Anxiety and depression are serious conditions, to be sure. Left on their own, they can wreak havoc on personal life, career and key relationships.
More often than not, however, emotional disturbances are not genetic abnormalities in themselves (author’s position), though they may be related to a condition that is medical or drug-induced (keeping in mind that anything ingested, to include food, is potentially mood-altering).
If they were genetic, how do we explain the exponential increases with each passing decade? And how can this be unique to the U.S. among all other industrial nations?
Have human genes in the U.S. gone mad? Likely not.
In fact, there is strong evidence in neuroscience that genes are a two-way street. On the one hand, your genes shape you, and on the other hand, wittingly or unwittingly, you (and the environment) can and do also shape them.
- For example, what you eat can alter your genes as can any intense experiences such as trauma.
- Even more amazing, some findings show genes actually respond to the beliefs you hold, a discovery first made known by nationally known author, researcher and cell biologist, Dr. Bruce Lipton, which he discusses in his book, Biology of Belief.
Coincidence or not, viewing mental or emotional conditions as ‘disorders,’ diseases’ or ‘genetic’ has effectively sold a lot of pills, and mostly benefitted multi-billion dollar medical and pharmaceutical industries, and not the general public.
In truth, there is ample evidence that emotional disturbances are related to factors that raise stress to toxic levels in the mind and body.
Emotional healing is much more than addressing symptoms with pills, and a genetic or disease-control view of health tends to promote certain illusions and an unhealthy mindset.
A mindset of limiting illusions?
For starters, this mindset consists of a limiting system of beliefs, or worldview, that promotes certain illusions or untruths. For example, that:
- There’s little if anything you can do to heal on your own. This illusion takes away or hides the responsibility you have to actively care for your mental (and physical) health. Without this sense of necessity for an impassioned response, your brain is not likely to fire and wire the neural pathways you need to act on behalf of your own well-being and sustain momentum. In truth, the conscious choices you make in caring for your health are a vast and vital source of personal power.
- The fastest, quickest option is the most desirable. This illusion gets you to think of your health – and life – in simplistic terms, and also, treats your health as a trivial or minor matter in mind, thus, making it okay to look for the easiest, most effortless solutions. In truth, quick-fix options rarely offer lasting results, and your health is no small matter! Most everything you do or aspire to achieve relies on good health, thus, it’s vital to understand its value to your life and relationship in order to energize a proactive approach in becoming aware and caring for the complex needs of your mind and body.
- Pain is a defect or weakness that should be eliminated. This illusion teaches you to think of upsets or painful emotions as negatives that can and must be eliminated. Even if this were possible, and it isn’t, it would be a big mistake. [Some research is looking into the application of neuroscience to erase painful memories in the brain. The potential dangers and risk of this are many, especially ones we cannot fathom.] In truth, your body sends you potentially vital messages and information through painful emotions and sensations. Past memories, hurts or trauma that interfere with life today speak to experiences that need to be integrated to allow the mind and body to work together.
- The purpose of modern science is to bypass or dominate nature. This illusion implies that to trick or tamper with human nature is not only okay, but also a sport or competition of sorts to ‘prove’ human beings (via science) are “superior” in that they can bypass, dominate or manipulate the laws of nature (in the interest of a few, i.e., profits). In truth, science is the study of life of which humans are an integral part. The purpose of science should be to serve the public interest, to help us enrich our lives and live in harmony with one another by better understanding the Laws that govern all aspects of life, to include the brain and body’s natural healing intelligence.
Holding onto these illusions is like looking for treasure using a bogus treasure map. It may be a nice storyline for a movie or fairy tale, but finding the easiest, fastest, most painless way to live, waiting to be rescued by saviors or super-heroes, and so on, is simply not nature’s way of teaching you to grow the courage it takes to live a happy, wholehearted and fulfilling life.
In addition to misdirecting you, these illusions also promote an unhealthy mindset.
Quite. It fosters an unhealthy dependence that can:
- Condition you to rely on external factors, such as experts or pills, and to think its normal to fix people as if they’re broken goods in need of skilled craftsmen.
- Hide or discount the value of your inner sources of wisdom and intelligence, essential capacities that promote your self-actualization.
- Prevent you from understanding how to live a fulfilling life in relative harmony with others.
- Interfere with what grows your confidence, the courageous exercise of your power to make optimal choices by learning from your mistakes.
In all, these illusions misdirect and waste energy.
As human beings, we’re born scientists. Science reflects our nature to ever seek to know and understand our self and life around us.
It’s perhaps healthy to question the wisdom of bypassing or subverting natural laws, most always, in effort to increase profit margins. Is it not right to ask that the purpose of science be instead to make us better informed stewards of our physical earth and bodies alike?
At some point, to survive as a species, we must let go of the status quo, ego-driven view of human nature, which defines science as a force to prove superiority, to dominate, to subvert (or pervert?) human nature, which benefits only a handful of persons.
It’s only common sense, isn’t it, to seek to learn how to bring out the best, the finest and most sublime aspects of our nature – which neuroscience now reveals is wired for empathic, compassion-based connections and operates optimally in enriching contexts that stimulate learning and creativity?
Also proven, contexts that disseminate widespread belief systems, which intensify survival-fears of rejection, inadequacy, abandonment and so on, can paralyze the otherwise amazing capabilities of the brain. They can bring out the cornered-animal traits of human nature. The brain in protective mode is not in learning mode, and vice versa. Being in protective mode for a prolonged period of time can have damaging effects on the brain and body.
In short, you have all the equipment you need inside to self-direct healing of anxiety or depression, and similar emotional disturbances. Emotional healing involves accessing your body’s intelligence in a conscious way to let go of limiting fears and promote emotional attunement, integration and perhaps life transforming experience.
A meaningful life is a story about stretching out of comfortable places, creating happiness and health despite circumstances, and finding the courage to take action to care for your mind and body wisely, even when you may, at times, not feel like doing so.
Truthfully speaking, your health and happiness do not depend on external conditions, as much as they do the quality of connection to life around you from within – your inner world of thought, sensation and feelings.
The equipment is there, the question is: Are you connected in a conscious way to your inner world? To maintain this quality connection, it’s all about ‘how’ you deal what what most stresses you, and not the stress itself.
More on this in Part 2.