Take good care of your brain.  If you care well for your brain, you can reduce your risk of depression that's caused by injury to brain cells.  Lower your stress levels by getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and spending time regularly in prayer and meditation.

Deal with emotional needs in healthy ways.  Everyone has these three important emotional needs: to feel safe, to believe in yourself as a good person, and to have a sense of power to change the world.  When these needs go unmet in your life, you may become depressed.  Ask God to give you the wisdom to know how to get your core emotional needs met in healthy ways.

Bring traumatic memories out into the open.  If you've experienced traumatic events in the past and repressed the memories of them, they may be fueling your depression.  Talk with some other believers you trust, your pastor, or a professional counselor, to work through your memories.

Overcome evil with good.  Every day, ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and help you focus on what's true and positive.  Stay close to God in prayer so you can keep Satan far away.  Talk with God often about your feelings.  Remember that God cares and will meet you where you are to help you get better.

Find a good counselor or psychiatrist.  Research some professionals who can counsel you about your depression.  Find out what their treatment approaches are and how much they charge.  Then choose one and try a few visits to see if it's a good fit for you.

Expect to get better.  Set a goal for yourself to feel much better within a year.  Keep praying and working through your healing, trusting God to help you every step of the way.

November 12, 2009

Adapted from Breaking through Depression: A Biblical and Medical Approach to Emotional Wholeness , copyright 2009 by Donald P. Hall, M.D.  Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.  

Dr. Donald Hall has more than 15 years of experience in the field of psychiatry and a passion to share his faith. He is the owner of the Riverside Counseling Center and is the author of two psychiatry handbooks and numerous medical journal articles.