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In her book, Depression Is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs, A. B. Curtiss argues that most people can control the syndrome without the use of drugs and without the burden of endless therapy. In her book, she draws from her own experiences with depression, anecdotes from her practice, and a wealth of information about the history of the treatment of depression.[i] She acknowledges that depression in its most extreme forms is best treated through pharmaceutical and psychoanalytical intervention.
Clinical depression is a disease. I don’t wish to add to the stigmatization of depression.The stigmatization of depression is why approximately 80% of the people with depression don’t seek treatment.[ii]
If you have depression, I strongly encourage you to seek treatment. If you are unwilling to seek treatment, I hope that the information contained in this writing will help you. Depression is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Tony Robbins says he suffered from depression but was able to snap himself out of it by shifting his physical state and focusing on gratitude. I have found that gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions like fear, anger, frustration, and hopelessness. It is difficult to feel them while simultaneously being grateful.
“People who focus on what they can’t control are usually depressed, frustrated, angry, overwhelmed and lost.” – Tony Robbins
His assertion that we can shift our mental state through changing our physical state is supported by science. Physiology has been shown to influence our psychology. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects. It is linked to lowered blood pressure, reduced levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and increased levels of endorphins and dopamine.[iii]Tony Robbins says that a research study at the University of California, Berkeley, asked clinically depressed people to smile for 20-minutes a day. He claims that after 20 days the study subjects no longer required medication.
Some have suggested that the paradigm we have been taught all our lives, that we smile when we are happy is backward. I don’t believe it is backward. I believe that it works both ways. I believe that our psychology and physiology are linked together in a push-pull relationship, with each affecting the other
Dr. John Ratey, a practicing psychiatrist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, presents numerous cases of scientific research and studies to demonstrate exercises ability to treat depression in his book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
In Britain, doctors now use exercise as a first-line treatment for depression, but unfortunately, it is underutilized in the United States. Many doctors still prefer to prescribe a pill to an exercise regiment.
“If everyone knew that exercise worked as well as Zoloft, I think we could put a real dent in the disease.” Dr. John Ratey
Exercise boosts dopamine, which improves mood, motivation, feelings of wellness and attention. Daily exercise increases dopamine storage in the brain and also triggers the production of enzymes that create dopamine receptors in the reward center of the brain, and this provides a feeling of satisfaction because we have accomplished something.
Serotonin is equally affected by regular exercise. Serotonin levels affect our mood, impulse control, and self-esteem. Frequent exercise improves our mood by making us feel better about ourselves. Exercise has been shown to help lift people out of depression. In many instances, people are able to treat their depression without medication.
Exercise immediately elevates levels of norepinephrine in certain areas of the brain. It wakes up the brain and gets it going and improves self-esteem, which is one component of depression. [iv]
Tony Robbins believes that depression is caused by a habitual pattern of thinking. Focusing on what we cannot control; focusing on what we don’t want, instead of what we already have.
He says he has helped many severely depressed people and has never lost anyone to suicide. He doesn’t have much faith in psychologists. He suggests we can solve many of our own issues. I remember him joking ‘How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, but it will take a lot of time, cost a lot of money, and the light bulb has to want to change.’
In this powerful video he is able to get to the root of this woman’s depression. First, he identifies the patterns she uses to achieve a depressed state, her thoughts, her posture, and her tone of voice. Next, he discovers the human needs that she is satisfying by getting herself in a depressed state. Last, he helps her to change her patterns, to avoid becoming depressed.
Our habits shape us physically and emotionally. Change your habits, change your life!
Best wishes and Best Health!
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[i] John J. Ratey (Author), Eric Hagerman (Contributor) Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (January 1, 2013)
A.B. Curtiss, Depression Is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs, Hyperion; First Printing edition (October 3, 2001)
[ii] CAITLIN FLYNN, 8 Reasons The Stigma About Depression Needs To End, Because It’s A Disease, Not A Choice, July 7 2015