3:13 pm - Thursday December 17, 1575

The United States of Depression?

Psychologist Offers 4 Tips for Maintaining
Balance in Difficult Times

It’s no wonder nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from depression.

“Top risk factors include being unable to work or unemployed; having
no health insurance; suffering from obesity,” notes psychologist
Gregory L. Jantz, citing a Centers for Disease Control study.

“Unfortunately, those topics have dominated headlines for the past
five years. What’s worse, by 2020, the World Health Organization
estimates depression will be second most debilitating disease

The author of “Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear,”
(www.aplaceofhope.com) says these negative emotions along with
sustained, excessive stress can lead to depression, which now
overshadows other problems for which patients seek help at his

“Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to
be addressed – simply taking a pill is not usually effective
treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even
when the person isn’t aware he’s experiencing those feelings.”

A holistic treatment approach, which may or may not include
medication, helps people overcome a bout of the debilitating illness,
and learn techniques to manage it themselves, he says.

People at risk of depression can work at maintaining their emotional
equilibrium by counterbalancing negative feelings with optimism, hope,
and joy. This is most effective if they do this holistically,
addressing the four main categories of human need.

“By purposefully feeding the intellectual, relational, physical, and
spiritual aspects of your life positive emotions, you can achieve
balance,” Jantz says.

He offers these suggestions:

• Intellectual: Be aware of what you’re feeding to your mind. Try
reading a positive, uplifting book, and setting aside time in your day
to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging
messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek
to counter the negative input we all get with positive influences.

• Relational: Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone
who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who’s just fun to be
around. Plan today to spend time with that person this week, even if
it’s just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your
appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.

• Physical: Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting
emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk
around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goals are to
get your body moving and to allow you to focus on something other than
yourself and your surroundings. Greet your neighbors, stop at the park
and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League
game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world
around you.

• Spiritual Support: Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are
a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services
this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative
music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer.
Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects
your spirit.

If you are not depressed but feel anxious and stressed, have trouble
sleeping or find your not content much of the time, Jantz says it’s
time to start taking care of yourself.

“Depression is painful and as debilitating as any other disease,” he
says. “Take steps to de-stress your life and to work on emotional
balance before it gets worse.”



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