«For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another»
(Galatians 5: 13).
Interested in improving people’s lives through positive psychology Kristin Layous and her colleagues from the University of California, Riverside (JSA), investigated what simple and easy things people could do to be happier. In her article «Delivering Happiness: Translating Positive Psychology Intervention Research for Treating Major and Minor Depressive Disorders» she pointed out that positive interventions can significantly diminish depressive symptoms in just one week or even less! But what are the recommended positive interventions? She clearly revealed that it was helping others and expressing gratitude for blessings received. These are activities that anyone can realize!
Most people have felt sad, afflicted, and heartbroken at least once in their lifetime. For some, these feelings last for days, and there are others who live with them for weeks, months, and even years, which causes great discomfort that affects the different aspects of their lives. To help people with depression, a wide range of therapies have been proposed that go from psychological treatments to those that include electric current (electroconvulsive therapy) or pharmacological treatment. Even if most of these therapies end up being effective enough, they require a considerable amount of time an they are fairly expensive. On the other hand, those who have been diagnosed with depressive disorder can become stigmatized, not to mention that they are exposed to the side effects of medication. However, since positive psychology broke through scientific literature, clinical interventions based on this approach began to proliferate.
She concludes her study by emphasizing the advantages of these therapies which have the potential of helping those who do not respond favorably to medication, and those who refuse medication, or simply do not have the necessary resources for treatment. Performing acts of kindness and counting one’s blessings generate a quick change in depressive symptoms. Acts of kindness have the following advantages over medication: there is no stigma attached to them, no side effects, they are not costly, and they can be «self-administered.»
Today’s Bible verse can be very significant for those who are caught in the nets of depression. It indicates that God invites us to be free. However, this freedom will only be complete when it is concurrent to us serving with love. Dare to pursue this therapy even if it is only in a preventive way.