Depression seems both epidemic and endemic. Many of us suffer from it as a consequence of our own inherent brain chemistry and structure made worse by the circumstances of our lives. When I inquire whether a patient is undergoing stress, I rarely need to wait for an answer. In fact if they say "no" I question whether they are in denial.
This brings me to this posting which revisits the relationship between "The Secret" which offered healing through positive visualization and the Kabbalistic metaphysical approach, namely action. http://drstevenhodes.typepad.com/meta_physician/2009/05/why-the-secret-doesnt-worka-kabbalisitc-understanding.htm
I also need to re-introduce the notion of metaphysics. Very simply, it is the study of the nature of reality–the rules of the game of existence. And as we all intuitively know, it is hard to succeed at a game whose rules elude us.
I had previously recognized the value of positive visualization, namely how we think about our lives and our situation. My criticism of "The Secret" was its lack of emphasis on the importance of action, of doing.
The Kabbalistic reference is relevant because of the concept that our physical world, ASSIYAH is THE WORLD OF ACTION. It is where we are and therefore cannot expect change or healing without recognizing the need for action.
The highly successful cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) recognizes the need to mentally accept what is happening, re frame it, the cognitive aspect, in terms that allow us to move on and remain positive, followed by concrete actions, our behaviors which can lead to further healing.
Depression tends to lead to inaction. This furthers the belief that we will never recover from our sadness. This is a dangerous place to be and the possibility of a downward spiral into the abyss is all too possible. We feel a lack of energy, of motivation. Pessimism rules. Why try to change if there is no hope? Yet without action there can be no healing. Here is where metaphysics is crucial. We need to understand the nature of reality, the rules of the game of existence.
It is necessary to be truthful with ourselves. If we are not happy, depressed we need to first acknowledge it, accept it as our present state of being. Yet immediately recognize that change is the nature of existence, that healing is possible. We can then address our thoughts about how we feel, recognize that we desire to feel differently and that this state of being can be altered.
Neuroscience has confirmed these truths. Neuroplasticity allows for changing our present patterns of thought and behavior.
Re-framing our thoughts into a more positive approach comes first but will help us heal ONLY if followed by concrete action. In fact the feeling of anxiety which often accompanies depression should be used to fuel the action.
Getting out, meeting others, planning a strategy is crucial. Regardless of whether it actually changes our situation, the move to act itself will be healing. It will feedback on our brain, our sense of passivity and futility will be altered. Hope can be restored which further offers us more energy to act.
Physical exercise is action and can alter our brain chemistry in a positive mode. Subsequent actions will keep us moving, literally. This is a necessary first step towards healing depression.
So keep metaphysics, the way the universe works, in mind. Change our minds first, then our deeds.