Dr. John B Arden is a psychotherapist providing psychological and mental health services in the northern California region of the United States. I recently came across his material on Brain-Based Therapy used in working with people that are depressed or anxious. Much of his work begins with focusing on what creates a happy and healthy brain. He uses an acronym called S.E.E.D.S. to help us all remember to keep our mind healthy and positive.
Recently, I've been using this tool with our students that are feeling stuck and depressed. In a session, we will sit together with our new S.E.E.D.S. Worksheet and plan out a few days at a time to make sure we are helping ourselves in the best way possible. I've outlined a bit of Arden's model below. If you're interested in using the worksheet that we have developed shoot me an email and I would be happy to send it along to you!
S - Social Connectivity - Recent research in neurobiology has emphasised the importance of human beings having many significant relationships. With our clients this relationship can start with us as therapists, teachers or parents but it also needs to be with those around them. Arden's work discusses the cellular changes that occur when people are lonely and those include early symptoms of dementia, a weakening of the immune system and even changes at our chromosome level. In keeping the importance of creating quality relationships, part of our practice needs to get our young people engaged socially with those around them.
E - Exercise - Exercise is the best anti-depressent and anti-anxiety tool we have. It does not mean that we go to the gym and lift heavy weights or play high intensity sports everyday. The idea is that we are finding time to get moving. Arden prescribes at least 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk. We know that this is hard for everyone in our busy lives but we also like the idea of getting time to play, run around or play a sport every so often.
E - Education - Our brain needs to be exercised and when we take time to learn new things or challenge ourselves, we create new pathways for our brain's connectivity. As we age, our brain is consistently looking into our 'reserves' of information we have learnt in the past. The more information we have stockpiled over the years will increase our productivity in our later years.
D - Diet - What we put into ourselves is what we get out. I've written a lot about True North's holistic model and the way we use sleep, food and exercise on our program to make our interventions more profound. Nutrition is vital our brain's health and productivity and the more balanced we can keep our diet the more we'll see benefit.
S - Sleep - Healthy sleep is all about the foundations of our sleep cycles. Often, the frameworks of our sleep gets so out of sorts that its difficult to find a reset button. A functional sleep, however, is a natural deterrent for depression and anxiety. We can use mindfulness and exercise to help our bodies get back to a healthy sleep cycle. Even medications for sleep can hinder the sleep cycle as our brain needs to be active during this time to consolidate memories and new information. Get some rest!
We've created a new planning tool for our clients struggling with depression and anxiety disorders using Arden's S.E.E.D.S. model for helping clients plan their day to day life. If you'd like to use our form feel free to email me and I'll send you a PDF of the sheet!
See you soon!
Click here for more information about Arden's Work
True North Expeditions, Inc. provides adventure therapy programs and services for children and teenagers in Australia. Based in Adelaide, the TNE team writes about child and adolescent psychology, family dynamics and how adventure therapy programs can connect with struggling adolescents.