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Relief from depression

Nov. 30, 2010
Depression affects the health and well-being of about 19 million Americans, following them like dark clouds into their homes, workplaces, schools, and relationships. Christina Grant, PhD, says the good news is that depression can be corrected and managed ... even healed.
You know those blue moods characterized by gloom, feelings of inadequacy, sadness, loss of interest in activities and pleasure, and lack of energy? They affect the health and well-being of about 19 million Americans, following them like dark clouds into their homes, workplaces, schools, and relationships. Typically, what we call depression is linked to our habitual mental states. The way we think affects our mental balance — thoughts about the world, others, ourselves, our relationships, health, job, and finances. You might have heard that depression is a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions continually alter our brain chemistry. Even air, water, electro-pollution, sugar, chemical-laden processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and a lack of protein absorption lead to chemical imbalances in the brain and the entire body. Depression can also be caused by a loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crises, financial worries, even unexpected change. So many things in life can create the state of gloom! The good news is it can be corrected and managed. It can be healed, which is slightly different from treating it. Treating it likely involves the use of antidepressant drugs. There is nothing wrong with that in severe cases, but in typical gloomy-mood cases there are steps you can take on your behalf to naturally shift your brain chemistry. Dealing with the source of depression is the key. Ideally we would use imbalances in the body or mind as messages to help us resolve underlying conflict within ourselves. When we ignore these messages, we ignore the calls to wake up further into life. In the case of depression, sometimes this call is nothing more than to get your body moving through exercise. This alone often dissipates the clouds.Depression arrives in your life with a meaning. Our task is to ask, “What is the meaning or message?” Is it simply, “Get out and exercise,” or is it something deeper? To misunderstand the message can be excruciating, leading to feelings of futility and hopelessness. However, for those who listen and begin to understand, life expands, lightens, and develops more meaning. Delving into this deeper meaning is the path of healing.Overcoming depression might require personal change, sometimes a lifestyle change, but in many cases a willingness to listen, hear, and then act on the body’s messages is all the change that is needed. Fear is usually what prevents people from taking this step. But with a little courage, a whole new bright world can open up.There are many opportunities to help you become vital, strong, positive, hopeful, and joyous: journaling, exercise, meditation, visualization, being in nature, proper nutrition, the use of mood-lifting supplements and essential oils, letting go of the unrealistic expectations of others, fully becoming your authentic self, and altering your thoughts toward the positive. Joyful people are creating their lives the way they want to live them. They feel a bit of power over their own life. They have a core of contentment. They shape their reality with their thoughts, hopes, and attitudes. Anyone with that dark, cloudy gloom can experience hope and joy again. Harnessing the willingness to listen, hear, and act upon depression’s messages is an important step. To uncover a more authentic way of living is another step. Who among you can resist taking this journey?
Dr. Christina Grant is a holistic healer and spiritual counselor who works in person and by phone. She has helped hundreds of people attain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Her writing is published nationwide. She is co-author of “The Eight Minute Muse” and is completing a book with a fresh perspective on women’s health. Her Web site is