In a new book, a researcher argues that a simple step-by-step guide to overcoming depression can help you to overcome it in just a decade.
Dr David Frawley is the founder of the Mindset, Mindfulness and Recovery (M3RC) organisation, which provides workshops on cognitive-behavioural therapies.
Dr Frawleys work is centred around the concept of “bodily re-experience” and he says it is a “hugely useful tool for helping people with depression and other mental health problems”.
“It can help people to re-engage with their thoughts and emotions, to feel better and to become more resilient,” he said.
“It is about creating a new way of looking at their lives, their problems and their lives in general.”
The concept of bodys re-emergence dates back to the 1940s, when German psychologist Carl Gustav Jung suggested that it was a form of re-birth.
Dr Frawles work is based around the idea of “Bodily Re-experiences”Dr Frewleys book, Bodily Reexperiences, offers a simple guide to how to overcome depression and to keep the symptoms at bay.
“The idea is that people can become more mindful of what they are doing in their day-to-day life and how it relates to their moods, and how that changes over time,” he explained.
“You become more aware of what you do every day, and what you might not like to do.”
The book, which was published by Penguin this month, contains a simple 12-step process to achieving Bodily-Re-experienced, as well as a checklist to help you find your “flow”.
“You’re going to want to start by practicing mindfulness and taking care of yourself,” Dr Frewley said.
“You are going to also want to try a few exercises to try and get into the habit of not taking yourself so seriously that you lose yourself in your thoughts.”
The six-step plan includes: taking the time to relax, to read a book, to look at a picture or to reflect on a simple thought, to spend time in the garden, to listen to a soothing sound or to take a walk in the woods, and to read some poetry.
“I find that it helps me to stay in the present moment for longer,” he added.
“And it also helps me when I’m feeling down, and when I need a boost.”
He said that a recent visit to a GP had helped him to feel more at ease and feel more able to tackle the symptoms.
“They had me to read through a list of symptoms, and they were very encouraging,” he noted.
“There was a feeling of calmness and calmness was the word.
They said there’s something you can do.”
Dr Froyleys work, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, was inspired by the work of renowned British psychologist, Prof Carol Dweck, who was a pioneer in treating depression and anxiety disorders.
Dr Dwecks work was centred on a technique called the ‘Bodys Retreat’ in which she would hold a class where students would be trained to relax in a meditative setting, meditate for an hour or do a few hours of breathing exercises.
Dr Frayley said that while the Bodys Retrieve was a popular way of tackling depression, it had drawbacks.
“Some people find it hard to find the Bodily Retreat,” he remarked.
“For some it’s very hard, and for others it’s not as helpful.”
Dr Frays book is focused on a “body-based” approach to treatment, which involves using techniques like meditation and exercise to help treat anxiety and depression.
“People who feel depressed tend to be very vulnerable and they tend to get into situations where they don’t have control of their emotions,” he pointed out.
“So if we can help them learn how to take control of what’s happening in their bodies, they can feel less stressed, and that’s a huge benefit.”
He added that he believes that more attention is needed to be paid to the mental health of the general population.
“If we were to say that all people with mental health issues are going through a phase and need to be treated, that would be very, very misguided,” he stated.
“Because for most people, they’re not going to get better because the mental illnesses are not a phase.”
Dr Dwie is also optimistic that the work done by Dr Frayleys work can be expanded to include a more comprehensive approach.
“We need to change our understanding of mental illness so we understand what the symptoms are and what is the root cause,” he concluded.
“If we don’t change our mindsets, we’re going down the wrong road.”
Dr Wie is currently the president of the Australian Psychological Society and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.