While we may not have control over many of life's circumstances, we do have control of our thinking. By disciplining the mind, choosing positive thoughts, and doing something constructive can help change our moods.
This is why the Bible taught centuries ago, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."2
Spiritual Causes. Man is much more than a physical and emotional being with a need for food, rest, exercise, and loving relationships. He is also a spiritual being with a need for a relationship with God. An impaired relationship with Him or anybody else can cause depression. Unresolved guilt, rejecting God's call to follow him, or resisting his will can also cause miserable depression.
To overcome depression, no matter what its origin, we obviously need to discover and resolve its cause or causes.
Is the cause physical? A thorough medical examination can help answer this question. A balanced diet, proper nutrition and hormone balance, adequate rest, regular exercise are all crucial to overcoming depression, worry and anxiety. In some cases where there is a chemical deficiency in the brain, a doctor may see the need to prescribe anti-depressant drugs.
Is the cause emotional? If so, complete honesty with yourself, a trusted friend, and God about your true feelings is the first and all-important step in overcoming this type of depression.
An impaired relationship with God or
anybody else can cause depression.
Questions such as the following can be helpful: Am I hurt or angry? Am I not forgiving someone? Are my needs for love and acceptance being met? Have I learned to recognize and express my feeling creatively? Have I resolved any impaired relationship or feelings of guilt? Am I using my abilities? Do I have a purpose for living with worthwhile work and meaningful goals? Have I accepted full responsibility for my life and my feelings?
Merely talking about problems or feelings is not helpful. We need to see, confess and resolve the feelings our problems cause.
Is the cause mental? Remember, when we feel down, we tend to dwell on self-defeating, negative thoughts. Exchange these for positive affirmations such as, "Thank you, God, that you love and accept me as I am. Because you do, I love and accept me too." Concentrating on positive thoughts—even though you don't feel like it—and doing something worthwhile to help get your thoughts off yourself is also helpful for overcoming depression.
Is the cause spiritual? Dr. Paul Tournier, world-renowned Swiss medical doctor and psychiatrist, states, "All my experience has taught me the limitations of medicine and psychology, because the supreme and universal need of man is to find God."
Augustine (354-430 AD) aptly described man's need for God this way: "You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."
Man finds total inner peace and wholeness only as he is in harmony with himself, others and God.
If you are depressed, talk to your doctor, a close friend, your pastor, or a competent counselor. Live a balanced life and remember, with help, faith, and persistence you can overcome your depression. Above all, talk to God. He loves you and cares for you. Ask him to direct you to the help you need, to give you the courage to face the cause/s of your depression, and to help you grow through your pain.
1. Ephesians 4:26, (TLB).
2. Philippians 4:8, (NIV).
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.