Depression is one of several mental health diagnoses that build momentum from the sadness, anger, and hopelessness that it deposits in those who experience it. Its symptoms influence our moods, behaviors, and bodies, leaving us as an exhausted, irritable shell of ourselves. It persuades us to trade our status as beloved sons and daughters for diminished esteem and enhanced distrust of God, ourselves, and others.
As a result, we experience fragmented thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that isolate us from life-giving connections and activities. Furthermore, depression’s tentacles clutch and suffocate, squeezing out our vigor and zest, while convincing us that we are alone and beyond the reach of hope.
While all of this is true, every experience with depression will vary with the individual. Partnering with our therapists and other healthcare providers may balance our approaches with the support we need. We may pursue individual or group counsel or medication.
Others may modify food choices and exercise to boost moods while some select alternative means of coping. Above all, sensing the Lord’s direction among our options will help us navigate the unique combination of symptoms we present.
Sourced for strategy.
While many would contend that mindfulness practices are borne out of a new-age philosophy, we need to revisit the Scriptures to debunk that myth. In recent decades, researchers have discovered and published findings on practices and principles that affect human wholeness, happiness, and well-being. Their findings confirm the fact that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
The same strategies and sage insight from the Word of God stand, whether we adapt it from a research study or directly from the Bible. However, the enemy has appropriated and corrupted practices intended to bless humanity, pitting it as a place for God’s people to abdicate remedies outlined for our wellness.
God truly is our Source, and it is only by Jesus that all things exist (Colossians 1:17). God, in His brilliant fashion, has originated, outlined, and revealed the mysteries of His provision for life and godliness in the Bible. Unfortunately, God’s people have often adopted religious dogma, fear, and shame around alternative therapies such that we don’t realize that God authored and established such practices and principles to guide and bless our lives.
This is not to criticize the Body of Christ, but rather to support believers in understanding that God is aware of every area of our lives. He has originated provisions that we tend to abandon, misjudging that they emerged from our Father.
Consequently, we do not have to feel guilt or shame about trying something different in our healing journey. God is always innovating, introducing fresh revelation amidst brokenness and barrenness (Isaiah 43:18-19). When we acknowledge what we are experiencing, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, we welcome the Holy Spirit to flood our soul deserts as the refreshing Living Water (John 4:14, 7:38).
From a place of authentic communication, He can comfort, counsel, and cultivate the mindset and behaviors that produce wellness from the inside out. Let’s explore the Biblical roots for mindfulness, deep breathing, and visualization as tools by which the Holy Spirit works in us to align our hearts, in righteousness.
Reject shame that would scold you for having an emotional response to pain. Take some time to be still with the Lord. Consider a mindfulness practice that encourages you to be intentionally aware of physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Whether it is an intentional time or in response to a trigger, use the moment to notice what you’re feeling and name it as the Holy Spirit helps you understand what has affected you.
It can feel a little out of control to permit yourself to feel things like pain, frustration, or anger, but remember that you are in a safe space with God as your refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1).
Allow yourself to be present enough in your situation and intentional moments of stillness to acknowledge your uncomfortable feelings. Don’t stop there, but remain cognizant of God’s active presence in your pain. He will help you to free what’s poisoning you from the inside as you surrender and release each of your emotions to Him, one by one, and name by name.
As One well-acquainted with grief, He knows how to govern and guide your heart through healing (Isaiah 53:3-4). He has equipped you with the grace to assess, address, and assign your uncomfortable feelings a place to go, directly into the capable hands of the Savior, Healer, and Deliverer.
Imagine your world.
God is the Originator of Imagination. We peek into His craftsmanship in Genesis when He spoke the world into being. In response, atmospheres, animals, environments, and ecosystems unfurled at His creative command (Genesis 1). When God formed Adam, He shaped Him with the capacity to identify the living creatures in his environment (Genesis 2:19-20).
Similarly, He has outfitted us with the ability to dream, imagine, and pray, activating the godly imagination to see, hear, and perceive what’s never been. He has equipped us with what we need to stretch beyond present circumstances into what He has next.
This is the foundation of hope. We need to have something to look forward to in life. Without it, our struggles seem empty and disconnected from any purpose (Romans 4:18). Depression drains hope, but God anchors it (Hebrews 6:19). We can seek Him to give us specific hopes. More importantly, we can connect our anticipation with the guaranteed peace and joy found in His Presence, now and in the life to come.
Visualizing, as it pertains to ascending from depression’s pit, requires faith. We can develop affirmations based on Scripture to detail and declare the reality that God’s Word speaks about us and our potential. Even if we are not fully living it yet, we can begin to declare God’s Word aloud. When we do this, we activate the God kind of faith that creates worlds.
When we sit with the Holy Spirit to receive God’s vision for our present and future lives, speaking what He shows us, we call into being new things and experiences in the same way that the Father did in the beginning (Genesis 1:31; Romans 4:17).
Deep breathing for managing depression.
Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is frequently named the Breath or Wind of God. It is His Spirit that breathed in us to make us living souls (Genesis 2:7). Breath-work is a system of inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply, extending one breath longer than the one that preceded it.
It navigates us through triggers, using the process of what we automatically do, to restore rest and calm during an especially challenging moment. It underscores to our minds that we are fully cared for and covered despite whatever presents.
Breath work allows us to exhale and release a memory, flashback, trigger, or unpleasant emotion to the Holy Spirit. The peace and calm of inhaling act to reassure our bodies, breathing in God’s presence.
Knowing that He is always with us and ready to exchange our pain for His peace is the cornerstone of this intimate practice. When we reach Him in a triggered or troubling moment, we receive support and strength to effectively treat and manage depression.
While this is one of the countless practical exercises that you can engage in, infinitely more is available to you. Remember the Lord is your Father and all of the power of God resides in you, in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Ask Him for insight and practical strategies to activate God’s Word in your life. He will make the Scriptures come alive to you, as part of a personal remedy and weapon for a real, though defeated, enemy. Furthermore, working with a counselor from this site will furnish you with tools and strategies to steer a new course through depression.
Next steps for dealing with depression.
While you are facing challenges associated with depression, you can draw hope in the place where you feel imprisoned by your mental and emotional states. God is reaching out with the hope to invite you into partnership. As you search for counselors on this site, prayerfully consider who would best match your needs. Reach out today and schedule an appointment.
“Depression”, Courtesy of micheile henderson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Silhouette”, Courtesy of William Farlow, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Light Bulb”, Courtesy of ameenfahmy, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Freedom”, Courtesy of Fuu J, Unsplash.com, CC0 License