Friday, July 17, 2015

Depression and movement

Here's a link to an interesting study of depression, using cell phone connections with the permission of study volunteers.

One take-away is that good advice to those suffering from the blues is "Take a walk."

Get up and get moving. Depressive states can function in a downward spiral. You want to crawl into a hole and be away from people, which makes the depression worse, which in turn makes you dig deeper into the hole, making the depression even worse.

Another take-away for me, which we talked about in a Bible study class this past Tuesday, is break your patterns. Someone has said that "a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out." Do something you don't usually do:
  • Call up a friend to have lunch together.
  • Drive to work or home by a different route.
  • Read news from a section of your preferred news source that you don't usually read. For example, if you usually devour sports news but ignore business news, flip things.
  • Learn something new.
  • Pray for others.
  • Serve others in Christ's name.
  • Some mornings, I decide to shave my face in a different order.
But, above all, cultivate a relationship with the God we meet in Jesus Christ. Even when you feel low, the God we know in Jesus has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). God also makes all things new (Revelation 21:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Most moods--from the blues to profound happiness--come and go. Persistent depression may be a clinical matter requiring a person to seek out medical help.

But the blues don't need to paralyze us. Moving toward--reaching out to--God, the world, and others, and not away from them, is a good way to keep the blues at bay and to lead a productive, God-honoring life in spite of the blues. (Winston Churchill famously called his own depression, "the black dog.")

By the way, if you have a friend suffering from the blues, reaching out to them is also a great way to help mitigate their sadness and give them hope.

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