We live in an over medicated society. It is quite easy to visit a busy, overworked medical doctor when you are feeling down and walk out with a prescription for an antidepressant such as Prozac or Paxil. Then you can return home to live your life the way you have only now with a smile on your face!
Now don't get me wrong on this. There are those poor souls who have a real chemical imbalance in their brains probably due to some genetic predisposition. These people need help in any way they can get it. However on the flip side there are a myriad of others who could probably make some changes in their behaviors and thinking and experience a more positive outlook.
Depression is a complicated problem and there is no clear cut answer. However, I believe that there is a lot to be gained by non-medical treatments either in place of medicine or as a complement to it to reduce the dose.
So I was happy to see some recent research on a simple non-medical approach to preventing or treating depression.
Researchers Linda Cheavens (assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University) and Laura Dreer of the University of Alabama at Birmingham examined measures of hope and depression in people with macular degeneration (a disease that causes blindness). The researchers also looked at the level of hope in the patients' caregivers.
What they found was that the level of hope was lower in those with depression. This also applied to the caregivers. In other words depression was higher in those caregivers who cared for depressed patients.
Cheavens also studied the effects of hope therapy in people who were dissatisfied with where they were in life. She used a sample of 32 people who received eight 2 hour group session of hope therapy. The therapy included identifying goals, ways to achieve them, and motivation skills.
The results showed an improvement in those who participated in the training versus a control group.
According to Cheavens and reported in Science Daily "Hope therapy seeks to build on strengths people have, or teach them how to develop those strengths. We focus not on what is wrong, but on ways to help people live up to their potential.”
So I see 2 important results here. The first is obviously that being hopeful protects against depression. The second is that hope can be learned.
We are a complicated network of cells, organs, systems and mind. All of which communicate with each other via the transfer of information. If this information is negative we can expect poor health. The reverse is also true.
Healing is also a multidimensional process that encompasses more than a drug or 1 treatment. It extends to our minds and beliefs which have a powerful affect on our bodies.
Peace and Healing,
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Ohio State University (2008, August 19). You've Got To Have Hope: Studies Show 'Hope Therapy' Fights Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 25, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/08/080817223648.htm