Archives for healing

Alternatives to Medication for Anxiety and Depression

Meditation by Mitchell Joyce of Flickr

 

Two weeks ago I spoke to job seekers about forming habits, and I would be remiss if I did not address the emotional and psychological obstacles we often face to forming good job transition habits, including depression and anxiety. Though I did not ask anyone to speak up if they were suffering from anxiety or depression, several heads were shaking in affirmation and a few hands rose when I broached the subject.

The risk of depression and anxiety are very real during any life change, including job loss. I am not a licensed psychologist, but my relationship with my clients does often border on therapist, and I have to understand my limits and know where to turn my clients when I have reached the limitations of my capabilities and they need more help.

Why am I addressing this now? My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in February. The learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, as well as stubbornness that run rampant through my husband’s family led many down a path of self-medication that did not end well for several of them. I have needed to explore all options and learn as much as I can about the side effects, primary and secondary, short-term and long-term of medications for all of the above. Of course, this research will be life-long.

Whatever I share with you today could be negated by new science tomorrow. The take away that I feel is most important for you, is to explore ALL of the options and educate yourself vigilantly before you take anyone’s recommendation, including a doctor. Just because it is prescribed, does not mean it is the best solution. What works for others, may not work for you. Your family or personal history may mean that even if a medication could ease the symptoms, it can lead to worse dependencies or risks of mis-dosing or overdose.

With the recent tragic loss of Chris Cornell to suicide and the public announcement of his wife that it was caused by an overdose of anxiety medication, many conversations this weekend revolved around pharmaceuticals, advertisements, side effects being worse than the condition, and class action suits.

I am not sharing conclusions, and do not claim to have conclusions or recommendations for anyone else, but I came across some significant findings in my search that could help you if you start to recognize signs of depression or anxiety in yourself.

First, HERE is a website that discusses the efficacy of various drugs treating General Anxiety Disorder based on response, remission, and adverse events.

You may find that the efficacy of alternatives to medication may not seem as strong when it comes to response, and the scientific studies on those alternatives do not seem to test based on all three measures of efficacy.

Some, however, have proven to be almost just as effective as anti-anxiety medications, including cognitive behavioral therapy. If it alone is not optimally effective, medication can be prescribed as a compliment, but be aware that some medications can actually decrease the efficacy of simultaneous psychotherapy. For many of these medications, you are NOT advised to withdrawal without the direction of your doctor and gradual decreasing of dosages, so if you find the side effects intolerable, you cannot just stop taking it.

Though this study of 37,333 patients found that medications were more effective than psychotherapies generally, but certain psychotherapies had higher than average efficacy, including mindfulness therapies (such as meditation).  Exercise proved effective, but not as effective as a placebo, and I could not find studies (among the surface search results) that tested exercise plus therapy, but if you are concerned about the side effects of medications, considering the health benefits of both, it seems worth trying first.

Here is another study, one of many, that purports that meditation is an effective way to ease symptoms of anxiety. Yet another study followed up with anxiety patients who had participated in an 8-week outpatient meditation-based program three years later, and found that the program had long-term benefits for participants, even for those who discontinued meditation, though most did not.

I also found a small study that proved spiritual healing was effective in treating depression and anxiety with just 10 minutes for three consecutive days, but the measure and scale the efficacy was presented in was different, and I would love someone who understands these studies better to shed some light on a scale-to-scale comparison.  I suppose that insurance would not cover this type of treatment, which may discourage you from trying it. Finding a trustworthy provider may also prove to be a challenge.

Studies that used music as a therapy across the board had inconsistent results for coronary heart disease patients, but had more consistent positive results when the patients chose the music.

This article obviously is not the result of exhaustive research, and, as I mentioned, results of new studies are released nearly every day. At a minimum, you can see that there are viable alternatives to medication for depression and anxiety.

An issue, however, that I must mention, is that too many people who suffer do NOT seek out any help, in spite of the options. Like the loved ones I lost, too many fail to seek out help or choose to supplement, translate or ignore a doctor’s recommendations in harmful ways. Reasons can include the need to be self-reliant, a fear of doctors, a stigma against getting such help, or an unwillingness or inability to sacrifice vices for wellness. As we have seen, it can have tragic outcomes.

 

For those we have lost, those we are losing, and to those we have yet to lose, I can only hope it is not in vain, and that others may find hope and healing where you could not, and rest in eternal peace.

 

The Last 2 of 7 Methods of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs

Broken Wall by Mike Kruger of Flickr

 

Have you taken the 7-day challenge to identify who is REALLY in control of your career decisions?

Have you tried any of the first 5 methods I shared to overcome self-limiting beliefs?

I would be very interested in hearing if you did, what results you found, and if you have found one that works best for you.

This week I will share two more, but this list is by no means exhaustive. I have learned over 30 methods in the past nine years.

These last two are the methods I learned most recently, and they are extremely powerful. You will have to be brave to try them, and have a strong imagination. You may feel silly, but until you try it, you have no idea how much you had to release, nor how light and free you can feel by releasing it. The point is to make room for new, better things to happen in your life.

 

Re-parenting Yourself

As much as our parents loved us and had good intentions to raise us well, they are human. They come to the parenting job with their own “baggage.” By baggage, I mean belief systems that may have been limiting their own potential. Their world continually proves their beliefs right, and so it is hard to recognize that the belief started with a story, not a fact or a truth. They then pass it on to you, in hopes of saving you from pain, suffering, and disappointment.

Then, of course, now that we are adults, we are more aware of the pressure and stress that comes along with being an adult, and how that can impact our ability to be our highest self, to cope with the needs of others, and to respond instead of react. We do not always say what we mean, and we do not always speak from the heart. Actually, we can be downright hurtful, and in those moments can wound others, just as others wounded us. As I have heard, “Hurt people hurt people,” or, “Those who cause suffering are suffering.”

The way to stop this cycle is to heal your wounds and be the parent to your younger self that you wish your parents could have been for you.

The exercise goes as follows:

  1. First, know what you want to heal. Pick a limiting belief.
  2. Get into your highest self. While sitting, allow source energy to enter your vibration by being mindful of your breath, moving deeply in and out.
  3. Imagine a column of light coming from above entering through the crown of your head while also imagining your body as a conductor of light and energy, sending it down your chakras through your feet into the earth, where deep within it hits a mirror and bounces back up through you, up through your chakras, and back up.
  4. Feel all of your cells humming with the vibration of pure love.
  5. Go to a mirror and look into your left eye, imagining it is the eye of your younger self.
  6. Ask your younger self to tell you what happened – why you started to believe in limits.
  7. ALLOW the pain to surface – DO NOT stifle it. Keep breathing!
  8. Spend 90 seconds fully embracing the pain, breathing through it, looking into your left eye, and empathizing with your younger self.
  9. Breathe until you have shed all signs of the pain from your body, and the child in your eye shows you relief.
  10. Then tell your little one what he or she needs to hear – words of encouragement, unconditional love, the truth of how infinite you are, how powerful you are, and how deserving you are.
  11. Reassure your younger self that all will be okay, that you are there for him or her, and always will be.

Yes, you may feel silly doing this at first, but I am really excited to hear if you felt as I did – lighter, healed, open, expansive, and ready to take on anything! Send me a private message if you care to, but if you are brave enough to share, please do.

 

Sending Monster-sized Love

My first official coach, the one who helped me plan and follow the path to being a coach from my recruiting days, was the first person who shared with me that we have “gremlins.” Gremlins are our inner critics, the voiced that tend to speak up and discourage us from playing big in our life. Gremlins are the spokesmonsters of our limiting beliefs. They represent our fears and insecurities. You may have also heard them referred to as demons or glitches, as though you have a bug in your system that needs fixing.

In this method, you will repeat steps 1 through 4 from above. Then, follow the steps below. Like the method above, you will need to be brave and use your imagination. The objective is to disempower the gremlin, befriend it, and see it for what it really is while you see yourself for what you really are – infinitely powerful.

  1. Close your eyes and imagine there is a knock at your door.
  2. When you open your door, you see a monster, and this monster represents the thing that you fear, hate, resent – the thing you feel holds you back. It could be money, it could be career success, or it could be love.
  3. It is trying its best to scare you – showing you teeth and claws, making scary sounds, and seeming very angry. Don’t let it. Invite it inside to sit down.
  4. As before, focus on your breath, but also check in on your heartbeat, temperature, and muscle tension.
  5. While looking this monster in the eye, mentally manipulate your breath to be slow and deep, will your heartbeat to slow down and release all tension in your muscles.
  6. Reconnect with the light flowing through your cells, imagining a ball of light and love forming in front of your heart.
  7. Physically hold your hands around this imaginary ball in front of your heart. You may even slowly and slightly move your hands together and apart until you sense the energy of the ball.
  8. Draw even more light and love in to your body, filling all of your cells to overflow into the ball.
  9. When it feels full, send the ball to your monster and notice the surprise on your monster’s face. You can sense that it is starting to give up trying to scare you and is feeling love, while at the same time you are feeling happy to be with your monster, spending time getting to know each other.
  10. Imagine now how your monster feels, and empathize with how long your monster went without feeling love.
  11. If your monster could talk, what would it tell you?
  12. Reassure your monster that from now on, you are on the same team.
  13. Allow yourself to feel proud for confronting and converting your monster.

My coach had shared that she had her clients blow up balloons and draw their monster on it. Then they would yell at the balloon, tell it who was boss, and pop it. I once fell into an arrow on the soft part of my neck to break the arrow that represented a self-limiting belief of unworthiness. I have also burned the list of 20 self-limiting money beliefs that I had about money during a full moon ceremony.

 

There are a lot of things that you can do to break through barriers to a better life, and taking action to do so is almost always rewarded somehow.

Not all of these methods may resonate with you. Some are certainly more scientific, while some are more cognitive or spiritual.

I am indifferent as to which methods you try, but I encourage you to try at least one, and share with me what difference it made to you.