How to Conquer Depression and Anxiety
The rules on how to conquer depression and anxiety require an examination and digestion of certain age-old principles on the world of thoughts and emotion.
What we resist persists. The goal is an energetic balance between embracing/“processing” our feelings on the one hand and moving forward with our lives, i.e. not being “stuck” in them, on the other. Dissonant feelings need to be viscerally experienced and embraced, i.e. ”held” vibrationally, that is, on an ‘inner body’ or ‘emotional body’ level so that they may ultimately be released.
Once released, new belief systems can be embraced, digested and ultimately integrated. It is our resistance, at incredible costs, to doing so which results in the “illegitimate suffering” that Jung so aptly referred to in describing neurosis. Unconsciously resisting the flow of feelings acts like a dam and results in our experience of psychological, physical/medical and spiritual “symptoms” including all manner of addictions and compulsions.
It results as well in a chronic state of conflict and drama in our relationships as we project our dis-ease out into the world. For most of us, we habitually sedate or control our experiences or dramatize the relationships in our world in an unconscious effort to avoid our discomfort, of which we are often unaware. In fact much of our experience in this “world” is illusory and the result of our unconscious denial and projection of internal, unprocessed experience.
One could even say that most of us spend much of our lives asleep; we remain asleep so long as we continue to live in “the past” which manifests as unprocessed and uncomfortable vibrations. The only way out is through. Such going “through” is a vibrational alchemical process of “waking up”, wherein our dis-ease is energetically transformed. The consequence of such emotional and spiritual healing is the release of ones authentic inner child’s joy, creativity and spontaneity as the illusory fears dissolve and the greater Spirit is unblocked.
Approaches to Emotional Healing
The emotions of grief (sadness/depression, etc.), fear (anxiety), and shame/guilt are actually portals back into our health and wellness. They are not to be avoided but seen as opportunities for emotional and spiritual healing and growth. In fact, all challenges, when seen properly, are opportunities for growth. Anger tends to be, like the “skin of the onion” a feeling that often masks the above emotions. So do various behaviors involving withdrawal as well as addictions and compulsions.
I employ a variety of modalities or approaches to the restoration of health. I have had outstanding results utilizing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as well as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in the processing and release of unwanted emotional blocks. EMDR reprocesses memory fragments (visual, tactile, auditory, etc.) that have not been fully integrated, that is, never “made it” into long term memory and thus result in symptoms, particularly anxiety, depression, protracted grief, physical ailments, sleep disturbances, fatigue, phobias, and flashbacks.
When we are traumatized our left and right brains disengage much as a home’s circuit breaker kicks in when an electrical storm overloads it. The result is that the right brain (providing sensory experiences and emotions) does not have the benefit of the left brain (the logical and rational processes) to help make sense of the experience and thus provide emotional closure to it. EMDR is particularly helpful for reprocessing trauma (PTSD), anxiety, phobias, and grief. EFT utilizes the body’s meridian (energy) points, similar to those used in the practice of acupuncture, to release the “stuck” emotional states of anxiety, anger, and those associated with addictions and compulsions.
Notwithstanding biological propensities towards addiction in some, addictions and compulsions are habitual behavioral patterns unconsciously designed to sedate or control unintegrated, uncomfortable emotional experiences. What has been referred to as “inner child work” highlighted by John Bradshaw, is accomplished largely through some combination of hypnotherapy/guided imagery, affirmation, meditation, and gestalt work.
Breath work is part and parcel of all healing modalities as the breath allows and invites realignment with ones greater Spirit. EMDR, EFT, guided imagery, meditation and breath work often result in much more rapid relief than with traditional “talk” methods of therapy. Every person is unique as is his/her emotional and spiritual challenges. Thus, the healing modalities must be tailor-fitted to the individual. Traditional talk therapy can be highly effective and cathartic in effecting change in the appropriate cases as can the more “alternative” approaches described above.
However, for so many, traditional talk therapy keeps clients stuck in their head, in their limiting stories of themselves, and in the actual counseling or psychotherapy itself. Unfortunately, much contemporary psychotherapy focuses excessively on the perceived problem and not on the solution. The traditional psychoanalytic paradigm contemplates that healing occurs when we focus on the origins and dynamics of our neuroses. Eastern religions, together with New Thought philosophies, on the other hand, teach us that we can’t reach the light through endlessly analyzing the dark. True, healing requires confronting and our “demons”. But when we really go to the Light, the darkness disappears. Really.
Compassion or unconditional love to others and to oneself is the ultimate curative agent. “Forgiveness”, i.e. releasing or letting go, is the ultimate means by which we can return to joy and inner peace, which is our natural inheritance.
Ultimately whatever technique or modality facilitates ones energy to “move”, allowing a paradigm shift to occur, can be effective in helping us to get “unstuck” vibrationally.