What is going on when we are depressed and what can we do about it?
People often don’t realise that depression is an emotion; when we are depressed all sorts of highly charged feelings are churning around. Strong emotions focus and lock up our attention. We are in ‘fight or flight’ or ‘survival’ mode. We are thinking in black and white. Everything becomes simplified:
- "Is this dangerous, or is it safe?"
- "Should I do this, or that?"
- "Choose this? Or that?"
- "Fight or run away?"
Our judgements are formed by two types of intelligence: Emotional and rational. Most of the time they work well together, but when feelings are very strong, they automatically overwhelm rational intelligence. Then we don’t see the wider perspective. We know that when we are in the grip of strong emotions, whether it is anger, fear, or new love, our judgement becomes clouded. The bigger picture disappears, and it is no different with the strong emotion of depression. Or anxiety.
When we are depressed, we are using the thinking part of our brain (the neocortex) less. In the neocortex, we have the ability to imagine, plan, to analyse and evaluate, and to make good judgements. But in depression, we become unable to unlock our attention and to respond in a rational way, and to see the thousands of possible explanations and opportunities, which could be so very much more helpful.
So, how can hypnotherapy help?
When my clients first experience trance, they speak about its calming effects. They experience a deep calm, which has been absent for a long time and which they have been craving. I get them to begin to look for the positive things, the little everyday wonders of being. Starting to move back into the rational brain feels good and the more we do it, the more we are able to do it.
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