Depression and anxiety are epidemic in our culture. There are a variety of ways to treat depression and anxiety, depending on their origin and severity. Together we will select the most appropriate approaches and co-create an individualized plan for you. Some of the approaches that are used for addressing depression and anxiety are described below.
Many people turn first to medication, which has been clinically shown to be most effective in treating major depression and no better than placebo treatments (sugar pills) for mild to moderate depression. My approach when treating anxiety and depression is holistic in nature. I believe the most optimal treatment will recognize the interplay of the body, the mind (our mental habits), our social relationships and our spiritual nature.
Lifestyle changes that encourage healthy sleep habits, aerobic exercise, social connections and proper nutrition are of critical importance. In addition to these essentials, clinical research supports the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and stress management, bright light therapy, meditation and certain aspects of mindfulness practice.
It is important to remember that our physiology and emotional state will tend to mirror our internal thought processes. Simply put, negative thoughts are a principal cause of inner turmoil, anxiety and depression. Toxic mental patterns lead to negative self talk, rumination (worrying) about events that rarely occur, social isolation and fear. These patterns can feel so compelling that we unconsciously dwell on them, and accept them as if they are part of our essential nature.
Until we are able to recognize and interrupt the progression of such thoughts and perceived threats, we will tend to adopt a “what if” approach to life. We can imagine and even expect that a catastrophe is lying right around the corner. This leads to a faulty interpretation of our current situation and a fearful approach to living life.
Anxiety and depression often lead to exhaustion, procrastination, social withdrawal and despair. We adopt self-defeating patterns of being and relating with ourselves and with others. Because our deeper needs are not being met, we tend to feel powerless and perhaps attempt to control or manipulate others, rather than embracing new solutions. The real tragedy is that we continue to suffer unnecessarily and lead lives alienated from our own deepest humanity.
While we can’t stop random thoughts from popping into our heads, we can, with increased awareness, decide whether to proceed with a particular thought, or choose differently. Working with someone who can help us become more self-observant allows us to begin recognizing and changing toxic mental habits. We can then begin living our lives, rather that living in our minds.
Copyright © 2014, Chuck Barr. All Rights Reserved
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