Although in Depression Part III, we will be talking of depression and its relation to illness’ of the physical body I’d like to share this particular quote with you now.
“Scientists have also found that suppressed emotions—especially anxiety, depression and anger—play a role in creating hypertension, a hardening of the blood vessels. So what’s the domino effect that takes us from depression to hypertension? Depression causes the brain to release norepinephrine, which stresses the adrenal glands. This in turn causes the adrenal glands to release too much cortisol, which starts a cascade of inflammatory substances called cytokines. These cytokines cause oxygen to become “free radicals” which make any cholesterol in the blood harden and cement onto the arteries, causing them to clog and making blood pressure rise into hypertension range. So there you go. The domino effect of depression to hypertension, emotions moving from the brain to the heart. And it just shows that roadblocks to emotions can cause roadblocks in the flow of blood. A similar inflammatory response is seen in people dealing with chronic frustration.” All Is Well: Heal Your Body With Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition
Another article on this blog may interest you ENERGETICS AND THE HEART CHAKRA…. here
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we often overlook caring for ourselves in ways we know we should. Instead, we keep going, feeling run down and stressed, accepting it as a ‘normal’ until the effects of prolonged stress catch up to us in the form of a break down, depression, illness or physical pain.
“Depression—pressure to survive. Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, disappointed, and disillusioned. Wanting someone to save you. Suppressed anger and resentment. Feeling and acting like a victim. Blaming others for what is not working in your life. Feeling unmotivated and uninspired. Can’t be bothered to do anything. Stuck in an old story that’s only getting gloomier.” THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness ~ Inna Segal
Everything that has happened in your life happened because of your thoughts. If you repeatedly tell yourself “I’ll never get ahead”, “I can’t afford that” “I’m stuck in this place forever”, your subconscious will take your word for it and start working to make these thoughts/words happen.
“So when opportunities knock I’m suddenly in conflict with myself, I lack courage, big time and withdraw or can’t make a decision. I find myself in a box of despair and inaction. I can’t move forward or backwards until another opportunity arrives. Then this vicious cycle begins all over again. I get enthused and fired up and when the door is about to open I withdraw and vegetate – stuck in a void until the next opportunity comes along.” (as written from Robin in an email) Thanks Robin!
Your subconscious mind accepts whatever is impressed upon it or what you consciously believe. It doesn’t have the capacity to think things out as your conscious mind does and it doesn’t argue with you, it accepts everything, good or bad. The longer your negative thoughts continue to work on your subconscious mind the sooner they will emerge and take place in your outer life.
Depression, anxiety, frustration, worrying, etc., all of these are energy drainers. They lower the flow of the life-force (chi) causing our minds and bodies to come almost to a standstill. A lot of times depression can come from our fretting and worrying about what will happen regarding a problem, rather than the actual problem itself. The crisis could be something that occurred yesterday or in the distant past that might affect our present or future but with all our fretting, worrying and whining we’re too irrational to figure out our problem.
“In particular, the fact that negative mood connects negative thoughts and memories, *even when these thoughts and memories have nothing else to do with one another*, sets us up for over-thinking. When you are in a bad mood for any reason, your mood activates–literally lights up–these nodes of your brain that hold negative memories from the past and negative ways of thinking. This makes them highly accessible: it’s easier to get there with your conscious thoughts. This is why it is easier to think of negative things when you are in a bad mood than when you are in a good mood. It is also easier to see interconnections between the bad things in your life when you are in a bad mood.” Women Who Think Too Much by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D
Changes within ourselves don’t begin at the brain level, they work on a much deeper level—the subconscious. And the subconscious holds within it all our early experiences which have a profound effect on how we present ourselves to the world.
“I was always puzzled by the fact that people have a great deal of trouble and pain when and if they are forced or feel forced to change a belief or circumstance which they hold dear. I found what I believe is the answer when I read that a Canadian neurosurgeon discovered some truths about the human mind which revealed the intensity of this problem. He conducted some experiments which proved that when a person is forced to change a basic belief or viewpoint, the brain undergoes a series of nervous sensations equivalent to the most agonizing torture.” ~ Sidney Madwed
PATTERNS OF NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
“The subconscious mind has no sense of humor, and it is important for you to know and understand this concept. You cannot make a joke about yourself and think it doesn’t mean anything. If it is a put-down about yourself, even if you are trying to be cute or funny about it, the subconscious mind accepts it as true. I don’t let people tell me put-down jokes in my workshops.” Louise L. Hay The Power is Within You
I still remember, years ago in class, changing after gym class and listening to my classmates feeding into each other’s pattern of self-pity…”Im Fat…” Girl A would say then Girl B would say “no you’re not fat, I am.” Or “I need to lose weight”, “no you don’t, I do” or Girl B would say “I’m going fail the science exam” and Girl A would say “you studied hard, I’m the one whose going fail that exam .” Have you ever heard these comments played out over and over again? Are they actually helping each other? Have you found yourself in a familiar pattern? I have. So why do we put ourselves down so frequently. Why do we wallow in low self-esteem? Why can’t we see our strengths, capabilities and the positives of our lives? Why do we complain about ourselves with the hopes of hearing a positive affirmation in return? And what if we don’t? Something I did notice was people would complain about their ‘many imperfections’ hoping desperately to hear (as these girls did) positive affirmations in return. It’s as if each put the effects their self-esteem in the lap of their friend. The bottom line is, they need to take their self-esteem and put it in their own lap.
Steve (not his real name) “I now see depression as an intense dialog between my life and “me”, and for the longest time I did not listen to my life because I didn’t believe in myself. I was still listening to all the parents’ voices telling me that I should, I could do this and that to perfect my life; I was a prisoner of old repeating beliefs”.
Steve spoke of his university days and working part-time as a waiter in a restaurant. The restaurant manager constantly put Steve down, negatively commenting about his hair, his clothes and his cleaning abilities. “I’d always cringe when the manager would walk towards me, because I anticipated being ripped to pieces by more negative comments. I realized later, the manager wanted to make me angry, so I’d blow or worse get fired. So I kept everything bottled up inside me. That’s when I started hanging around with a bad crowd, drinking and using drugs. I think it was a way to numb my feelings and to self-medicate myself. I became extremely arrogant, putting other people down; just like the manager did! I know now this was because of my insecurity, deep down inside I felt depressed, unimportant and unhappy about myself. I expected to be cheated, stepped on and depreciated by others—the comments I made were really a reflection of how I felt about myself.”
“Your subconscious is your great darkroom. It’s the secret place where your outer life develops.
Therefore it isn’t your name, your manner of dress, your parents, your neighborhood, or the automobile you drive that makes you what and who you are. You are the beliefs taking shape, image by image, light and shadow, there in your subterranean darkroom. In a moral sense, your subconscious is totally neutral, willing to look on ay habit as fitting, whether or not you or the world deems it good or bad. That is why when we blithely drop negative thoughts into our subconscious, into this darkroom of ours, time and time again, we are so surprised to see these dark thoughts finding expression in our day-to-day experiences and relationships…time and time again. As a matter of fact, it is rare to find something happening to us that we had no role in creating in this way.” The POWER of Your Subconscious MIND, Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D.
LET”S TALK ABOUT THE BRAIN…..for just a minute…
“Different chemistries are involved in learning than in unlearning. When we learn something new, neurons fire together and wire together and a chemical process occurs at the neuronal level called “long-term potentiation,” or LTP, which strengthens the connections between the neurons. When the brain unlearns associations and disconnects neurons, another chemical process occurs, called “long-term depression,” or LTD (which has nothing to do with a depressed mood state). Unlearning and weakening connections between neurons is just as plastic a process, and just as important, as learning and strengthening them. If we only strengthened connections, our neuronal networks would get saturated. Evidence suggests that unlearning existing memories is necessary to make room for new memories in our networks.” Norman Doige, M.D. The Brain that Changes Itself
I’ve learnt Oxytocin is the chemical or hormone Dr. Doige is talking about in the above quote. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and released through the pituitary gland or other parts of the brain. People who have oxytocin-rich blood are known to be compassionate, confident, happy, curious and eager. They think positively, feel good about themselves and can handle the many stresses in their life.
“There is some dispute over the idea that oxytocin is solely responsible for this new burst of learning, for changes in our existing attachments or how it might facilitate these changes. Neuroscientist Jaak Pankseep argues that oxytocin, combination with other brain chemicals, is so overwhelmingly good at reducing our feelings of separation-distress that the pain of losing previous attachments makes less of an impression that it would otherwise. This lack of distress may also free us to learn new things and from new bonds, which partially reconfiguring our existing relationships. Norman Doige, M.D. The Brain that Changes Itself
Dr. Norman ‘Shealy’ was the first I heard talk openly about Oxytocin—he created a blend of essential oils called BLISS to help raise oxytocin in the blood–enhancing mood and relieving chronic pain. I’ve never tried Bliss myself, but if you’re interested there are links at the bottom of this blog for you to look at.
I believe we can each work at raising our own oxytocin levels….
When we wake up in the morning our sympathetic nervous system sends just enough cortisol to waken us and keep us awake. Most of us rush around like crazy to zoom out the door to get to work. If we could take a little time to be more loving to ourselves, e.g., showering longer, washing, shaving longer, lovingly combing our hair, meditating, walking in nature, etc. this stimulates a positive relaxing mood by activating the hormone’s dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Release of oxytocin has a feedback effect…the more we take in and enjoy what’s around us, the more we’ll have enough ‘happy’ oxytocin in our blood for the whole day. The more intense the emotional output of oxytocin in our blood, the longer and deeper it lasts, helping us to cope with the stresses of the day.
LAW OF ATTRACTION
“Many people are often curious about why they keep attracting the same thing over and over again. They are absolutely certain that they are not sending out anything negative, yet in a specific area of their life, negative experiences keep showing up. This happens because they are sending a negative vibe non-deliberately simply through their observation of what they are currently getting.
For example, if you open your wallet and don’t see any money, by observing that you’re not seeing any money there, you are now offering a vibration of lack, fear or some other similar negative vibration. Although you’re not doing it on purpose, the Law of Attraction is simply responding to your vibration and giving you more of the same. It doesn’t know what action you are taking that is causing you to generate this negative vibration. You might be remembering, or pretending, or daydreaming, or in this case just merely observing.” LAW OF ATTRACTION ~ Michael J. Losier
Every single moment you experience a mood or feeling, you’re sending out from your energy, a negative or positive vibration. There is a universal energy around you that humbly responds to the energy you’re emitting right at this moment. This energy does not judge or grudge it simply reacts and gives back the same as what you’re sending out, positive or negative.
“Light” and “Dark”, Positive and Negative are simply judgments of our human minds …so are “good” and “evil”…in fact, they both mean pretty much the same….they each express a like or dislike. If we were to toss a coin ‘head or tails’, we could not possibly attract the head side of the coin without the tail side coming with it. Positive/negative, light/dark, good/evil are one piece of the whole..they are needed in relation to each other otherwise neither could function. There is a pulse in the universe that constantly moves like a ping bong ball. flowing back and forth, slowly at first…then as consciousness and awareness become a part of the process the energy starts moving faster and faster. This creates tremendous tension between the two opposites until a spark is created and something is created, conceived. We cannot have light/dark male/female without the other, they are magnetically attracted to each other….nothing will get off the ground or seek emotional expression without their cooperation. On another level, you could see or call this magnetic force as a romantic attraction and attraction is an important ingredient to any creation.
“When you find yourself in a crisis where everything seems at the point of breakdown, avoid reacting aggressively, getting defensive, or trying to combat the problem head-on. Like being caught in quicksand, the more you struggle, the more you’ll be sucked in. Surviving difficult challenges depends upon your ability to stay centered, focused, and as calm as possible. Reacting emotionally to a crisis will only compound the difficulties. Be firm, yet flexible, and work steadily to resolve the situation. It may take a good deal of time and energy than you expected but adopting a nondogmatic approach and keeping things in perspective is the solution now…..
Be as creative as possible and stay very alert while plotting a course through this minefield of difficulties. Only by deeply trusting in yourself and the power of intuitive guidance can you find a resolution. Even if you disagree with what others have to say, do not react or argue, but stay open and hear them out. When a breakthrough seems imminent, remember to stay alert. The real moment of resolution will become apparent in due course; it cannot be forced.” TAO Oracle ~ Ma Deva Padma
When we dig out old beliefs, losses, pains, promises, hurts, dreams and people who programmed us to see the world as they saw it, we will release expectations and assumptions and discover a huge storehouse, a hidden power of incredible knowledge. You don’t need to learn this knowledge, you already own it but only you can search for it.
“We are quite ignorant of the real power of our habits until we try to give them up.” ~ C. S. Lewis
I wrote an article on Creating Your Own Affirmations here…
“When a depression comes on, it replaces anything else that I have going. Life just stops. There is no point, no purpose, no hope. What I hold onto is the passage of time. Everything passes with time, and in time I’ll be released, seemingly by just having waited it through. When you’ve been as confined by grief as I have been, you whole body feels as if it’s been played upon by another person. After an experience like that, you feel like you’ve just recovered from a long illness. You appreciate some things, like weather and the colors that you want to wear. You feel privileged to have lived out so much. Tragedy will set you apart, in some way it will single you out, because you’ve looked at death and survived.” Helen Palmer
Most of us do our best to avoid uncomfortable or painful feelings, especially when others are around and frustratingly say ‘that’s all we hear…just get over it with ya’. When I avoid awareness of what I am feeling, I also have to avoid how my body is expressing the feeling. Usually this involves me partially or completely stopping the movement(s) that would normally express my feelings. If I’m angry and begin to make a fist and tense my arm and shoulders as if to hit, I can only stop this by opposing the movement of that tense muscle. The tension signals my brain that I need to back-off, or direct my thoughts and feelings elsewhere.
We usually express our feelings and experiences through our body posture and movements. When we feel joy, our whole body moves—smiling, dancing, singing, etc. In fear, our whole body either becomes frozen and tense or immediately runs away. With depression, it’s like a black cloud that won’t lift; we may not want to get out of bed, hiding ourselves under the covers, coming out only to go to the bathroom or gravitate towards sugary starchy foods to stimulate our senses, but these foods drain more of our energy and we find ourselves putting on weight.
Have you ever tried uplifting inspirational affirmations, only to become more depressed and frustrated because they seem to say the opposite to what you’re feeling? Repeatedly saying an affirmation you ‘don’t believe’, will ‘not’ make you believe it—in fact it could create an even greater resistance. Why? Because, wanting to change what we’ve believed so long to be true, the first thing we hit head-on is our own frustration and doubt.
Affirmations expose us to an intense dialogue or series of arguments that shuttle back and forth within ourselves; we work with them from several different angles and notice ‘I’m not listening….or is it I don’t believe it myself….or is it I don’t believe in myself? Steve who we met earlier, struggled with his inner calling…“ affirmations for me, don’t work…I’m constantly hearing all the voices in my past telling me I should be doing this and should be doing that….I’m a prisoner of my past….I’ve actually been looking for a key to a door that has no walls around it.’
“Like most of us, I didn’t always find the pathway easy and smooth because just babbling affirmations didn’t work all the time, and I couldn’t understand why. I asked myself, “What am I doing wrong?” Immediately, I blamed myself. Was this one more example of me not being good enough? That was a favorite old belief of mind.
At the time my teacher, Eric Pace, would look at me and refer to the idea of resentment. I didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. Resentment? Me? Surely, I didn’t have any resentments. After all, I was on my pathway, I was spiritually perfect. How little I could see myself then!” The POWER is WITHIN YOU ~ Louise L. Hay
What exactly did Steve mean when he said he was ‘looking for a key to a door that has no walls around it’. When I worked with Steve’s energy, I noticed his toes were curled under and wouldn’t release. Often when the lower back is in pain and the feet are not able to relax, it’s an indication of not feeling safe or grounded with the world. In this case it felt Steve was searching and struggling too hard to be different from who he was. Our need ‘to do’ is often an expression of our deep human need to feel accepted. Unfortunately, when we work unconsciously to gain love and acceptance from others we always seem to experience tension and fear that we still won’t get accepted (usually a closed door in a dream indicates feelings of rejection). Basically, I told Steve to stop worrying about ‘what the others might think or say’. It also felt the ‘aspiring affirmations’ he was saying to himself were way too high and out of his reach (the key?). They were causing him to feel as if he was coming apart at the seams and they weren’t working on releasing old thought patterns and blocked emotions. I told him he needed to find a more subtler yet purposeful approach….kind of like watching or feeling the soft slow-opening of a flower. But to feel that flower unfurl, we need first to ground at the roots. We need to tap into that deeper level of our being and to our own inner rhythm.
Another thing we talked about was the anxious feeling of getting results…it tends to take us out of the present and we lose the pleasure of that moment. We need to relax into the moment and not have too many thoughts on the future. Steve needed to accept that where he was right now, was fine…when we can relax into knowing nothings wrong where we are, we can let go of a big sigh, and just relax.
AN AWARENESS EXERCISE
We all tend to build up an image of how things really are, an image of who and what we are. This image of ourselves might be somewhat true, but there are always aspects of ourselves that don’t fit this image. If we hang onto this image tightly, we restrict and deaden ourselves, and we prevent ourselves from discovering the parts of our lives that are unknown and alienated. If you can let go, even a little of your idea of who you think you are, you have a chance to discover more of what you are actually experiencing at this moment. It can even be a way of finding new ways of being and discovering things about yourself you may not be aware of.
THE THREE A’s
Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment
“The formula is simple. Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built. Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow. From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts. It is from this place that everything else evolves.”
AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go. If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions. To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.” Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; it always determines your next move.
ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined. By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves. The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now.
Mentally fighting our current situation with judgments such as “I should be better” drains our energy and self-esteem. Without acceptance of where we are, there is no possibility of moving in a direction of our choice or of every enjoying ourselves fully.
For example, until some acknowledges and accept a current situation of being overweight, he or she cannot choose the goal of thinness and enjoy the process of moving toward it.
3. ADJUSTMENT – Once we are aware and accept where we are, can we go on to make the changes in our habits that we’d like to make and bring us to a greater state of health.
The keys to the stage of Adjustment are patience and moderation. Often we go too fast and become discouraged when we can’t change everything overnight, or else we think that the changes needed are so great that we’ll never be able to make them and discourage ourselves before we start.
This whole process for both these exercises is like playing a game with our subconscious mind, tricking it to give up its hold on old, habit patterns.
ANOTHER SIMPLE EXERCISE
All you need for this particular exercise is a pen and paper handy to jot down what your senses are showing you…..
Whenever you become aware of your body and its position, you immediately experience relaxation and a flow of energy because you are listening to it more closely than before. You will become aware of your presence, your form and your communication with your body and your surroundings. At first you may be restless and feel as though you are thinking thousands of thoughts…don’t worry…if you subconscious is trying to remind of you of things you need to do, write them down , acknowledging you will take care of them afterwards…this will help to relax you.
As you begin any type of visualization or meditation you may notice old or hidden pain rising from your subconscious. If you find you suddenly feel angry, depressed or frightened, try to gently allow yourself to feel the experience without resistance and let go of trying to make sense of your feelings.
Sit or lie down and find a comfortable position….close your eyes and let go…notice any tension…see if you can release this tension or adjust your body so that you are more comfortable…Focus your attention on your breathing and continue to let go…Become aware of your breathing….feel the air moving through your nose…feel it move down your throat and into your lungs…and notice how your chest and belly expand and contract gently as you breath…now imagine that instead of you breathing air that the air is breathing you. Imagine that the air is gently moving into your lungs….and then slowly withdrawing…You don’t have to do anything at all because the air is doing the breathing for you….Just experience this for a while…then become aware of any images, thoughts, feeling, memories and jot them down with the pen and paper you have nearby.
In this particular section we’re going to discover where we are now in order to reconnect our selves with the purpose of our lives. It may be we’ll find ourselves going back to our past but the goal is not to lose ourselves in old memories but to observe and draw them out of our inner being and out into the open. As you do this exercise record what you visually see, feel, discover and experience. Events of your life may reveal themselves as a flowing and continuous movement like a river moving through many changes and phases. Or they may not appear in any chronological order..don’t worry about this, just let the images flow and record them as they come to you. Then again, you may receive a kaleidoscope of disconnected images….again just let it flow.
After you’ve written down what you visualized or felt, heard, etc., choose one that you feel is unclear or unfinished. It may be in the form of impatience, fear, anger, irritation, guilt, or blame. Allow yourself to relive the situation in your mind’s eye. See the person(s) involved and rexperience the thoughts that come. Let the emotions flow over you, as it were happening now. In the privacy of your own room, you don’t have to control or hide your feelings, just let them envelop you….sink into them without judgment.
After a few moments notice what’s happening you to physically. Has your breathing changed? Do you feel hot or cold? Is any part of your body tense (tight, jaw, clenched fist, tight abdomen, frown?) What are your thoughts? Are they clear, objective or confused and blurred?
Ask yourself how you feel about the person(s) involved? Can you clearly see a solution? What is it you wanted but didn’t get? Do you know exactly what to do next to remove the stress? Can you accept what happened or do you need to do something more to remove the stress? What do you want to do right now to feel better?
Look back at this stressful time and look at yourself physically. Were you tense, over-tired from work or lack of sleep? Did you over-eat or eaten foods you know didn’t agree with you? Did you have coffee, alcohol, cigarettes or other stimulants? On a regular basis do you get out and enjoy yourself? Do you get enough air and exercise?
When these answers are clear to you, slowly open your eyes and write them down. See where you can make changes—small ones—one at a time. If you need to resolve something with someone, then resolve in your mind you will do it. Finish it.
In DEPRESSION Part III we’ll be looking at depression and its effects on our health. We’ll look at ways to combat it, for example, let look at laughter….
“Good spirits are a vital part of life. Denying joy is one of the greatest deprivations on this planet.” Norman Cousins
Have you ever laughed so hard tears of joy run down your face, your belly hurts and your cheeks freeze up. Studies have shown that laughing is one of nature’s best antidotes for depression and illness. The physical act of laughing causes an increase in the body’s blood flow and oxygen supply, and gives a workout with the diaphragm giving the stomach and intestines a good massage as well as massaging the heart with its up and down motion. With laughter our stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are reduced, blood pressure drops and our anxieties fade as we reactivate and discover the child within us.
Play and movement brings our minds into the moment….like children we make fun out of everything we do…concentrated and absorbed on what we’re doing. With no roles to play or conflicting attitudes, our bodies and minds relax making us feel in harmony with the world and people around us. Laughter creates an explosion of goods feelings, positivity and effortless connectedness. We let go of life and feel in harmony with the world and the people around us…..
Laughing out loud and oxytocin http://lifescapecounseling.com/2010/04/10/laughing-out-loud-and-oxytocin/
Laughter is the best emotional medicine http://www.livestrong.com/article/12141-laughter-best-emotional-medicine/
Working Through Emotional Disorder http://rachelmiller1511.wordpress.com/tag/louise-hay/
How Depressed People Think ~ 17 thought distortions you can avoid http://www.healyourlife.com/author-robert-l-leahy/2010/08/lifeshelp/get-healthy/how-depressed-people-think
The Abraham Hicks Guidance Scale http://mariaerving.com/how-to-use-the-abraham-hicks-emotional-guidance-scale/
Emotional stress scale http://www.stress-relief-teacher.com/abraham-hicks.html
Dr. Norman Doige http://www.normandoidge.com/normandoidge.com/MAIN.html
Dr. Norman Doige “The Brain That Changes Itself” www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3TQopnNXBU
Norman Shealy’s website https://www.normshealy.com/Default.asp
Dr. Norman Shealy, and the Rings of Fire http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32580
*I’m moving at the end of this month. With all that’s involved with packing and unpacking, the third article on depression most probably will come out in September, 2013. However, I will always answer all your emails.
Have a great summer everyone!!!