thought, just observe it, don’t buy into it at all. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes each day and after 2 or 3 days you will already start feeling the benefits which are many, though an inner peace will typically be the most obvious benefit.
Beyond Depression Tip #6: Record Your Favourite Up-Beat Songs
According to a Stanford study “The Rewards of Music Listening: Response and Physiological Connectivity of the Mesolimbic System,” listening to classical music provides physiological rewards. Blood flow increases to several brain areas, activating autonomic, cognitive, and emotional centres, while another area of the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that, among other things, affects mood and the ability to feel pleasure. This dopamine release, occurring as the other brain areas interact, allows a heightened sense of well-being.
Upbeat music creates so many wonderful benefits as long as the music doesn’t have a down-beat theme to it. Avoid heavy metal, death metal, thrash, punk styles of music for their aggressive and cynical nature.
Go through your collection until you find a group of songs that cause you to feel good or at least have you feeling a little better. Make a habit of listening to your collection first thing in the morning – as long as you don’t create a neighbourhood dispute.
Beyond Depression Tip #7: Help Someone
Depression is usually a result of far too much inward focus, in fact it is difficult to create depression without focusing ones attention inward. So although it might feel like the last thing someone with depression might want to do, help someone in need, someone other than you.
You could help the homeless, work in soup kitchen, help someone at school that needs a friend or some advice, help a neighbour, anyone!
In the last half a century, nearly 200 individuals were followed by psychologists as part of one of the longest-running social-science studies of our time. The research, which began in Oakland, California, in the 1920s, combined semi-annual interviews until participants graduated from high school, and has since followed them at intervals of 10 years. An astounding 90 percent of people have stayed in the study, giving it coherence and offering insights into what constitutes a happy life. According to psychologist and researcher Paul Wink of Wellesley College, who oversees the study, says, one of the keys is generativity – the ability to give to others.
According to Wink, the protective effect of giving on mental and physical health buffers an entire lifetime. Wink found that teens who scored high on generativity in high school were healthier and happier half a century later. “There was a strong correlation with mental health in particular,” he says.
A last resort…
I know this will require some work, though in my view, it’s worth it. However if our “7 Tips to Terrific” haven’t helped, then consider contacting our Director of Coaching and Training at Life Beyond Limits. He’s known as Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer and his name is Rik Schnabel. He has worked with people with depression for over 10 years with great success. Not one of his clients has worked with Rik for more than 8 weeks, typically his clients move out of depression in less than 5 coaching sessions, many are greatly improved from just one single session.
His methods are not typical of what you would expect from a psychologist though are highly effective in helping his clients shift their depression. He uses Ericksonnian Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguisitic Programming and Neural Repatterning techniques, together with pragmatic advice and provides ‘homeplay’ for all his clients.
Sessions are conducted via Skype, telephone or in person. He can also be contacted via Life Beyond Limits at +613 8669 1121 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Initial consultations are not chargeable and session rates are discussed prior to the initial sessions.