Phil Owens – Leading Australian Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner
Depression is regarded as an illness that is severe enough to be ‘clinical’ in 20% of people each year. The truth is that most people get better. They are not ‘Depressed’ — a label which we sometimes place on people feeling ‘depressed’ — but are passing through a depressive episode. Some people need medical intervention, but many people can be assisted by understanding that ‘depression’ is a set of behaviours and thought processes.
I find in clinic that people with ‘depression’ will have a common thinking framework, which can be summarised as, “I look back on my past, see all of the bad stuff and feel helpless and hopeless that I can’t change it, and I will always be like this.”
Apart from successfully using Hypnosis and NLP, I often suggest clients adopt the ‘PROSE’ model as a framework for living:
P = ‘Purpose’. Find a positive purpose that shifts your focus of activity outside of yourself and into the future. Even if it is helping others, starting a class or visiting friends once a month. Having something positive to look forward to and to be responsible for has a big impact on people’s self-esteem.
R = ‘Reality’. Understand that it is an ‘episode’, rather than a label. Keep a diary of how you are feeling — identifying happy or ‘normal’ times — and things you are grateful for. This is a powerful tool for seeing the reality of the situation. Knowing that people feeling ‘down’ or ‘depressed’ mostly get better can help you get a better sense of reality.
O = ‘Optimism’. Understanding that you can change for the better and that life has lots of possibilities can really help. Schedule events to look forward to. This can really help set clear milestones in an ‘optimistic future’.
S = ‘Social Connectivity’. Connecting to others is a powerful tool for overcoming feelings of depression. Pick up the phone, knock on a door or just connect to someone. This act alone can show you that there are others around who care and want to support or help. Best of all it can immediately make you feel good.
E = ‘Exercise’. Exercise has been clinically proven to bust anxiety and have an impact on depression. Get up, get out. Start small and progress. Walking, Jogging and going to the gym. Any exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins, which helps shift you beyond depression.
This behavioural approach increases happiness and is the natural antidote to depression.
On a final note, ‘look up’. This doesn’t mean try and feel good, it really means ‘look up’. We store emotion below our visual ‘horizon’ and, people wallowing in emotion will look down and often to one side. Encouraging yourself to raise your eyes above the ‘horizon’ — eye level — by looking up means you cannot access these emotions which drag you back into feeling ‘depressed’. Look up and take a few deep breaths for an immediate ‘kick’ to break a depressive mood.
Philip Owens is owner and director of Reflective Resolutions and is a leading Australian hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner based in Melbourne, Australia. Using scientifically validated and pragmatic approaches, Philip is a passionate about creating lasting change in and for his clients.
Working in his clinic with individuals and also with corporate clients, Philip’s international experience, state of the art training and processes have led to successful and happy clients all over the world. Focusing on the issues of modern life, Philip routinely works with clients presenting with anxiety, fears and phobias, addictions, traumas, weight loss, insomnia and smoking cessation.
Sally Asher – Author, Health Scientist and Online Weight Loss Coach
Everyone has their bad days and feeling down occasionally is a normal part of life. But when a feeling of emptiness and an inability to find joy in your life won’t budge, it may be depression. Fortunately, there are many natural things we can do to improve the way we feel and knowing how to take extreme care of ourselves, in both body and mind is a very important life skill.
Often feelings of despair can be a result of a difficult event or change in one’s life, such as an illness, a divorce, job loss, a death, even childbirth, puberty and menopause. It’s important to realise that we live our lives in seasons and difficult periods will indeed pass. Nothing ever stays the same.
The first step to curing depression naturally is to address the root cause, preferably with therapy. Uncovering the underlying thoughts and feelings that are causing you to live in a “black hole” is the first step towards finding hope and improving your mood.
The daily practice of meditation is one of the best ways to uncover deep, often neglected emotions that may be causing depression and to address them. Emotional awareness is the key to changing our perception and putting feelings of powerlessness into perspective. Journaling is also an excellent tool in working through uncomfortable emotions.
For an immediate boost, there is no better method than regular aerobic exercise, preferably thirty minutes of continuous movement a day. Numerous studies have shown that exercise releases “feel good” hormones into our brains, which, in turn, improves our mood.
A daily dose of B vitamins can be helpful in treating mild depression and for overall stress management. Fish oil is an excellent source of DHA found in nerve and brain tissue, which may help alleviate symptoms of depression. Magnesium is also beneficial for managing muscle tension, often common in people suffering from anxiety.
In addition, it is important to follow a well-balanced diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. Keep up the fluids, especially plain water and try to limit caffeine intake, particularly if you are anxious or have sensitivity to caffeine.
The most important thing is that you feel good, so be compassionate with yourself. Use gentle, kind and loving self-talk. Depression can affect anyone, so there is nothing to feel ashamed about.
Sally Asher is an author, health scientist and online weight loss coach who been featured in several radio shows, TV, blogs and magazines.
She wrote LOSING IT IN FRANCE: Les Secrets of the French Diet to share her story and help others discover the secret to living the good life while losing weight naturally.
Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer
Depression is a complicated illness that affects a huge part of the population.
There has been many articles, books and TV shows that discuss depression and try to find the cause, and ultimately, a cure. However, anyone who has suffered from depression will tell you it is not easy to just simply cure. Western medicine, in my opinion, is often very reactive to these type of illnesses and tends to look at things in isolation. The common doctor approach is to find a drug or a pill, such as an anti depressant to “Cure You” or make the symptoms go away.
In no way am I advising that anyone to go off any medication prescribed by a doctor. But, I would like to share some insights into how I have worked with several clients who have suffered from depression and what strategies and tactics I have used to successfully help them overcome their illness.
1. Firstly and most importantly we had to establish a Dream or a vision. In 100% of these cases my clients found it very difficult to put this down onto paper. Not because they did not want a dream, but because they did not know how to think like that anymore. They had forgotten how to be happy. Now they could not even dream happiness. I used several methods to help them. Creating collages of pictures of everything they have ever wanted to do, painting dream maps with timelines, getting them to play like kids again and then in that mood write down what makes them happy. As a last resort, I would use a method of describing everything you don’t want and applying the laws of Yin and Yang to find the opposite, which must be your happiness.
2. Clean up their nutrition. By eliminating processed foods, sugar and any inflammatory foods such as coffee and alcohol, and drinking plenty of water, we were nourishing the body with essential vitamins and minerals. However, this was only effective if step one was completed. If the dream was not strong enough then there was not enough motivation to put these things into place. Eating good sources of Omega 3 such as seafood to help reduce inflammation was a big part of the diet.
3. Allow quiet time or “ME TIME” every day. This time would be devoted to reading a book. Learning Tai Chi, Yoga or something very soothing and caring to the body. This was very effective for the person who had devoted their life to someone else. For example, the mother who had devoted her life to her children and never had any time to herself.
4. Get to bed by 10.30 p.m. every night. This was very important to allow the body to heal itself and make repairs. If they had a poor night sleep it greatly affected the following day and set off a chain reaction of other effects. This was non-negotiable.
5. Exercise. Mainly weight training to produce an anabolic response and walking outdoors. I really emphasised that my clients get out into the sun and spend time outdoors. No more than three weight training sessions per week and walking every day.
The clients who followed these simple steps all achieved excellent results. In no way were they “cured” as such. But, I was not trying to “fix” them either. All I was trying to do was show them how they can take control of their life without the need for pills or drugs. The answers to their problems they have always had, it just takes some skills and practice to get better at using them
The most important part of this process was step one. Identifying the dream, knowing what makes you happy and also knowing that you are working towards your dream is extremely invigorating and exciting. Lessons from the past are valuable here. All great inventors or scientists like Einstein were dreamers. They had visions of things that seemed unrealistic, at the time, and to everyone around them. But, to them it was crystal clear and it was their mission in life to work towards it.
Try to find your mission in life and in it you will find your Natural Cure.
Nick Jack is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, Level II Holistic Lifestyle Coach and personal trainer. He runs a personal training business called NO Regrets Personal Training.
Nick likes to lift weights, cycle, run and triathlon. He has played almost every sport at one time in his life. Now, he enjoys spending time walking his dog and relaxing with his wife and friends.
Dr Joann Lukin – Sport and Performance Psychologist
Depression can be experienced in many forms and with varying severity, from mild to severe or psychotic. However, there are a number of strategies that a person can adopt which will assist with their functioning and general well-being.
These are as follows:
1. Enhance the positive areas of your life. Engaging in activities that you enjoy is a helpful step towards overcoming depression. Ask yourself, “What have I stopped doing that I used to enjoy?”
Perhaps it is:
- Reading a book.
- Catching up with friends for a coffee or meal.
- Going to the park.
To overcome depression, spend some time reflecting on the positive aspects of those activities and remember times when you did them.
Try to increase the number of positive activities and events in your daily routine.
2. The way you think. One role for our mind is to generate our everyday thoughts. The way we think directly influences our mood and therefore our resulting behaviours. For example, if we think we are lazy, we may feel sad, which may result in us not being physically active. How we interpret our lives can be constructive and helpful or negative and harmful. How we think is an active choice. Negative thinking is an unhelpful habit that we can overcome with practise and persistence.
Just because we think something, doesn’t necessarily make it true. When you feel depressed negative thoughts can weigh on your mind. You may doubt yourself, wonder if you can cope, or feel like it’s all too hard. To overcome this, start by listening to that inner voice. Ask yourself, “What are you saying to yourself?”
Being aware of your negative thinking serves two purposes:
- Knowing your internal ‘chatter’ can act as an early warning sign that your thinking is not being helpful.
- Knowing your internal ‘chatter’ allows you to take action towards more helpful thinking.
Listen to your self-talk. Ask yourself, “Is it positive? Is it helpful? Would you speak to others the way you are speaking to yourself?” If the answer is no, then challenge these negative unhelpful thoughts and replace them with something more beneficial. There are various self-help books that can assist you to do this or you may wish to seek guidance from a counselor.
Replace negative thoughts with positive, helpful thinking. Challenge yourself to think differently and create new positive thinking habits.
3. Make positive choices. Often when we are feeling depressed we turn to food, alcohol, and cigarettes, as well as being inactive or reducing our social contact as a way of coping. Unfortunately these strategies may have negative consequences for us, especially if they are over used, particularly in the long term.
Broadening your decisions and considering the range of options you have may help you to consider other behaviours or actions that will benefit you.
If you’re feeling down perhaps you could go for a walk or if you find yourself seeking solace in the fridge choose fruit or another healthy choice.
Depression is a serious condition affecting a large proportion of the population. It is important that in cases of a depressive disorder — particularly a severe one — that a person seek assistance from an appropriate health practitioner. Psychology offers a number of therapeutic approaches and strategies to assist people in facing depression. It is important that you take steps that will best benefit you. Seeking help and adopting some of the strategies mentioned in this article may be helpful for you.
Dr Lukins is a psychologist who has specialised in sport and performance psychology for over 20 years. During that time, Dr Lukins has consulted individuals, teams, coaches, and organisations across the country. She is committed to the field of positive psychology — a scientific framework that studies human potential and happiness. The primary focus of her work is to assist clients to find strategies to achieve their goals and reach their potential. Joann’s work helps clients to understand what makes them be healthy, fulfilled and focussed on their personal well-being.
Anthony “Chief” Ippindo – Director of Holistic Fitness Australia at Fox Studios
“How do I stay mentally strong and win the weight loss battle?”
Depression seems to affect many people these days in different ways. Just as there are many different types of depression there are many simple ways to reduce its affects as well.
Before we start, I want to make it clear that I am talking about mild-to-moderate depression here. Someone with severe depression should visit their doctor or see a mental health professional.
The following are some easy to use cures for mild-to-moderate depression. Apart from natural herbs and medicines that are available, I would like to look at the areas in my expertise and knowledge.
1.Exercise. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as beating depression. Exercise helps to boost self-esteem and has been shown to improve mood. Physically exercise strengthens your heart allowing your body to use oxygen more efficiently. It also builds your energy level, lowers your blood pressure, helps reduce overall body fat and makes you look fit and feel healthy, which, in itself, can help fight depression. In addition to being good for your overall health, research has shown that exercise is an often underused, but effective, natural remedy for mild-to-moderate depression.
When trying to decide on an exercise program choose something you enjoy. Think about your goals and what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself, “Do you like group activities or do you like to do things by yourself? Do you have any limiting physical conditions? Do you want to improve cardio vascular health, lose weight or improve overall strength?” Whatever you decide, your exercise program should be fun, not a chore. Variety can make your program stimulating and fun.
2.Massage. Massage is one of the oldest natural remedies available to man and has probably been around since our beginnings. According to research, massage can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. When you receive a massage your body releases mood and health enhancing chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, while eliminating stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This allows your body to relax and your brain to enter a relaxed alpha state. It also helps to increase endorphins which are your body’s natural pain relievers. This same research has shown that massage boosts your immune system, improves your breathing and lung function, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and generally leaves you with a better feeling about yourself and the world.
3.NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. Part of any depression is recognizing how and where your body experiences these depressed feelings. This is accomplished using NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP functions to reduce feelings of depression by eliminating negative thought patterns, and by healing old self-sabotaging habits that may be inhibiting the healing process. Physiologically, NLP stimulates the frontal left cortex of the brain responsible for feelings of calm, happiness and well being. This helps the depressed individual not only to feel better, but also in developing safe and positive coping strategies to help them deal with their condition.
I hope this helps. All the best in health.
Anthony “Chief” Ippindo is a dedicated fitness professional, who is an AFL football player and physical conditioning coach that has a career spanning over 10 years. Anthony has a Bachelors in Sports Science and is a qualified strength and conditioning coach, which has enabled him to work with elite athletes from AFL football, hockey and tennis to rowing and high performance diving at the South Australian Institute Of Sport. In addition, Anthony has also studied a holistic approach to exercise under Paul Chek to become a qualified exercise coach and a level II holistic lifestyle coach. This has enabled him to move forward from personal training to become a holistic lifestyle coach. Breakfast isn’t called that by random or accident. The word literally means to ‘break the fast’ meaning that the overnight fasting period that is caused by sleep is broken. Breakfast serves to fire up the metabolism and replenish your glucose and essential nutrients, which are required to keep you humming along smoothly throughout the day.
Mathew Skate – 2008 QLD Marathon Champion, Life Coach and Personal Trainer
Diagnosed depression is a clinical disorder that can affect a person’s well-being right down to how they eat, sleep, behave, and their thought processes. If left untreated, the symptoms of depression can last anywhere from one week too many years.
Clinical depression should not be confused with transient feelings of sadness or that “down in the dumps” feeling that people may feel for a few hours or perhaps a couple of days. Having an awareness of our own state is a great start to identify the triggers that bring on any negative state we choose to adopt.
A mood diary is a fantastic tool to self-monitor your state of mind. Unlike a gratitude Journal, which shifts the focus from identifying what didn’t go right each day to journaling about what you are grateful for every day, a mood diary will often use a scale from 0 to 10. With 0 – being in a depressed state or at your lowest point and 10 – feeling fantastic.
Having an acute awareness of how you measure your state of mind throughout the day is a fantastic way to identify those potential triggers and acknowledge the times during each day where you are at a low point. Identifying these areas will assist you to create some positive strategies to overcome these feelings. If you are somebody that often feels “down in the dumps,” use the mood diary scale to record how you feel every 1-2 hours each day. The beauty of a mood diary is that it is not very time-consuming. Every couple of hours simply record how you are feeling with a number, and then, perhaps, write one sentence about what you were doing or where you were at the time. This information is important, as it will paint a broader picture and give you a thorough understanding of those triggers that potentially create a negative state of mind for you.
Exercise is a fantastic way to counter feelings of depression. Exercise will decrease stress hormones such as cortisol and increase endorphins, which is sometimes referred to as the “happy hormone”. Once released, Endorphins can create a state of well-being and happiness. There is a strong correlation between a healthy state of mind in the elderly who regularly participate in exercise. The best thing about exercise is that it is a double-edged-sword, but in a good way. It also decreases stress hormones and helps to create a fit and healthy you. As little as 10 min per day will create a benefit.
Matt Skate is a life coach and personal trainer. He served in the Australian Army for 19 years as a physical training instructor and then started Weight to Life in 2011.
Matt assists people to lose weight and create a healthier lifestyle by helping them break through their negative beliefs, behaviours, and expectations. He loves to train in all forms and at all levels of fitness and was crowned the QLD Marathon champion in 2008.
Deborah Farrell – Coaching Psychologist
Better Thinking Makes the Biggest Difference.
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint why we’re feeling sad, such as when we’ve had a difficult break-up or experienced a loss of some type. Sometimes we just can’t figure it out. There’s nothing particularly bad happening in our lives, but we find it hard to get out of bed, can’t be bothered doing things that we would normally enjoy or just start crying for no real reason. We all have ups and downs, but if they continue or you’re having suicidal thoughts, then it’s crucial that you speak to a doctor or counsellor right away.
Most often depression stems from feeling helpless. All you can see ahead of you is a long tunnel of sameness with no obvious way to make life better. The key is looking at what you can control and those you cannot. There are some things we just have to accept. We can’t make our partner love us again or get our job back after a redundancy, but we can change how we think and feel about it.
When all we ever think about is problems or setbacks over-and-over, we stay stuck in the problem. We essentially torture ourselves with thoughts of being unlovable or not good enough. The thoughts just keep going round-and-round in our heads until there’s no room for anything positive and this keep us stuck in the past. Yesterday is gone, but tomorrow holds promise if we know where to look. Your thinking makes the biggest difference, so:
1. Be grateful for the things you do have right now. When things go wrong, we often lose sight of what is good. Remember there is good in your life you just need to notice it.
2. Change your thinking by asking yourself simple questions. “How else can I view this? Where is the opportunity? What can I learn that will allow me to do things differently in the future? or What if this isn’t even about me?”
3. Get in touch with your feelings. Are you really sad? Or are you angry, hurt, stressed, stuck, or just overwhelmed? Knowing how you’re really feeling will allow you to focus on the real solution.
4. Get stuck in the solution and take action. What would you like to change? Notice small steps can you take each day to get you closer to where you’d like to be and do them. Every step forward is a step away from where you are now.
5. Develop and use a good support system. All of us go through difficult times. When friends come to us with their problems we are only too happy to support them. Know that they are happy to do the same for you. Otherwise seek professional support, particularly if things seem to be getting worse. Support will make the biggest difference of all on your journey forward.
Deborah Farrell is a Coaching Psychologist that works with clients who are feeling stuck, whether it be in regard to work, relationships or personal issues such as weight loss.
Deborah helps her clients focus on their goals, identify and clear the blocks and sabotage patterns, and develop an achievable plan to move forward into the life they dream of.