Join us in Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Atascadero & Pas0 Robles or online anywhere in CA

Treating depression holistically: A mind-body-soul approach

Depression is a signal that something in your life needs attention: Physically, intellectually, or even spiritually. Understanding the source of your depression is the first step to effective treatment and recovery.

If you’re struggling with depression, you’re not alone. Each year, some 21 million people in the United States, or 8.4% of all American adults, experience at least one major depressive episode. Milder depression is even more common.

Despite being so prevalent, depression is poorly understood by the general public and even among medical professionals, who often treat it as solely a psychological problem or solely as a chemical imbalance problem.

Women freeing herself of her depression and restoring balance to her life

Key points

  • Depression and physical well-being are interconnected.
  • Feelings of depression can be caused by a lack of spiritual fulfillment more than a mental health disorder.
  • Holistic treatment that integrates mind, body, and soul can provide sustained healing and well-being.

Quick Navigation

Depression affects much more than your moods

Depression is a mental health issue, but it is not just a mental health issue. If you struggle with depression you already know that it can affect many areas of your life. Depression reduces your energy level,  capacity to think clearly, function effectively in daily life, and capacity to feel joy and satisfaction in life. The impact of depression is felt in all aspects of your emotional and physical health.

The depression/well-being spiral

Depression diminishes your capacity to take care of yourself with regular exercise, balanced nutrition, healthy sleep patterns, social support, and time for getting centered. As you get out of balance, you can enter a negative spiral that further compromises your energy levels, reduces your resistance to infections, and contributes to risk factors for challenges to your physical health and well-being.

The depression/well-being spiral works in both directions. Getting help for your depression will make you more able to take care of your physical health and maintain healthy habits. As you take steps to address your overall well-being, you may become more able to mitigate or avoid bouts of depression.

Rule out physical health triggers for your depression

Some underlying health conditions such as thyroid disorder or other chemical or hormonal imbalances, or even nutritional deficiencies can create symptoms of clinical depression. Depression can actually result from a range of underlying physical health conditions. For this reason, we generally recommended seeing your family doctor to do some routine blood work and rule out any physical health issues that might be causing your depression.

Recognize 5 common features of depression

  • Experiencing persistent low mood, feelings of sadness and hopelessness, often without a clear reason, that continues for at least 2 weeks
  • Lethargy or having low energy, which goes hand in hand with sleeping too much or too little. Low energy reduces your productivity and erratic sleep feeds mood disorders.
  • Difficulty in maintaining a healthy diet, perhaps forgetting to eat or making poor food choices, which reinforces low moods by not giving your body the nourishment it needs.
  • Feeling reduced pleasure from activities you usually enjoy.
  • A tendency to withdraw from social interactions and self-isolate, even from people you deeply care about.

Depression, from a spiritual perspective

Physical and mental health challenges can power mood disorders. Depression can also manifest from a spiritual source. When you’re living an inspired life, excited about contributing your unique skills and creativity to a cause that feels worthy to you, you’re unlikely to feel depressed. What this teaches us is that sometimes you can become depressed from feeling spiritually unfulfilled, where a lack of clarity and insecurity about what you’re uniquely able to offer the world manifests as depression. 

Treating depression from a spiritual perspective doesn’t assume that you’re always necessarily able to figure out how you can contribute a tangible difference to the world on a grand scale. Sometimes, treating depression from a spiritual perspective can even be about developing greater insights into your own spiritual journey, based on your life experiences thus far. Being able to explore how your various life experiences have contributed to where you are today can help you feel more attuned to your life’s mission and help you get to know, love, and nurture yourself through the process.

Because depression is more than just a chemical imbalance in the brain

The mind-body-soul approach to treating depression

An integrated, body-mind-soul approach can be far more effective than treatment that narrowly focuses on one area. Instead of treating depression by focusing exclusively on a chemical imbalance in your brain, you can strengthen yourself using a multi-tiered approach. Resolving your depression at its source can provide lifelong healing.

Of course, you need to address depression by improving your lifestyle to optimize your well-being through quality sleep and nutrition, fostering positive thought patterns, and surrounding yourself with people who encourage and believe in you. But trying to treat depression from a purely physical or chemical perspective is often not enough.

Treating depression holistically addresses all aspects of your life. We will work together to help you find clarity, to thrive, and achieve a sense of wholeness, within yourself and in your environment.