How to beat Anxiety and Depression and Live a Life filled with Joy

So many of us spend our days feeling like we work so hard at making this life work but seem to keep falling short. We work all day and what do we look forward to … something on TV? Our free time is spent seeking pleasures from eating out to shopping for a new outfit. Many of us seek our joy from watching sports or accomplishing projects around the house. And then there are those who wait all year for that amazing vacation to fill their tank. How is this working? Well, according to one study one in six Americans take some kind of psychiatric drug—mostly antidepressants. Another study found that approximately forty million Americans have some form of Anxiety. Sadly, all this effort isn’t working.

There has got to be more; right? And thank God, there is. I could take you down a hundred different paths but today lets go down one that our “Me, me, me” society doesn’t celebrate like it once did. A path leads you to more value and significance. It can help you come out of depression. And, you can begin feeling good about you and the life you are living instead of worrying about the life you are not.

therapy for depression

You see, you were made to be a giver of life and light and not just a consumer of it. What if instead of believing the lie of the media that we should desire something because it holds a promise for us we moved to a Godly approach? What if we stopped evaluating our happiness and satisfaction from what I get and how well others serve me to what I can give and how I can serve others? Sound too simple to be life changing? Fortunately for all of us, its not.

Consider that last time you focused on how someone let you down. Did you feel better afterwards? What about when your kids interrupt your tv shows? Or when someone at work isn’t doing there part (which is typical for most places)? Does focusing on how your needs or expectations are not being met serve you well? Ok, here is my last example. Think about your last birthday and if you felt like people valued you enough? Were their gifts thoughtful and did they show they really know you and what you like? Now, think about times when you have served and given others. How did you feel then? You likely felt some level of joy and value, like you had a bigger purpose.

You see, when we focus on us we place spoken or unspoken expectations on others and our circumstances to meet our needs. This places us at the constant mercy of people and events outside our control. Thus we live in states of worrying if we will be happy and satisfied. When these needs go unmet we can get sad or even depressed. But, if we focus on how we can bless and serve others our focus changes. We can control how we help others at work who don’t deserve it. We can make every birthday great by getting our friends and family gifts and seeking to bless others on our special day. And as we focus on blessing others and invest our time in serving their needs we will live in a constant state of reaping a Godly harvest. And thus begin living a life worth celebrating. What are three ways you can focus on serving others today?

Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has over two decades of experience helping people heal from their past wounds and creating lives worth celebrating. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling where he works with a team of highly trained and compassionate therapists whose mission is to change the world one by caring for one person at a time.

Marriage saved through Christian Counseling with Shawn Maguire, LPC

Brian and Janelle’s save their marriage through Christian counseling

Brian and Janelle came to counseling as many couples do wanting a quick fix.  They struggled with issues in communication and lack of connection.  They came off and on for a few years.  They would come in crisis, and then when the fires were put out they would stop coming.  Unfortunately, they didn’t invest enough time to go past putting out fires onto the deep work of true and lasting change. That all changed the last time they came in.  Janelle exclaimed at the beginning of session, ‘If you don’t change I am done.  You are going to finish building this massive house and you will be all alone because the kids and I will be gone.’  This got Brian’s attention, so he began to invest.  You see, Brian was a highly successful salesman and knew how to get people to see things his way.   Unfortunately, this technique does not work well in building a marriage that lasts a lifetime. He began coming two to three times per week for individual counseling, but he still didn’t see where he was going wrong.  Janelle was getting more frustrated and he was getting more desperate to save his marriage.  The solution; invite all the people in your life that love you and your wife and are willing to help you in this journey.  At the next session, I created a panoramic mirror with all of his friends.  It was a really big mirror because he had way more friends than I anticipated.  Why a mirror you may ask?  A mirror gives you the opportunity to see what needs to change.  Can you imagine leaving your house in the morning without looking at yourself in the mirror?  No way!  Well, what I have discovered is that many of us have journeyed through marriage without ever looking in the mirror (the Bible, friends and family, prayer, etc.) to see who we really are and what needs to change. The session was really intense.  I helped Janelle tell her story of how much she was hurting.  I helped their friends see clearly what was happening without Brian selling them on his side of the story.  Some of the women began to cry and one of the guys grew increasingly angry.  He simply couldn’t understand how Brian could be so insensitive.   After everyone was done asking questions and confronting Brian in mostly loving ways, something felt different.  Brian shed one, maybe two tears, but there was a crack.  A crack in the image of the Christian husband he was portraying to the world that was different from the husband he really was at home. Thankfully, the crack grew as he began seeing how callous and hurtful he had been to Janelle.  This created a sense of repentance and flowed into humility.  Now, he began to change deeply.  Through many tears and several counseling sessions he was following Christ instead of trying to get Janelle to follow him. Where are they at today? At this post they are living in their big house.  The house is now used to share God’s love with couples that they mentor, and to provide a place to stay for those who are in need. I praise God for their story and the inspiration they have had on my life and countless others. Faith Forward,   Shawn Maguire, LPC