Human Givens Way to Beat Depression


How to Lift Depression…Fast

Reasons this book has been so phenomenally successful is the author’s first real explanation of why depressed people have continually been complaining of being exhausted and tired. Why they wake up tired in the mornings, why they find it hard to motivate themselves at the beginning of every day.

If you understand the connection between dreaming, exhaustion, and depression, it's possible for many, many people to help themselves out of depression all by themselves. Many people have done this. One shouldn’t make light of depression. It’s one of the worst feelings anybody can have on this Earth. Depression is so bad that people kill themselves as the result over that feeling. All meanings seem to drain out of people’s life when they get depressed.

Now, why would that be? Why would that happen? They’re worrying about needs not being met, innate needs not being met in their lives. They’re worrying about losing control over aspects of their lives. They’re worrying about their insecurities, their loss of status perhaps, or how badly connected they are to other people. Maybe they’re not being stretched enough. All these needs that we have as a human being, some of them or all of them are not being fulfilled in a person’s life and they start to worry. That worrying produces emotional arousal, that emotional arousal has to be discharged in a night of dreams.

Now, the average person spends about a quarter of their sleep time in dream-sleep, known as REM sleep—Rapid Eye Movement sleep, because the eyes are busy darting around underneath the eyelids. The rest of the time we spend in recuperative sleep, known as slow-wave sleep. In dream sleep, the brain burns up energy there and if you do more dream sleep than slow-wave sleep, if the balance between dream sleep and slow-wave sleep is disturbed, the brain and the body are not refreshed. And when you have so many arousals by this continual worry that depressed people do, putting enormous pressure on the dreaming brain, they’re dreaming much more intensely than people who aren’t depressed. And this has been known for some 40 years: That depressed people dream more intensely than non-depressed people, and this is why depressed people wake up tired in the mornings.

How to Lift Depression...Fast (Human Givens Approach)

The real fascinating thing is it’s not a question of exhaustion when you wake up in the morning when you’re depressed, it’s also the lack of motivation. The lack of motivation again comes back to this question of dreaming. When we dream, there’s something called an orientation response, a powerful neuron (?) in the brain that’s firing off and that orientation response is the same response that we need in the daytime to focus our attention to do anything. Even to get your breakfast in the morning, to get your kids off to school, to get to work, just to do the ordinary task requires an orientation-response. If that orientation response, those neurons in the brain have been firing excessively during this tremendous amount of extra dreaming that the depressed person does, in the morning the brain is exhausted and they find it very difficult to motivate themselves to do anything, because you have to be able to orientate yourself to focus your attention on the different tasks of the day, just to get going.

Now, there’s one curious thing about this: That orientation response is what drives you to move, to take action throughout the day. And when you take action, life is meaningful. Meaning, that a sense of life is meaningful comes through the brain’s need to take action, in the Universe, in the world. Through actions, the things we do, we find meaning.

If we can’t do things because our orientation response is exhausted, the sense that life is meaningful just drains away, drains from us completely. And this is why depressed people think that life is meaningless, life is not worth living. And some of them go and kill themselves as the result of that. So, it’s a logical extension of that position. So, it’s worrying that causes excessive dreaming, that causes the depression.

People worry because their innate needs, the needs Nature put into us through our genes. These innate needs aren’t being met in that person’s life. We call these needs the Human Givens and they’re well researched by psychologists. They’re innate needs that have to be met in order for us to live a decent life. And they worry about this, they dream excessively, they wake up tired and the cycle continues because then they got something else to worry about: why the hell did they feel so awful?

Once you understand depression from the Human Givens point of view, it’s a straight forward thing to get people out of it, usually. There are some counselors who want to do something for their depressed patients. They need first to absorb the ideas in this book. They need to understand the connection between dreaming, worrying, and exhaustion. And they need to understand why people worry, what causes stress.

Research coming in now is showing that the Human Givens therapy for depression is proving to be twice as effective as, for example, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, which is the most favoured form of psychotherapy for treating depression to date. But now, this Human Givens therapy, it’s now possible for therapists around the world, once they absorb these ideas, to improve the way they deliver their services for patients. There is hope for depressed people for the first time, that there is an effective understanding of what is going on in depression and with that understanding they can be helped faster, more thoroughly and they can live a better live as the result.


About the Human Givens

How can we best approach the psychological pressures of living in our modern world... ?

There is currently much uncertainty among professionals and politicians about the best way to approach the psychological problems of living in our modern world: how best to educate our children; help unsocialised young adults; treat the rising rates of anxiety and depression; work with addicts; and grapple with the chaotic consequences of broken families, etc.

A new organising idea

Whenever there is widespread uncertainty like this, a new ‘organising idea’ is usually needed, to bring clarity and a wider perspective to the issues. An organising idea plays an active role in shaping perception, thinking and research, and is always big enough to encompass and create a context for earlier ideas which may have tackled problems piecemeal.

The human givens approach is a new organising idea founded on a solid basis of fundamental research. It is driven by our ever increasing scientific knowledge about human biology, behaviour and psychology — and an interest in how best to put such knowledge to practical use.

What are the human givens?

Human givens are what we are all born with: our essential biological and emotional needs and the innate resources that we have evolved in order to fulfill them.

Our emotional needs include: the need for security (stable home life and a safe territory to live in); the need for intimacy and friendship; the need to give and receive attention; the need for a sense of autonomy and control; the need to feel connected to others and be part of a wider community; the need for self-esteem (achieved through emotional maturity, successful learning and the effective application of skills); the need for privacy; the need for meaning and purpose.

Our tools and resources include: curiosity; memory and the ability to forget; the ability to problem solve; the ability to focus attention; imagination; the ability to understand through metaphor (pattern matching); self-awareness; resilience; the ability to empathise and connect with others; a rational as well as an emotional brain.

Achieving mental and physical health

Those who are able to have their needs met in healthy and balanced ways and who have access to their innate resources are more likely to be mentally and physically healthier, more stable and better integrated. Those whose needs are not fulfilled, or whose innate resources are damaged or used incorrectly, may suffer considerable distress or develop, as a means of coping, antisocial behaviours which are a burden to others or to society at large.

Human Givens is a magazine for those who wish to draw on a valuable body of knowledge, derived from scientific findings and developed through experience, for motivating and helping people most effectively.

There are hundreds of different types of counselling and psychotherapy models and whether they work or not always depends on how closely they are aligned to what is known about biological, psychological and behavioural functioning — the human givens. In the same way, in the evolution of heavier-than-air flying machines, the effectiveness of a new design — i.e. whether the machine flew — depended on how closely it was aligned to the ‘givens’ of gravity, the laws of physics and aerodynamics.

Effective ways to help people

The human givens approach, by definition, encompasses all effective ways to help people and shows us why some approaches are inevitably doomed to fail. Wherever people come purposefully together in groups or communities, the fulfilment and use of the human givens are basic to the achievement of joint aims. The human givens approach therefore has equal relevance for the worlds of education, work, law and social services.

Greater insight into wider issues

We are living in a time when more and more people seem to need help in dealing with the rapid changes in society. Depression, anxiety, anger, addiction and other mental and social problems are on the increase everywhere. Effective help can only come from those who are coping well, and who are adaptable, perceptive and informed about human nature. It is to those seeking greater insight into the wider issues and a clearer view about how to really help people cost effectively that this magazine is dedicated.

Human Givens is the successor to The New Therapist which had an avid readership as a multidisciplinary journal. Its strong reputation was built upon its reliable and thought-provoking content and the willingness to take an iconoclastic stance when necessary. However, as many of those who would find the journal's content of interest do not regard themselves as therapists, the editorial board decided upon a name change which both acknowledges this and reflects the fast growing interest in the human givens approach among health and education professionals, and increasing numbers of the general public interested in psychology and human behaviour.

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Actor Jim Carrey is writing a self-help book for sufferers of depression who want to avoid using drugs to beat the condition.

The Fun With Dick And Jane star battled with depression for years after his meteoric rise to fame in the 1990s, using Prozac and other medication to try and control his dark thoughts. But the 46-year-old states numbing the pain with medication is no the way to deal with the problem, and hopes his new book will help people focus on where their problems tem from.

He says, “I dealt with depression for a while by medicating with Prozac and although it was good for dealing with the problem there and then, I wasn’t getting to the bottom of my anger and frustration. I think we have a real problem these days in that everything is treated with a drug. I think there’s a whole new way of healing depression that de require drugs, and I’m writing a book about it. Who better than a comedian to talk about depression, right?”