Dr. Swisher, How can people overcome Depression?  Ahmed, Toledo

Hello Ahmed.  Thank you for this question which has both a Psychological and Spiritual dimension to it.

The National Institute of Health estimates that 10% of America’s population suffers from Depression.  This number may be a bit low considering the struggles that COVID has inflicted.  However, whether the number is 10, 15 or 20% the fact is this issue is a dominant one in society at the moment.

Depression is defined as a mental health disorder characterized by a persistently down or depressed mood coupled with loss of interest in activities and causing significant impairment to daily life.

Now that we know what it is and what symptoms are caused by the malady, what can we do about it?  Three of the leading voices in Positive Psychology are Abraham Maslow, Martin Seligman and Barbara Fredrickson.  These industry leaders have asserted that psychology itself does not have an accurate understanding of human potential.

Dr. Maslow put it this way, “The Science of the mind has been far more successful on the negative than the positive side. It has revealed much about humankind’s shortcomings but little about their possibilities.”

When Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association the central theme he chose for his term in office was Positive Psychology.  He wanted mental health to be more than the “absence of illness” and ushered in a new era focused on what makes people feel joyful and fulfilled.

Dr. Fredrickson made her significant contribution to the field with her Broaden and Build theory of positive emotions.  This concept proposes that positivity helps broaden people’s minds resulting in greater well being and resilience in times of adversity.

The Bible helps us in a number of places most notably Proverbs 23:7; “As a person thinks in their heart so are they.”  What we focus on, what we think about and what we allow around us has remarkable impact on how we think and what we feel and what we do.

I encourage you Ahmed and our other readers to look into the authors I note above and focus on the positive promises in the Bible.  I also encourage you to plug into Epworth UMC where you will find Help for today, Hope for tomorrow and a place to call home.