Hardly anyone expected that things would get this bad in 2020. Once the pandemic hit and states all over the country started instituting lockdowns, economic activity collapsed dramatically. U.S. GDP was down 31.4 percent during the second quarter of 2020, and that was a drop without parallel in all of U.S. history. In fact, that decline was more than three times as large as the previous record. But eventually states started to “reopen” their economies, and U.S. GDP for the third quarter is expected to show a significant rebound when the numbers are finally released. Of course we still aren’t even close to where we used to be, but at least things weren’t as bad as they were in the second quarter.
But now as the fourth quarter begins, it appears that economic conditions are heading back in the wrong direction again.
The following are 15 signs that America’s economic depression is accelerating as we head toward the holiday season…
#1 All 546 Regal Cinema theaters in the United States are being shut down, and right now there is no timetable for reopening them.
#2 It is being reported that AMC Entertainment (the largest movie theater chain in the U.S.) will “run out of liquidity” in 6 months.
#3 Over the weekend, I was told by someone that works in the industry that he expects most movie theaters in the country to eventually close down permanently because of this pandemic.
#4 The average rent on a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is 20.3 percent lower than it was one year ago.
#5 During the 3rd quarter, the number of vehicles delivered by General Motors was down about 10 percent from a year ago.
#6 It is being reported that Anheuser-Busch will be laying off 400 employees in Loveland, Denver, Littleton and Colorado Springs.
#7 Allstate has just announced that they will be laying off 3,800 workers.
Juan Jose Martinez Camacho, 59, has been a cook for 30 years, since he was asked to fill in one day when he was working as a dishwasher in a restaurant.
He has worked as a cook at the Crowne Plaza in Redondo Beach, California, for 22 years. When he was laid off on March 23, he was thinking it would be only two or three months before things got back to normal. But late last month he was notified he had permanently lost the job, which paid $22 an hour. He has been looking for other cooking jobs without any luck.
Can you imagine doing the same thing for 30 years and suddenly being out of a job?
Like most Americans, he assumed that the pandemic would soon pass and he would be going back to his old routine.
But that hasn’t happened, and so he is among the millions of restaurant workers that are not bringing in any income right now.
With so many Americans out of work, food banks around the country have been dealing with a tsunami of demand. In previous articles, I have written about the absolutely massive lines that we have been seeing in certain portions of the nation. In some cases, people have started lining up at 2 AM in the morning and the lines have gotten up to 2 miles long.
And every week we see more gigantic lines at food banks all over America. The following is how one local news source described the massive lines that have been consistently forming in the state of Texas…
Thousands of cars form tightly packed lines across the state every week now to receive food. From Chihuahuan Desert border towns and cities to the staked plains of the panhandle, across the piney wood of deep East Texas, down to the Rio Grande and back cars stack, growing into steel and fiberglass caterpillars, hungry.
These events have distributed tens of millions of pounds of food over the past six months.
If you still have your job and you haven’t been forced to visit a food bank during this crisis, you should be thankful for your blessings.
Just like in the 1930s, we are witnessing colossal lines for food all over the nation, and this is just the beginning.
If you have been waiting for a “recovery”, you can stop waiting, because what we witnessed during the third quarter was about all the “recovery” that we are going to get.
Now we are less than a month away from a presidential election that promises to be incredibly chaotic, and the extremely deep divisions that already exist in our nation are likely to get even worse. Many believe that this election will produce even more civil unrest, and that will likely depress economic activity even further.
I truly wish that economic conditions would “return to normal” and that all of us could get back to our old patterns.
But there isn’t going to be any “return to normal” any time soon.
Instead, very dark days are ahead, and those very dark days will shake this nation to the core.
Negative emotions cause stronger appetite responses in emotional eaters
— by Nora Belblidia, Frontiers Science Writer
Turning to a tub of ice cream after a break-up may be a cliché, but there’s some truth to eating in response to negative emotions. Eating serves many functions – survival, pleasure, comfort, as well as a response to stress. However, emotional overeating – eating past the point of feeling full in response to negative emotions, is a risk factor for binge eating and developing eating disorders such as bulimia.
The study investigated the extent to which individual eating styles and emotional states predict appetite response to food images, by comparing emotional eaters – people who use food to regulate negative emotions – and restrictive eaters – people who control their eating through diets and calorie restriction. (While a person can be both an emotional and a restrictive eater, the two traits were not highly correlated in this study’s sample.)
Schnepper and her co-authors found that emotional eaters had a stronger appetite response and found food to be more pleasant when experiencing negative emotions compared to when they felt neutral emotions. Restrictive eaters, on the other hand, appeared more attentive towards food in the negative condition although this did not influence their appetite, and there was no significant change between the negative and neutral emotion conditions.
The findings point towards potential strategies for treating eating disorders. “When trying to improve eating behavior, a focus on emotion regulation strategies that do not rely on eating as a remedy for negative emotions seems promising,” says Schnepper.
The authors were compelled to investigate the subject because of a lack of consensus in the literature. “There are different and conflicting theories on which trait eating style best predicts overeating in response to negative emotions. We aimed to clarify which traits predict emotional overeating on various outcome variables,” says Schnepper.
They conducted the study among 80 female students at the University of Salzburg, all of whom were of average body mass index (BMI). During the lab sessions, experimenters read scripts to the participants in order to induce either a neutral or a negative emotional response. The negative scripts related to recent events from the participant’s personal life during which they experienced challenging emotions, while the neutral scripts related to subjects such as brushing one’s teeth. The participants were then shown images of appetizing food and neutral objects.
Researchers recorded participants’ facial expressions through electromyography, brain reactivity through EEGs (electroencephalography), as well as self-reported data. For example, emotional eaters frowned less when shown images of food after experimenters read the negative script compared to when they read the neutral script, an indication of a stronger appetite response. The study chose to only test female participants since women are more prone to eating disorders but, given the limited subject pool as well as the controlled conditions, Schnepper says that “We cannot draw conclusions for men or for long-term eating behavior in daily life.” Nevertheless, the study furthers our understanding of emotional overeating, and the findings may help in the early detection and treatment of eating disorders.
Many aches and pains are rooted in brain processes that can be affected by your mental attitude and emotions. While the mechanics of these mind-body links are still being unraveled, what is known is that your brain, and consequently your thoughts and emotions, do play a role in your experience of physical pain.
For instance, meditation appears to work for pain relief because it reduces brain activity in your primary somatosensory cortex, an area that helps create the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. Laughter is also known to relieve pain because it releases endorphins that activate brain receptors that produce pain-killing and euphoria-producing effects.
This line of communication between mind and body runs both ways though, and physical pain, especially if it’s chronic, is a well-known trigger for depression. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt at the Nebraska Medical Center Pain Management: “Depression and pain happen to share a part of the brain that’s involved in both conditions, which means that mind-body techniques that affect those areas can be efficacious for both.”
Meditation and laughter are just two examples of a burgeoning new field of science that looks at mind-body therapies to address depression and chronic pain. Here are 13 such strategies…
#1: Add EFT to Your Self-Help Toolkit
The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles.
Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem — whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.
This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” — the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.
Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on — the electromagnetic energy that flows through the body and regulates our health is only recently becoming recognized in the West. Others are initially taken aback by (and sometimes amused by) the EFT tapping and affirmation methodology.
But believe me when I say that, more than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT has the most potential to literally work magic. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.
In the videos below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows how you can use EFT to relieve your physical pain and depression.
Massage offers real health benefits, so much so that some conventional hospitals are making it a standard therapy for surgery patients and others. Along with promoting relaxation and improving your sense of well-being, getting a massage has been shown to:
Relieve pain (from migraines, labor, fibromyalgia and even cancer)
Reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and ease insomnia
Decrease symptoms of PMS
Relax and soften injured and overused muscles, reducing spasms and cramping.
Provide arthritis relief by increasing joint flexibility.
Massage affects your nervous system through nerve endings in your skin, stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural “feel good” chemicals. Endorphins help induce relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline — reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.
Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps the lymphatic system to flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility. Massage is said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of 10 cranial nerves, that affects the secretion of food absorption hormones, heart rate and respiration. It has proven to be an effective therapy for a variety of health conditions — particularly stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of disease.
As reported by iVillage.com:
“[A] new study from Thailand suggests that traditional Thai massage can decrease pain intensity, muscle tension and anxiety among people with shoulder pain. Meanwhile, research from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida found that when adults with hand pain had four weeks of massage therapy, they reported a lot less pain, anxiety and depression.
Another study at the Touch Research Institute found that when pregnant women who were depressed received massages from their partners twice a week, they had much less leg and back pain and fewer symptoms of depression during the second half of their pregnancies.”
#3: Remain in the Now…
Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications. Though it sounds simple, it often takes a concerted effort to remain in a mindful state, especially if it’s new to you. But doing so can offer some very significant benefits to both your mental and physical health.
For example, mindfulness training has been found to reduce levels of stress-induced inflammation, which could benefit people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.
This makes sense, since chronic stress heightens the inflammatory response, and mindfulness is likely to help you relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. In one eight-week study, people who received mindfulness training had smaller inflammatory responses than those who received a control intervention, which focused on healthy activities to reduce psychological stress but without particular instruction on mindfulness. Similarly, according to iVillage.com:
“Mindfulness meditation — focusing on your breath and each present moment — can lessen cancer pain, low back pain and migraine headaches. Researchers at Brown University in Providence, R.I., found that when women with chronic pelvic pain participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program, their pain decreased and their mood improved.”
In many ways, mindfulness is similar to transcendental meditation, the idea of which is to reach a place of “restful” or “concentrated” alertness, which enables you to let negative thoughts and distractions pass by you without upsetting your calm and balance. This type of meditation is easy to try at home: simply sit quietly, perhaps with some soothing music, breathe rhythmically and focus on something such as your breathing, a flower, an image, a candle, a mantra or even just being there, fully aware, in the moment.
Researchers report that practicing mindfulness meditation for just four days affects pain responses in your brain. Brain activity decreases in areas devoted to monitoring a painful body part, and also in areas responsible for relaying sensory information.
In biofeedback, electrical sensors attached to your skin allow you to monitor your biological changes, such as heart rate, and this feedback can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation. It can also teach you to control your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension through your mind. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt:
“Through focus and mental strategies, biofeedback induces the relaxation response and gives you a greater sense of control.”
Biofeedback is often used for stress-related conditions, such as:
#5: Free Yourself from Tension with Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is achieved by tensing and relaxing all the major muscle groups, one at a time, from head to toe. By learning to feel the difference between tension and relaxation, you can more actively disengage your body’s fight-or-flight response, which underlies most pain, depression and stress. As reported by iVillage.com:
“Studies show that whether PMR is used on its own or with guided imagery, it helps ease emotional distress and pain from cancer, osteoarthritis, surgery and other conditions.”
#6: Harness Relaxation with Tai Chi
The 2,000-year-old Chinese practice of tai chi is a branch of Qigong — exercises that harness the qi (life energy). It’s been linked to numerous health benefits, including improvements in the quality of life of breast cancer patients and Parkinson’s sufferers, and has shown promise in treating sleep problems and high blood pressure.
Often described as “meditation in motion” or “moving meditation,” the activity takes your body through a specific set of graceful movements. Your body is constantly in motion and each movement flows right into the next. While practicing tai chi, your mind is meant to stay focused on your movements, relaxation and deep breathing, while distracting thoughts are ignored.
Part of the allure is that it’s so gentle, it’s an ideal form of activity for people with pain or other conditions that prevent more vigorous exercise. You can even do tai chi if you’re confined to a wheelchair. Even respected conventional health institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School recommend tai chi for its health benefits, especially as a stress-reduction tool. However, there are more studies available than you might think; suggesting tai chi has an impressive range of health benefits. To browse through them, please see the WorldTaiChiDay.org web site. According to the study, A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia:
“In a recent study at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, researchers found that when people with fibromyalgia participated in 60-minute tai chi sessions twice a week for 12 weeks, they had much less physical and mental discomfort. The researchers also reviewed the medical literature on tai chi’s effect on psychological well-being and concluded that it reduces depression, anxiety and stress.”
#7: Breathe Easy…
Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response. There are many different breathing practices that you can try, but here I’m going to share two that are both powerful and very easy to perform. The first one I learned when I attended a presentation by Dr. Andrew Weil at the 2009 Expo West in California. The key to this exercise is to remember the numbers 4, 7 and 8. It’s not important to focus on how much time you spend in each phase of the breathing activity, but rather that you get the ratio correct. Here’s how it’s done:
Sit up straight
Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process
Breathe in silently through your nose to the count of four
Hold your breath to the count of seven
Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, making an audible “woosh” sound
That completes one full breath. Repeat the cycle another three times, for a total of four breaths
You can do this 4-7-8 exercise as frequently as you want throughout the day, but it’s recommended you don’t do more than four full breaths during the first month or so of practice. Later, you may work your way up to eight full breath cycles at a time. The benefits of this simple practice are enormous and work as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system.
The second is known as the Buteyko Breathing Method, which is a powerful approach for reversing health problems associated with improper breathing, the most common of which are overbreathing and mouthbreathing. When you stop mouth breathing and learn to bring your breathing volume toward normal, you have better oxygenation of your tissues and organs, including your brain.
Factors of modern life, including stress and lack of exercise, all increase your everyday breathing. Typical characteristics of overbreathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, sighing, noticeable breathing during rest, and taking large breaths prior to talking.
Controlling anxiety and quelling panic attacks is one of the areas where the Buteyko Method can be quite useful. If you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, or if you feel very stressed and your mind can’t stop racing, try the following breathing technique. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate carbon dioxide, leading to calmer breathing and reduces anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state:
Take a small breath into your nose, followed by a small breath out
Then hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release your nose to resume breathing
Hypnosis, which is a trance-like state in which you experience heightened focus and concentration, can help decrease pain by altering your emotional responses to your body’s pain signals and your thoughts about the pain. Contrary to popular belief, you do not relinquish control over your behavior while under hypnosis, but it does render you more open to suggestions from the hypnotherapist. As reported by iVillage.com:
“Studies show that hypnosis can help manage the pain from childbirth and metastatic breast cancer as well as chronic low back pain. What’s more, cognitive hypnotherapy can lead to less depression, anxiety and hopelessness among depressed people than cognitive behavioral therapy does, according to research from the University of Calgary in Canada.”
#9: Soothe Your Mind and Body Through the Power of Music
If you’re a music lover, you already know that turning on the tunes can help calm your nerves, make stress disappear, pump up your energy level during a workout, bring back old memories, as well as prompt countless other emotions. When you listen to music, much more is happening in your body than simple auditory processing.
Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated, according to recent research published in the journal Science. Other research revealed listening to music resulted in less anxiety and lower cortisol levels among patients about to undergo surgery than taking anti-anxiety drugs. As reported by iVillage.com:
“…[R]esearchers in Cleveland found that when [burn] patients listened to music and used visual imagery as a distraction when their wound dressings were being changed, they experienced significantly less pain, anxiety and muscle tension. In a study in Norway, depressed people who had music therapy plus psychotherapy were less depressed and anxious and more functional than those who just did regular therapy.”
Musical preference varies widely between individuals, so only you can decide what will effectively put you in a particular mood. Overall, classical music tends to be among the most calming, so may be worth a try. To incorporate music into a busy schedule, try playing CDs while driving, or put on some tunes while you’re getting ready for work in the morning. You can also take portable music with you when walking the dog, or turn on the stereo instead of watching TV in the evening.
Yoga has been proven to be particularly beneficial if you suffer with back pain, but recent research also suggests it can also be of tremendous benefit for your mental health. Duke University researchers recently published a review of more than 100 studies looking at the effect of yoga on mental health, and according to lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center:
“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”
According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:
Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
ADHD (among patients using medication)
Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Yoga was also found to reduce levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, blood lipids and growth factors.
According to iVillage.com, visualization techniques or guided imagery can serve as an important tool to combat both physical pain and depression by imagining being in “a better place.”
“Research shows it can help with pain from cancer, osteoarthritis and childbirth by providing distraction and promoting a state of relaxation. In addition, a study from Portugal found that when people hospitalized for depressive disorders listened to a guided imagery CD once a day for 10 days, they were less depressed, anxious and stressed over time, compared to peers who didn’t use visualization.”
Ideally, you’ll want to immerse yourself as fully as you possibly into your visualization, using all your senses: seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and feeling. According to Dr. Schmidt:
“Using all your senses changes levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, epinephrine and endorphins, and with regular practice you’ll gain more of a sense of control, which is often lacking when you’re in pain or depressed.”
#12: Repeat a Calming Mantra
The repeated incantation of a mantra — a soothing or uplifting word or phrase of your choice — in a rhythmic fashion can help you relax in a similar way as mindfulness training. The focused repetition, also called autogenic training, helps keep your mind from wandering and worrying, and engages your body’s relaxation response.
“A study at the University of Manchester in the U.K. found that autogenic training helped female migraine sufferers decrease the frequency and intensity of their headaches. And research from the University of Melbourne in Australia suggests that autogenic training may provide ‘helpful longer-term effects’ on symptoms of depression,” according to iVillage.com.
#13: Remove Pain and Dysfunctional Psychological Conditions with the Neurostructural Integration Technique
The Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST) is an amazing innovative technique developed in Australia. Using a series of gentle moves on specific muscles or at precise points on your body creates an energy flow and vibrations between these points. This allows your body to communicate better with itself and balance the other tissues, muscles and organs. The method of action is likely through your autonomic nervous system (ANS), allowing your body to better carry out its many functions the way it was designed to.
The main objective is to remove pain and dysfunctional physiological conditions by restoring the structural integrity of the body. In essence, NST provides the body with an opportunity to reintegrate on many levels, and thus return to and maintain normal homeostatic limits on a daily basis.
NST is done with a light touch and can be done through clothing. There are pauses between sets of moves to allow your body to assimilate the energy and vibrations. To learn more, please review the article, Gentle Hands Can Restore Your Health, by Micheal Nixon Levy who developed the technique.
In a landmark study conducted by Danish researchers found that antidepressants can cause a person to become twice as likely to commit suicide or engage in violent activity than before they started taking the drugs. The analysis looked at 11 studies in which people without any signs or history of depression were given antidepressants and then afterwards reported their level of anxiety, nervousness, and depression nearly doubled.
Professor Peter Gotzsche, from the Nordic Cochrane Centre and lead author of the study, said such feelings could be considered as “precursors to suicidality or violence.”
These findings indicate that when healthcare professionals assume that heightened anxiety or depression is caused by the person’s already-existing mental illness and not antidepressants, that this is a “potentially lethal misconception.”
Trial phases of the research conducted by drug companies that produce the SSRIs, such as Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa, reported that some patients had experienced suicidal thoughts and ideations, and thoughts of violence.
Though antidepressants are seen as dangerous for children because they produce these feelings and thoughts, they are thought of as safe for adults. These findings show that this is not necessarily the case. Professor Gøtzsche told The Express,
“It is well documented that drug companies under-report seriously the harms of antidepressants related to suicide and violence, either by simply omitting them from reports, by calling them something else or by committing scientific misconduct.”
The dangers of antidepressants and the agenda that Big Pharma is pushing is becoming increasingly known, as people fight for their right for safe and affordable healthcare. Though these drugs can produce amazing effects on some of those suffering from depression and anxiety, the likelihood that they are also harming some users is high.
Warning labels on antidepressants do include mention that suicidal thoughts could increase during the initial period, but the results of such trials and how the drugs even affect people without mental illness are not made clear in any capacity.
Despite these findings by Professor Gøtzsche, many are quick to refute the claims. Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Professor of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, said,
“Overall, medications used in any branch of medicine that do good can also do harm. The same applies in psychiatry. Current evidence from large scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks. If the evidence changes then so will our advice, but this study changes nothing.”
Though it may change nothing about how pharmaceuticals market and make their antidepressants, it may change how people view the effectiveness and safety of such drugs. Reaching users and citizens is at the core of uprooting corrupt systems, such as pharmaceuticals who are primarily concerned about profit over safety.
What are your thoughts on these findings? Please share, like, and comment on this article!
Anyone may go through a period of sadness or challenge that is so deep-seated and tenacious that it qualifies as a dark night of the soul. Not long ago I was giving a talk at a university when a man shouted at me from back in the crowd: “I’m terribly depressed. It’s been years. Help me.” I shouted back my email address. In his voice and body language I could see that this man was not caught in some passing depression. His life was broken by some loss, failure, or long-forgotten emotional wound that left him in a desperately dark place.
I reserve the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ for a dark mood that is truly life-shaking and touches the foundations of experience, the soul itself. But sometimes a seemingly insignificant event can give rise to a dark night: You may miss a train and not attend a reunion that meant much to you. Often a dark night has a strong symbolic quality in that it points to a deeper level of emotion and perhaps a deeper memory that gives it extra meaning. With dark nights you always have to be alert for the invisible memories, narratives, and concerns that may not be apparent on the surface.
Faced with a dark night, many people treat it like an illness, like depression. They may take medication or go into counseling looking for a cause. It can be useful to search for the roots of a dark night, but in my experience the best way to deal with it is to find the concrete action or decision that it is asking for.
Engaging the Night
A dark night of the soul is a kind of initiation, taking you from one phase of life into another. You may have several dark nights in the course of your life because you are always becoming more of a person and entering life more fully. At least, that is the hope.
One simple rule is that a truly deep dark night requires an extraordinary development in life. One outstanding example is Abraham Lincoln. With his early life surrounded by death and loneliness and his adult life weighed down by a war in which thousands of young men died, he was a seriously melancholic man who, in spite of or through his dark night, became an icon of wisdom and leadership. One theory is that he escaped his melancholy in his efforts for his country, but another possibility is that the very darkness of his life—he once said, “If there’s a worse place than hell, I’m in it.”—was the ground out of which his leadership grew.
As a therapist, I have worked with people profoundly sad and discouraged, and I join with them in looking for ways to transform that heavy mood into a weighty life. Contemporary people often don’t take their lives seriously enough. This tendency might be an aspect of the cult of celebrity, where we lose sight of our own importance by making too much of it in others.
In the archetypal psychotherapy that I practice, we always say: Go with the symptom. I don’t look for quick escapes from the pain or good distracting alternatives. I try to imagine how a symptom, like a long-standing dark night, might be re-imagined and even lived out in a way that is not literally depressive. As far back as the Middle Ages at least, dark moods were considered to be the work of Saturn, a spirit symbolized by a planet far out in the solar system. He was cold, lonely, and heavy, but he was also the source of wisdom and artistic genius. Look through history and you will find a great number of creative men and women who have struggled with the Saturnine humor.
This ancient idea that a dark night may be connected with genius and inspiration could help us today as we try to be constructive with a Saturnine disposition, like Lincoln’s, or a period of smoky moodiness. We might imagine it as the root and basis of an engagement with life that could give meaning and purpose. This doesn’t necessarily mean that eventually the dark spirit will go away, but it may have a counterweight—some extraordinary creative activity and involvement in life—that will make it more than bearable and may diminish it.
With our contemporary view of anything that looks like depression, we think: I’ll never be happy, never have a good relationship, never accomplish anything. But with the medieval image of Saturn, we might instead tell ourselves: A dark night is the sign of a high calling. My pain and loneliness will prepare me for my destiny.
Finding the Gift in Darkness
There are many examples of men and women who endured unimaginable ordeals and yet contributed in a striking way to humanity’s progress. Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years under harsh conditions, yet he never lost his vision and sense of destiny. One of his younger fellow prisoners said of him: “The point about Nelson, of course, is that he has a tremendous presence, apart from his bearing, his deportment and so on. He’s a person who’s got real control over his behavior. He is also quite conscious of the kind of seriousness he radiates.” This is dark night talk—presence and seriousness, the key gifts of Saturn—as a long tradition holds. Mandela’s dark night was an actual imprisonment, not a mood. Still, he teaches how to deal with a dark night. Don’t waste time in illusions and wishes. Take it on. Keep your sense of worth and power. Keep your vision intact. Let your darkness speak and give its tone to your bearing and expression.
The regenerative power of nature grows more beautiful after a devastating forest fire at Yellowstone Park in 1988. photography | Wikimedia Commons, Jim Peaco
As strange as it may sound, there is a temptation in a dark night to slip into enjoyment of the pain and to identify with your emotions and moods. “I’m a lonely person. I’m depressed. Help me.” One striking quality we see in men and women who are dealing with their dark nights effectively is a lack of masochistic surrender to the mood, which can be forceful and dominating.
Mandela had “control over his behavior.” He didn’t succumb. It’s important to live through the dark night, acknowledge it, notice its qualities, and be affected by it. At the same time, it is not useful to be too attached to it or to let it dominate. You don’t want to be the hero who slays dragons and tries to obliterate the darkness, but you do need all the strength of heart you can muster.
While giving a dark night its due, you can also cultivate a love of life and joy in living that doesn’t contradict the darkness. You can be dedicated to your work and your vision for humanity and also feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world. To do this it helps to have a philosophy of life that understands the creative coming together of conflicting moods. The rule is simple: Human beings can do more than one thing at a time. You can acknowledge your darkness and still find some joy.
An example of the dark night leading to a transformative presence in the world is Maya Angelou, who went from not speaking for five or six years as a child out of guilt and the wounds of abuse to reciting the inaugural poem for Bill Clinton and inspiring millions to make something of their own dark nights. In all her public appearances, Angelou showed both the pain and the joy that shaped her mission in life. She carried her pain throughout her life and yet her joy seemed to increase with her impact on men and especially women around the world.
Angelou’s experience demonstrates in an intriguing way how a dark night might take away your ‘voice’ and then give it back with added power. The question is, how do you go from a dark night to having a positive impact on the world, thus giving your own life purpose?
The first step is to embrace the darkness, take it to heart, winnow out any subtle innuendos of resistance. Then find any images that are trapped in the thick dark mood or situation. Those images may hold the clue to your release and future service. Angelou lost her voice, a fascinating symptom and a strong image, and then became known worldwide for her voice. The cure lies in the illness, the hint at future activity within the symptom. If you tone down the dark elements because they are painful and discouraging, you may also hide the gifts that are there for you.
The Return of Aliveness: The Dark Night of the Soul
By Eckhart Tolle
The ‘dark night of the soul’ is a term that goes back a long time. Yes, I have also experienced it. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life… an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression. Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event—some disaster perhaps. The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death—for example, if your child dies. Or the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.
It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster, which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before. Really what has collapsed is the whole conceptual framework for your life. That results in a dark place.
There is the possibility that you emerge out of it into a transformed state of consciousness. Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain. Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.
They awaken into something deeper. A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual. It’s a kind of re-birth. The dark night of the soul is a kind of death. What dies is the egoic sense of self. Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died—only an illusory identity. Now, it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realize that they had to go through that in order to bring about a spiritual awakening. Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.
You arrive at a place of conceptual meaninglessness. Or one could say a state of ignorance—where things lose the meaning that you had given them, which was all conditioned and cultural and so on.
Then you can look upon the world without imposing a mind-made framework of meaning. It looks, of course, as if you no longer understand anything. That’s why it’s so scary when it happens to you, instead of you actually consciously embracing it. It can bring about the dark night of the soul. You now go around the Universe without any longer interpreting it compulsively, as an innocent presence. You look upon events, people, and so on with a deep sense of aliveness. You sense the aliveness through your own sense of aliveness, but you are not trying to ﬁt your experience into a conceptual framework anymore.
Another important strategy is to avoid making the dark night too personal, too focused on yourself. Yes, you feel it intimately and alone. But it could still have more to do with the suffering of the world than with yourself. Maybe dark nights are generally less personal than they feel. At any one time, beings on the planet are suffering. The planet itself is suffering; it is going through a dark night constantly. If you live in a place where children are hungry and dying in wars and in domestic violence, you are within the realm of the world’s dark night. Listen to political leaders deny climate change and you worry about the future, not of the planet on which you live but the planetary being of which you are a living part. If you can stretch your moral imagination to perceive this suffering, then you will have the energy and focus to work toward a transformation.
By definition, visionary people imagine utopia, a word that means both ‘no-place’ and ‘good-place.’ It is an imagined state of the world in which people are free of their struggle, where at least the basic insecurities and inequalities have been dealt with. But oddly, it takes the pain and despair of a dark night to envision utopia.
Think about it, you wouldn’t be compelled to imagine a perfected life unless you were steeped in its imperfection. The emptiness of the dark night transforms into the no-place of a wonderful world. If you don’t feel the hopelessness of a dark night, you will probably float through life identifying unconsciously with the values and expectations of the culture. You won’t know that there is something wrong, something that calls for a response from you. Personally, you may not feel your being. You may eventually decide that you’re a nobody, for you become a somebody by identifying with the world outside you. Self-realization is not a private psychological achievement managed by a strong will and a hygienic attitude. A strong sense of self emerges when you own and activate the awareness that you are your world. A mystical sensibility and social action go together. Through an essential shift in imagination you realize that you are not the one suffering; the world is.
The real stunner is that when you begin to serve the world, your darkness changes. It doesn’t go away completely; nor should it. It continues to feed your vision of utopia and your frustration at the imperfection of it all. But your personal darkness converts into anger at injustice and then into compassionate vision and effective action. The darkness and the vision are two parts of one flowing movement.
Maybe it isn’t that your darkness eases but that your ego investment in it diminishes. It feels as though it goes away because you’ve been grasping it. There may be a degree of love for the darkness and a disdain for hope. You don’t want the challenge of being alive and engaging the world. It may be easier to sink into the pit. Some people resist participating in the transformation of the world because they glimpse the challenge in it. They will have to give up a long-held philosophy of easy, comfortable pragmatism and, maybe for the first time in their lives, feel the world’s suffering.
You see this pattern of waking up from pleasant unconsciousness to awareness of suffering in the story of the Buddha, and one of the key words Jesus uses in his teaching, not often pointed out by his followers, is ‘wake up.’ But waking up is also entering your dark night instead of remaining in the oblivion of avoidance. You do wake up to a joyful message, the meaning of the word ‘Gospel,’ but the dark night is always part of the picture, the other side of the coin.
The best source in classical spiritual literature for describing the paradox of darkness and vision is the Tao Te Ching, where on every page you are invited to live without polarization. Chapter 14 is a good example: “Above, it is not bright. Below, it is not dark.” ‘It’ is everything. Below, where you might expect darkness, it’s bright. Above, where you think you’d find light, it’s dark. Keep this paradox in mind and you will be neither a sentimental idealist nor a cynical pessimist. You will be part of the transformation of it all because it is happening in you.
More than 3 million Americans receive acupuncture each year, and its use is increasing.1 While there are a variety of acupuncture techniques, those typically used in the U.S. incorporate traditions from China, Japan and Korea and involve penetrating your skin with a thin needle at certain points on your body.
The needle is then stimulated by hand or electrically.2 Acupuncture has been in use for thousands of years around the globe, and it has withstood the test of time because it works to safely relieve many common health complaints.
How it works has remained largely a mystery, but last year researchers revealed a biochemical reaction that may be responsible for some of acupuncture’s beneficial effects.
Scientists Reveal How Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation and Pain
An animal study looking into the effects of acupuncture on muscle inflammation revealed that manual acupuncture downregulates (or turns off) pro-inflammatory cells known as M1 macrophages. At the same time, it upregulates (or activates) anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages, thereby reducing pain and swelling.3
This is an effective strategy because M2 macrophages are a source of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10), a cytokine involved in immune response. It’s thought that upregulating M2 macrophages leads to an increase in IL-10, which subsequently helps relieve pain and inflammation. The Epoch Times reported:4
“Acupuncture literally flips a switch wherein initial inflammatory responses are reduced and the secondary healing responses are promoted.
M1 macrophage downregulation and M2 macrophage upregulation triggered by acupuncture was positively associated with reductions in muscle pain and inflammation.”
It’s likely that acupuncture works via a variety of mechanisms. In 2010, for instance, it was found that acupuncture activates pain-suppressing receptors and increased the concentration of the neurotransmitter adenosine in local tissues.5
Adenosine slows down your brain’s activity and induces sleepiness. According to a Nature Neuroscience press release:6
“ … [T]he authors propose a model whereby the minor tissue injury caused by rotated needles triggers adenosine release, which, if close enough to pain-transmitting nerves, can lead to the suppression of local pain.”
Acupuncture Influences Your Body on Multiple Levels
With documented use dating back more than 2,500 years, acupuncture is based on the premise that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points in the human body, which are connected by bioenergetic pathways known as meridians.
According to traditional medicine, it is through these pathways that Qi, or energy, flows, and when the pathway is blocked the disruptions can lead to imbalances and chronic disease.
Acupuncture is proven to impact a number of chronic health conditions, and it may work, in part, by stimulating your central nervous system to release natural chemicals that alter bodily systems, pain and other biological processes. Evidence suggests that acupuncture may also work by:7
Stimulating the conduction of electromagnetic signals, which may release immune system cells or pain-killing chemicals
Activation of your body’s natural opioid system, which may help reduce pain or induce sleep
Stimulation of your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which impact numerous body systems
Change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which may positively influence brain chemistry
Acupuncture May Relieve Pain From Knee Osteoarthritis
Acupuncture is often used for the treatment of chronic pain, and it may be particularly useful for pain from knee osteoarthritis.
In a study by researchers from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture received five times a week for four weeks significantly reduced pain and improved stiffness in patients with knee osteoarthritis.8
In this study, the improvements increased even more when acupuncture was combined with Chinese massage called Tui Na. Other research has also shown benefits, including one of the longest and largest studies on the topic to date.
More than 550 patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis took part in the 26-week trial. The participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or self-help strategies recommended by the Arthritis Foundation (the latter served as a control group).
Significant differences in response were seen by week eight and 14, and at the end of the trial, the group receiving real acupuncture had a 40 percent decrease in pain and a nearly 40 percent improvement in function compared to baseline assessments — a 33 percent difference in improvement over the sham group.9
Acupuncture for Relief of High Blood Pressure
There is some evidence that acupuncture may help lower high blood pressure while also relieving associated anxiety, headaches, dizziness, palpitations and tinnitus.
It’s known that high blood pressure leads to elevated concentrations of inflammation-causing tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and TNF-α-stimulated endothelin (ET), peptides involved in constricting blood vessels and raising blood pressure.10,11
It’s thought that acupuncture may downregulate TNF-α and ET, thereby reducing blood pressure. In another study of patients with high blood pressure, 30 minutes of electroacupuncture (in which the needles are stimulated with electricity) a week led to slight declines in blood pressure.12
Study co-author Dr. John Longhurst, a cardiologist at the University of California, Irvine, told WebMD, “Potentially, blood pressure can be kept low with a monthly follow-up treatment.” He continued:13
“A noticeable drop in blood pressure was observed in 70 percent of the patients treated at the effective points, an average of 6 to 8 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure [the top number] and 4 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure [the lower number].”
Acupuncture Even Works for Fibromyalgia Pain and Pain in Children
One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in treating chronic pain. One analysis of the most robust studies available concluded that acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard pain treatment.14
Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture.
Even fibromyalgia pain, which can be difficult to treat and is associated with sleep problems, fatigue and depression, may be improved.
In one study, 10 weeks of acupuncture decreased pain scores in fibromyalgia patients by an average of 41 percent, compared with 27 percent in those who received a sham procedure.15
The pain relief lasted for at least 1 year, leading researchers to conclude, “ … [T]he use of individualized acupuncture in patients with fibromyalgia is recommended.” Acupuncture also appears to be a safe and effective treatment for relieving chronic pain in children.
In a study of 55 children with chronic pain, those who received eight acupuncture sessions (each lasting about 30 minutes) reported significant reductions in pain and improved quality of life.16
Acupuncture for Depression, Cancer Patients and More
Acupuncture’s benefits extend to a myriad of other health conditions as well. Research suggests acupuncture works as well as counseling for treating depression, for instance.17 It may also improve fatigue, anxiety and depression in cancer patients in as little as eight weeks — and much more.18
The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an extensive review and analysis of clinical trials related to acupuncture and reported the procedure has been proven effective for the following diseases:19
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Acute bacillary dysentery
Acute epigastralgia (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Additionally, acupuncture has also shown a therapeutic effect for treating the following diseases and conditions, which range from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and addictions to whooping cough, although further research is needed:
Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
Are Certain Types of Acupuncture Better Than Others?
Similar benefits have been found for different types of acupuncture treatment. For instance, sometimes the stimulation of acupuncture points is done using electricity, lasers or acupressure (the use of pressure to stimulate acupuncture points).
The term acupuncture is often used to describe all of these modalities, as each has shown similar benefits. This means that if you like the idea of trying a natural, ancient technique like acupuncture, but don’t like the idea of having needles inserted into your body, there are needle-free alternatives, such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, you can try that may offer many of the same benefits.
If you decide to try out traditional acupuncture, be aware that the success of your treatment depends on the expertise of your practitioner. While there are acupuncturists that have general specialties, there are also those that specialize in different health conditions, such as pain relief, depression, infertility or neurological disorders. Choose an acupuncturist that is experienced in your area of need who will work with you to develop a plan for healing.
Some healers, myself included, like to look for metaphors in medicine. A common metaphor used to understand diabetes is that the “diabetic patient lacks sweetness in her/his life”. While this is by no means meant to represent any individual patient’s experience with diabetes, some people do find an element of truth to this statement.
And when you consider that depression often coexists with diabetes, this statement gets even closer to home.
The medical community recognizes the relationship between elevated blood sugar levels and conditions such as heart and kidney disease; we now also recognize that elevated blood sugar and depression are also closely linked. Depressed patients are less likely to engage in effective self-care practices such as exercise and cooking nutritious meals from whole foods (foods that have one ingredient on their list/foods that come directly from planet earth: think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, meat), which only exacerbates their increasing blood sugar levels.
Our bodies do not like our blood sugar levels to be too high (or too low, for that matter). As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas pumps out more insulin to siphon the sugar out of our bloodstream and into the cells of our bodies for use as energy, or to be stored for later as triglycerides, or fat-storage molecules. The problem is that if we constantly have high levels of insulin in our bloodstream, the cells in our body become “resistant” to insulin. Think of insulin as a stereo, playing a message to the cells that glucose is outside, can they please open their doors and let in glucose in? The cells get that message and open up their doors. If, however, there is lots of glucose and therefore lots of insulin, the message played by insulin gets louder and louder. In an effort to “plug their ears” from insulin’s now-very loud message, the cells open fewer doors, so less glucose can get into the cells, and more insulin must then be produced. This is a state of insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes, and occurs in the early stages of type II diabetes.
Among several other effects, insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation have marked disruptive effects on sleep, and can contribute to the development of sleep apnea. Sleep is one of the most fundamental activities required for optimum mental health, so sleep disturbance feeds the negative spiral into worsening health for patients suffering from depression and diabetes.
By addressing lifestyle factors including diet (primarily, removing refined carbohydrates from the diet and adding in protective antioxidants and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables, as well as appropriate amounts of protein), exercise levels (implementing realistic movement goals appropriate for each patient), and sleep (making sure you’re getting restful, rejuvenating sleep), we at the Mind-Body Center aim to help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. We’ve also noticed that weight loss, an alert mind, regular and sustainable energy levels, and clear skin happen to be pleasant side effects!
The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. ~Albert Camus
When depression hits, it hijacks your thoughts and feelings. It whispers seductive lies into your ears; lies that gradually start sounding like the truth. I know how that feels, because I have struggled with it too. If on the other hand, you knew the lies depression commonly uses, then you can ignore or replace them with your own inner truth. And every time you do that, you have healed a little bit.
So, here are some common ‘depression deceptions’ to watch out for:
1. It’s a chemical condition. So I can’t really do anything about it right?
I’m a psychiatrist and so I hear this one a lot. And it dismays me. As a society, we have gone from one extreme-thinking that everything was related to your mother-to the other extreme-now everything is a chemical condition that is beyond our control. Both are too simplistic. We are complex individuals with unique and rich stories. There is no one answer that will always fit all of us.
Yes your brain is made up of electrical impulses and chemical substances that change a million times in a day and make up your thoughts and/or emotions. And yes, often times, severe clinical depression requires medications. In fact, they can be essential and life saving in some situations. But, and listen to this very closely, even when they work well, medications alone don’t keep you from getting depressed again. What they do, is give you enough relief to then workon your self, and change the things in your mind and life, so that hopefully, you don’t feel that depressed again.
In fact, some forms of therapy, such as Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, has been shown to be even better than medications at lowering the risk of relapse (as long as you’ve gotten over the worst hump).
The human mind is very powerful but much of it is amenable to change. It’s a tough process, but so worth the effort.
2. Anyone with my childhood/job/marriage/health/finances would be depressed!
Each of us lives in our own heads and so we only can feel our own pain. Yes we can empathize with others, but we can’t fully feel anyone else’s joy or pain as intimately as we can feel our own.
This can lead us to feel trapped by the pain of our own life circumstances.
I used to feel this way as well. My depression would tell me “Your mom committed suicide and your dad is a narcissist. It’s not possible for you to ever be happy”. The worst part was, I believed it for a long time.
Since then, I have been fortunate to feel my own strengths, to learn about the brain, to read books and meet amazing people who have overcome great odds, proving to me over and over again that the human spirit is greater than the sum of past events.
You have great inner strength and wisdom within you. Whatever may have happened in your past is only one part of you. Don’t let it dictate your whole life
3. I’ve tried everything. Nothing works for me.
Do you feel like you have tried every single thing to help yourself? And nothing is working?
If that’s the case, maybe you’re trying too hard. Sometimes chasing happinessmakes it more…..elusive, like a butterfly that will only come and softly sit on your shoulder when you can simply be in it’s presence without chasing it.
Try just surrounding yourself with people who seem genuinely happy. Not the Polly Anna kind of superficial happy. But the folks that exude a sense of deep contentment and peace from within. Don’t compare or force happiness to come to you. Just be in its presence.
4. I’ll be happier once I lose weight/get a raise/buy a home…
I wasted lots of my time in my 20’s hoping that if I just worked desperately toward achieving this or that, I would live happily ever after. Well, I did achieve most of those things, and it did make me feel excited briefly, but soon I had gone back to my usual state of mind. Feeling confused, I would replace it with another “goal” and chase after that, hoping that this time, the happiness would be deeper and long lasting.
And one day I was explaining this theory to a close friend, and she said simply “What’s wrong with now? Why not just be happy now?”
It blew me away. Because she wasn’t telling me to not reach for my goals, but rather that I was missing out on the possibility of NOW.
This very moment is alive with possibility. Whenever you begin to worry about the future or connect your happiness to some elusive goal, take a moment to bring your awareness back to this moment. Use your senses to really see, hear, smell and touch your immediate surroundings. And think of one thing you are grateful for today. Maybe it’s your morning cup of coffee, the hug your son gave you or that your friend called to share a joke. Whatever it is, if you truly loved it, spend a few moments being genuinely thankful that you had that TODAY.
5. I’ve screwed up a lot. I hate myself. I’m not worthy of happiness.
This is a tough one, because when we don’t love ourselves, that’s where the work must start. No foundation, no building.
Whatever you may have done in the past, it’s gone. That moment can never come back.
However, every new breath you take now is a new chance at life. It’s totally fresh and alive for you to shape as you like. And if this one doesn’t do it, that’s fine, your next breath is again a fresh possibility. And the next. And the next.
Until you take your last breath, you have millions of moments to start over and become the person you want to be. It’s up to you what you do with each one.
6. Most of my life is okay, except for that one ‘X’ thing.
I once read a story that goes something like this.
A professor puts up a big white board with a black dot on it, and then asks his students to describe what they see.
Most of them come close to scrutinize the board and blurt out the answer excitedly “The black dot! There is a black dot on it!”
Finally, the professor says “It’s interesting that most of you didn’t notice the whole white board in front of you, but rather chose to focus on that one small black dot”
This is what happens when we focus solely on the negative things. I’m not saying your difficulties are just dot sized. Not at all. All I’m saying is: Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful expanse of white in your life. Because it’s there.
Source: “6 Lies Your Depression Wants You to Believe (& How to Not Fall Into the Trap)”, from thechangeblog.com, by Kavetha Sundaramoorthy
As we move through the Shift, changes are happening within our bodies. We are altering how we see the world around us, and increasing our body’s ability to hold Light. As we alter the electromagnetic frequencies in our physical and emotional bodies, many of us are beginning to think differently about ourselves. Depending on how we hold resistance in our body, and where we argue for our limitations, we will experience physical and emotional symptoms from time to time.
These are known as “Ascension Symptoms.” Seeking the advice of a professional is always a wise thing to do when one is unsure or concerned or needs information. However, do not be surprised if, after a number of visits, your physician or health practitioner tells you, “I can’t find anything wrong.”
You are becoming a being that holds higher, faster frequencies of consciousness. You are changing. You are reducing the density in your body. The best solution I have found to date is to relax, enjoy yourself, and know that this readjustment phase will be over soon. Let yourself drool.
In the meantime, the following questions outline some typical symptoms that people have been reporting. I hope the answers will give you some peace of mind.
ACHES, PAINS AND GENERAL PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT
I seem to be experiencing a lot of physical discomfort lately in different areas of my body. I am getting aches and pains in places that I can’t relate to any specific activity or exertion. Can you give me some idea of what might be going on?
As I’m sure you know, all physical discomfort is related to being energetically off- balance. As we make changes to heal energetically, the places in our bodies that hold the old patterns may talk back to us. As the charged block is dislodged we may feel the effect, kind of like an old log getting jogged loose from the log-jam in the river. And, of course, putting your attention on anything will only amplify it.
Here are some exercises that will help:
1) Use the Grounding Cord. Attach it to the ache and ground or drain out the energy. You might find it helpful to imagine the ache as a color.
2) Use the Rose Tool. Imagine the ache as a color. Collect up the energy/color with the Rose, then move the Rose away and explode it.- releasing all that ache.
3) Spin your fields…
I never used to suffer from headaches, but this past year, I’ve been getting them as often as twice a month. The pain is excruciating. Is this something I should be concerned about, or does this have something to do with all the solar flares we have been getting?
Usually headaches are caused by other people and other energies being in your head. When you are intentionally clearing your space, including the Center of Your Head – this energy sometimes resists being thrown out and it may bump around even more… kind of like that log jam. As they are getting knocked loose, the logs may bump around for a bit or get stuck in new ways until the water (energy) washes them away. Using the Rose Tool to clean out the Center of Your Head will help. Be sure to use this tool even if you don’t have the headache. Practice when it doesn’t count. Please be patient and use the tools daily. Those people and that energy may have been in your space for a very long time. It may take a few rounds of Rose work to release them and send them along their way. Back to their own heads.
ELECTRICAL BURSTS OF ENERGY
I have been feeling strange bursts of heat in my feet. It almost feels like little hot spots that get activated by a sudden surge of electrical energy.
Congratulations! It looks like this electrical energy you are experiencing may be great validation that energy is moving through your space at higher and brighter levels. Whatever spiritual and energy work you are doing is calling forth more light into your life. Now the trick is to get out of the way and allow it! It is as if you are now suddenly running 210 volts of electricity through wires designed to only allow 110.
A suggestion: In order to allow the flow to move without discomfort, you might try opening up your feet chakras about 10% more. Just pretend and imagine them opening in any fun way that works for you. You can also put your attention on your leg channels and open those a bit more too.
DESPAIR AND DEPRESSION
Why do I often feel despair?
Those feelings of despair may have many causes. Here are two possibilities:
Firstly, the energy is not yours, but is coming from those around you. Many people who don’t have tools are feeling the Shift and responding to it with despair. Many others, like you, who are sensitive, are picking up on it. It doesn’t matter if this is the cause of your despair or not. Simply use the tools that you know work so well to clear that energy out. Pretend it is a color to make it easier and more neutral to work with.
Secondly, it is possible that you are remembering Home, and as the noise and drama surrounding you gets louder and more intrusive, the contrast between what you notice around you and what you remember as Home is vast. That
While someone commits suicide in the United States every 15 minutes, many more think about it or even attempt to take their own lives, according to a new study showing that residents of Utah have the highest rates of such thoughts while suicide attempts are highest in Rhode Island.
A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2008 through 2009. Results showed that serious thoughts of suicide range from about 1 in 50 adults in Georgia (2.1 percent) to 1 in 15 in Utah (6.8 percent). [See complete list of state suicide numbers]
“Suicide is a tragedy for individuals, families and communities. This report highlights that we have opportunities to intervene before someone dies by suicide. We can identify risks and take action before a suicide attempt takes place,” said Thomas M. Frieden, CDC director. “Most people are uncomfortable talking about suicide, but this is not a problem to shroud in secrecy. We need to work together to raise awareness about suicide and learn more about interventions that work to prevent this public health problem.”