It is unlikely that we will overcome our dark days without altering our brain chemistry. This doesn’t mean however, that we must take prescription medication. America has ~5% of the worlds population and consumes 75% of the worlds pharmaceuticals. I’ll let that statistic sink in for a bit.
The question is: “What other options can change our brain chemicals?” Did you know that according to the Institute for Brain Potential,Dr. Martin Antony from Ryerson University shared many alternative treatments that had an equal effect on brain chemistry as medications such as Ability, Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and Luvox. In one study, these medications only provided a 2-3% benefit to patients compared to placebo. Correspondingly, alternatives provided greater than a 3% benefit with no side effects. This is because many things change our brain chemicals. Things like sleep, diet, music, meditation, reading, spiritual practice, exercise, acupuncture, roller coasters, sex, and particularly your STORY. Try employing some of these.
Dr. Rick Hanson describes what is called Negative Bias. A negative story imprints chemicals on the brain like Velcro, while a positive story imprints slower and not as easily.Since the brain causes consciousness AND consciousness forms the brain, then we must go beyond the brain chemicals and learn what causes them.
Now consider that there are two parts to nearly every problem; the externals and the internals. We can’t control all the impacts that come from our externals, but we can control those that come from within (even though it seems otherwise).
Our internal story either works as a counterbalance to negative externals or it exacerbates them and creates a feedback loop. Anxiety and depression are feedback loops that raise in intensity and duration in proportion to our truth story. Thus if we change this story, anxiety and depression diminish accordingly.
Why are some more resilient through tragedy and suffering? It’s the story that we tell our self and that we believe is true. If what we tell ourselves is not actually true, then negative bias activates brain chemistry making that story increasingly harder to dislodge. This is how it folds in on itself to create that feedback loop.
Positive stories may not be believable at first, so they may not start off like much of a counterbalance. This goes beyond positive affirmations although these help. This is about our core truth narrative. Thus overcoming dark days requires a pretty powerful and frequent story, but it must contain more truth than what we presently possess.
A powerful lesson emerges here. Problems like depression and anxiety are indicators we have out grown our formative truth story. Thus the path out requires greater proximity to the truth and begs the question of; Where and how can we possess it?