5. RECALL THAT YOU HAVE MEANING by finding connection to others through your religious practice, if this is already part of your history. Religious practice is much less significant than spirituality in helping depression, however if you are part of a religious community, reconnecting with people in that community can be helpful in making you feel less down. You have meaning from being in connection with others, and going to temple, synagogue, church, … can be a way to both practice your spirituality and connect to other people, both of which can help change your mood by helping to refocus you. However, if you have not practiced a religion, it is more important during a down time to connect personally with your higher power than to take up religion. So, do connect with the meaning in your religious practice and its community, if this is already part of your life and history.
6. DO NOT SET ASIDE YOUR MEANING by focusing on things that you feel that you should have done. When you get down, it is easy to see the negative things around you and in your own life. When you focus on these, you forget about the meaning of your own life. Religion and spirituality both have the possibility of drawing your attention to all the things you should have done that you haven’t or the things you’ve done that you shouldn’t have. Focusing on these so-called sins distracts you from seeing the positive things you have done and that are around you. So, do not allow your spirituality and religion to make you focus on your past actions that can take away from your understanding of your own meaning.
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7. SEEK QUALITY CARE including care for the psychological part of who you are. People of faith use doctors for problems in the physical dimension. In that same vein, it is important to see out appropriate help when you are having a problem in your psychological or mental health dimension. When feeling down is severe (especially if you have feelings of killing yourself) or prolonged (going on for longer than the current situation would suggest), it is important for you to find a qualified mental health professional to help. So, do seek out professional mental health help, when needed.
8. SEEK QUALITY CARE that integrates the psychological and the spiritual dimensions of your life. Some counselors are qualified to address both dimensions together. Studies have shown that in the case of depression, these are tied together. You should either find a single professional who can guide you on both, such as a pastoral counselor, or you should know that the person you are working with (religious leader or mental health professional) has at least a basic understanding of the other dimension and knows their limits and can refer when needed. So, do get help that addresses both the spiritual and the psychological.
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9. DO NOT SEEK CARE that is just spiritual. While spirituality can be helpful in addressing why you are feeling down or depressed, it does not address everything. Finding a sense of peace, will require addressing other dimensions of your life. This is not to limit the power of your higher power, but to acknowledge that your higher power is connected to not only your spiritual life but your whole life. So, do not allow your care to be just spiritual but rather seek care that is more comprehensive.