Depression and Value Based Life Style
Depression is that state of mind when you feel helpless, hapless and hopeless. Most of depression results from being out of touch with your innerself in the sense of feeling dead inside yet very much intouch with the innerself in constantly focusing on what is wrong or what I’m doing wrong. Often depression results from not having enough focus or direction in life. You feel adrift and you are at the whims of others, with little or no control over what will happen to you. (helpless) You make decisions based on what others tell you rather than listening to the directions of an inner compass. The inner compass is spinning and a direction doesn’t exist. (hapless) Your decisions lack conviction and you just want some release so you turn to alcohol or drugs, of any kind, for solace. (helpless)
Having values in your life essentially stops most of the depressive symptoms before they become a state of depression. Yes, you will have ups and downs of life, this is part of being human. But values give you a constant direction in your life, with boundaries, which are automatically tied into your values. When you have a constant direction and have established boundaries to protect you from the influences of others or your own desire for misdirection you remain on course, safe and secure you are progressing in a manner both healthy and functional.
Values designed to keep you away from feelings of depression are:
1. I will take care of my body. This means you literally will do whatever it takes to maintain a healthy body. This includes exercise, eating right, sleeping right and maintaining an appropriate body weight. It also means I don’t use drugs beyond that proscribed by my doctor, I don’t over indulge in alcohol and I take care of physical things necessary for my age, i.e. physical checkups, cancer checkups, etc. It also means I’m aware of the health problems indemic to my family (diabetes, specific types of cancer, etc.) and I take precautions to prevent these health problems.
2. I will live an active life style. This means you will get off the couch and interact with others. It means you will get outside as often as possible and engage in some form of games, (social or formal) picnics, cookouts, reunions, etc. It means you limit the amount of time you spend playing computer games, watching TV, surfing the net, eating, etc. It means you will take an inventory of your life and look honestly at who your friends are and what you do together. You may find you don’t have many friends or have lost contact with the friends you once had. It means you will move “being active” way up on your priority list.
3. I will exercise my belief in God. This means you will start to pray and exercise your belief in something greater than you. A belief in someone who has a greater understanding of the universe, your life, your purpose in life and your greater abilities helps to calm your soul. It means you know there is somewhere else you can look for help and He is always willing to help those who ask. But, you have got to ask. This is faith. Faith is essential to believing something will help. So have faith in and believe in you by applying the above values.
Richard Moody, Ph.D.