I recently read an article that described depression as "a psychological reaction to the violent deformities of the modern world." I found that statement deeply provocative and began to ponder it's meaning. "Anger turned inward" doesn't satisfy me anymore. I do not subscribe to the belief that depression is a disease nor am I of the mindset that depression, or any other health issues, are heredity (a belief shared with some of the greatest minds in the mind/body/spirit arena). I've seen brain scans of those diagnosed with depression vs images of those who do not suffer and there is an undeniable difference. But why and how do these changes originate?
First, it's important to understand how the mind/body connection works. Think about something wonderful that has happened in your life: you met the man/woman of your dreams; you're leaving for the vacation of a lifetime next week; your daughter just gave birth to your first grandchild. Each time your mind focuses on something positive it generates feelings of joy, hope, love, happiness, and such. Positive emotions energize the body, help to keep the immune system working at optimum capacity, alleviate stress, increase the brain's production of endorphins (a feel good chemical), and in general put us in a good mood. We are more productive at work, get along better with people, and by and large experience better overall health.
Conversely, negative thoughts generate negative emotions which produce a chain reaction in our physical bodies as well. Negative thinking can lead to frustration, lower tolerance levels, angry outbursts, hopelessness, fear etc. It can exacerbate pain, break down the body's natural immune system, increase the production of the damaging stress hormone cortisol ,create physical maladies*, damage relationships, and lead to poor choices in every area of our life. They can generate feelings of fear, jealousy, and anxiety that lead to arguing, fighting, war, and terrorism.
We live in a world filled with hatred and violence that dominate the news. Every newspaper, TV and radio news show are consumed with broadcasting the worst humanity has to offer. Do we seriously think that being bombarded with constant negativity will not impact our emotional, physical, and psychological well-being? Everything is energy: every thought, every word spoken, every action taken. And energy cannot be contained - it infiltrates every facet of society on a global level. So what is occurring in one part of the world impacts those throughout our planet. It becomes virtually impossible to immunize ourselves completely from what is happening globally.
Moral depravity, political corruption, infidelity, sexual promiscuity and assault, bullying, domestic violence, the breakdown of the nuclear family, drug abuse, muggings, war: regardless of whether you are personally involved, witness it from a distance, know of someone who has experienced it, or are made aware by outside sources, the immorality and evil that is running rampant in our world impacts every member of Planet Earth. These offenses have been around since the beginning of time. The critical difference is that society rejected them as improper and immoral. Today, people are much more accepting that this is the norm, that many of these actions are now considered ordinary and natural and some even a form of entertainment. This clearly indicates that our moral compass is in desperate need of a recalculation.
Did depression exist fifty years ago? Certainly. But I strongly believe that it has been exacerbated by the "violent deformities" of today's world and it will take a shift in global consciousness to heal it on a universal level.
So what can each of us do? Scripture tells us in Galatians that "You shall reap what you sow." We must first collectively change our way of thinking. Everything begins with our thought process. Fill your mind and heart with thoughts of love, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy towards everyone - no exceptions. Those thoughts will generate corresponding feelings that translate into actions.**
We can begin to initiate a global change and reverse the epidemic of depression. "I must first be the change I want to see in the world." - Ghandi Here are just a few suggestions we can each undertake:
Treat all whom you encounter with dignity and respect. All.
Return to your spiritual roots - reconnect with the Divine Source of all love and healing.
Make gratitude and appreciation a lifestyle.
Forgive all those who hurt or betrayed you. Ask forgiveness from those whom you have mistreated.
Rediscover your love of nature. Use her as a source of inspiration for living a fair and balanced life.
Nurture yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
Family is sacred. Treat yours as such. Heal any rifts that have occurred and vow to remain a loving family.
Reach out to help others. Be your brother's keeper. Be a part of something bigger. We are all a part of one Consciousness and what affects one affects all.
Like the Dalai Lama, make kindness your religion. Practice it freely, generously, and daily.
And most importantly: Live only to please God. In everything you think, say, and do, ask yourself, "Does this please God?"*** If the answer is "yes" then you are making a righteous decision and our entire world will benefit.
In the words of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Wayne Dyer, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Be the change. Be a healer to Mother Earth and all of her children. The world will repay you tenfold.
* World renowned medical doctor and leader in mind/body/spirit medicine, Dr. Bernie Siegel, says that all illnesses are psychosomatic: they originate in the mind and manifest in the physical body.
**The Secret Side of Anger by Janet Pfeiffer
***The Great Truth by Janet Pfeiffer
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Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net.
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."