Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Anxiety and Depression

Bob Rich’s Self-Therapy Guide: First Aid

Bob Rich’s book From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide is therapy in your pocket. Depression, anxiety, and other forms of suffering are all too common in our crazy world. Bob teaches you how to rise from that to “normal,” which is the walking wounded, then far above that, to inner strength enabling you to cope in any situation.

Like Charles Dickens did with his novels, Bob has converted this book into a series of posts, free on this site, because he wants to be of benefit. In the first post in his series, Bob offered commentary on how to stay sane in a crazy world. The following is the second excerpt from his book and it lists the 7 key features that serve as your first aid against depression and anxiety.

First Aid

There are seven requirements for a contented life. All of them may be present to varying degrees. If you have a good dose of all seven, you’ll have the inner strength and resilience to support you in your fight against Depression, Anxiety and similar devils.

Your Depression knows this. It knows the list, even if you don’t. It protects itself by sabotaging as many of these requirements as possible. It can do this very well. So, first aid, the way to fight back, is to return these seven features into your life. The rule is:

Whatever Your Depression Tells You, Do The Opposite.

I’ll briefly discuss the list here, so you can take immediate action, before examining what depression is and isn’t, then presenting tools for controlling it, and finally tools for getting rid of it altogether — most of the time.

The seven first-aid measures are:

  • Healthy eating
  • Satisfying sleep
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Regular fun
  • Creativity
  • Social connectedness
  • Meaning

Since this is a first aid list, I’ve ordered it so that the easiest to implement is at the top.

Note what is NOT on the list:

  • Wealth
  • Success
  • Status
  • Beauty
  • Romantic love
  • Youth
  • Physical health
  • Absence of pain
  • Freedom from stress
  • Having a job
  • Getting out of your job/marriage/stressful social situation

…and all the other reasons people tend to associate with their mood.

The last requirement, meaning, comes from the work of Viktor Frankl. You just have to read his inspiring book, Man’s Search for Meaning. The other six come from anthropological research on the lifestyles of hunter-gatherer people. You see, genetically, we are identical to our ancestors from up to perhaps 10,000 years ago. By analyzing the lives of modern hunter-gatherers, anthropologists have extracted the essentials of the lifestyle humans have evolved in, and that’s the list I’ve given you.

Think of my recommendations as antidepressants. Only, these antidepressants have several huge advantages over nasty little pills:

  • Many of them are free. Those that cost money have other benefits. These benefits are what you pay for; the antidepressant aspect is free.
  • They have no undesirable side-effects. In fact, most of them have very pleasant and desirable side-effects.
  • Like prescription antidepressants, they’re habit-forming, but since they feel nice and do you good, this is an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
  • The only withdrawal effect is the risk that Depression (or whatever your monster is) may return.

In the next few posts, we’ll look at each of the seven requirements for contentment, see how monsters like Depression sabotage them, and how you can protect yourself.

– Dr. Bob Rich

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2 thoughts on “Bob Rich’s Self-Therapy Guide: First Aid”

  1. Bob says:

    I’ll be delighted to reply to comments, here or at my blog, Bobbing Around

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