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“Most believers go through times of spiritual emptiness. They feel that they are in a spiritual “black hole.” Their heart feels hollow. They keep going, but they are running on an empty tank…Emptiness of spirit has many causes, such as disappointment, grief, lack of spiritual nourishment, burnout, and depression [Of all of these conditions of the spirit, depression needs medical treatment]. Then too, the feeling of being spiritually worn out and exhausted is a sign that we have taken on too much and that we have tried to carry heavy burdens by our own power.” (Fr. Basil)

“Social media use breeds envy. A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed that the more time someone spends on Facebook [social media], the greater the likelihood that she will compare herself to others and experience depressive symptoms...This type of comparison often happens on an unconscious level, so that we are not always aware of the source of our depression…Because of its ability to mitigate the effects of common problems like stress, depression, anxiety, and disordered cognitions, some people have suggested that a little gratitude each day may be even more effective than psychiatric drugs.” (Robin Phillips)

“Each shaming incident leaves an invisible wound in the heart of the one being shamed. It does not take too many such incidents before a silent suffering begins in the one who was shamed, a suffering that can go on for years, even for a lifetime. Shame can easily lead to depression…If we continue to relate with ourselves in a shaming way or in a way that is too harsh, we will become burned out spiritually, be inclined towards depression, and feel alienated and distant from God and others. Our harsh and critical disposition towards ourselves can actually cut us off from accepting and receiving the love of God. It surrounds our soul with dark clouds that block out the love of God. When those of us who are too hard on ourselves learn to ease up on ourselves, it is as though rays of light suddenly start to break through, as God’s love begins to reach our soul.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“Although we live in the most prosperous culture of all time…At the heart of our never-enough culture is the underlying fear that I am not enough—that being me is not okay…Self-criticism actually increases your body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and too much of it can compromise the part of your brain involved in reasoning, creativity, and problem solving…It is amazing how much more efficiently someone heals and grows spiritually once they cease having a harsh and merciless disposition towards themselves.” (Robin Phillips, Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“Cognitive psychologists tell clients who struggle with depression to keep a catalogue of the negative thoughts that plague them. Cognitive psychology has become aware that much depression is maintained, even generated, by getting caught up in negative patterns of thinking. The more one can recognize depressive thoughts and thought patterns, the more gains are made in managing depression…Prayer is a remedy against grief and depression…Christ’s thoughts in us produce peace. Negative thoughts cause anguish, worry, depletion, and depression.” (Martin Laird, St. Nilus of Sinai, Albert S. Rossi, PhD)


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