For some Ecuador expats, the Holiday Season is a time of stress and depression

Dec 21, 2015

Editor’s note: CuencaHighLife is proud to introduce our newest columnist, Cuenca expat and psychologist Dr. Kelly Bennett. Kelly began his professional career as a space systems engineer in California but has spent most of his working life as a family practice counselor, researcher and consultant. In addition to California, he has lived in Australia and Arizona. He and his wife, Charlie Romney Brown, moved to Cuenca earlier this year where they continue to practice. For more about Dr. Kelly, click here.

By Dr. Kelly Bennett

We’re in the midst of the Holiday Season, a time which is stressful for many people, whether they are away from their families, as many Cuenca expats are, or even if they plan to return home for a visit.chl kelly bennett logo

Being geographically distant from loved ones can be saddening, even with the convenience of electronic communication such as e-mail, Skype, and social media. We miss being able to be close and hold them in our arms.

On the other hand, because of the strong emotions involved, holidays together with family can trigger feelings of agitation, of unusual sadness, of a lack of meaningful connection, or a sense of hopelessness in our capacity to mend relationships. A markedly diminished sense of pleasure may be become apparent, such as reduced interest in food or sex, and sleep may suffer. Some people become agitated with unexplained fatigue setting in. Such circumstances can even lead to anger, and when turned in on oneself, can become feelings of depression. Our sense of worth can become diminished because we sacrificed our values for the sake of the family, and we can even feel responsible for developments beyond our control.

Unfinished family business seems to come up whether we want it to or not and the stress of dealing with it can become compounded by the stress we feel for losing faith in ourselves. Repeated issues of stress become embedded in the patterns of our brain and mind functions. In fact, the brain comes to expect the same difficulty in similar situations, and begins to function as if it will occur, independent of the circumstances. All that is required for things to deteriorate is an emotional or sensory trigger.

When these negative feelings become frequent in our daily lives, the brain comes to function in a stuck manner, automatically, and unconsciously. We are then susceptible to becoming triggered by circumstances, without knowing why we feel this way. Unless we take steps to change our state of mind, the trigger becomes a hair trigger, and almost anything can prompt the mind and the brain to function in a depressed manner. A sense of helplessness and hopelessness become our partners. It is important to see a professional if these symptoms persist.

The brain and the mind merely need to re-set themselves, eliminating the emotional power of these automatic patterns. One approach is Brainwave Optimization (BWO). BWO requires no medication and is an effective and non-invasive way to help the brain and the mind to clear away patterns of the past and create not only new brain pathways, but new orientations to life. The brain becomes reset, with a new openness to experiences that would have been tainted before by old automatic perceptions and responses.

In addition to Brainwave Optimization, here are some ways to avoid depression becoming a habit:

Regular meditation, prayer, or mindfulness practices
Feel connected with your Higher Power
Live by your higher vision
Get good sleep and rest
Regular exercise
Healthful food
Adopt positive social contacts that your find supportive
Learn responses that are life-enhancing
Love and respect yourself in every way

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Dr. Kelly Bennett of Brain Dynamics offers Brainwave Optimization (BWO). Write braindynamics2@gmail.com or call 096 824 1884 for an Assessment or a Free Demonstration.

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