Participants: Agatha Thrash, Don Miller
Series Code: HYTH
Program Code: HYTH000162
00:01 Hello, I'm Agatha Thrash, a staff physician at
00:04 Uchee Pines Institute
00:06 Today, we'd like to talk with you about the subject of
00:10 "negative thinking. "
00:11 Negative thinking can not only ruin your day,
00:14 it can also spoil your health...
00:16 and we'd like to present some issues having
00:18 to do with this subject,
00:20 so we invite you to stay with us.
00:43 Welcome to "Help Yourself to Health"
00:45 with Dr. Agatha Thrash of Uchee Pines Institute
00:49 And now, here's your host, Dr. Thrash
00:55 Even prophets of old talk about the influence of
00:59 the way we think... on the physical health.
01:03 And so, it isn't unlikely that you would expect
01:07 that physicians would be interested in this topic...
01:09 In fact, I have a number of reports here in my hand
01:14 about people who have thought about this kind of thing
01:19 through the years, as well as in recent months...
01:23 having to do with negative thinking and its influence
01:27 on the human body.
01:28 My colleague at Uchee Pines, Dr. Winn Horsley,
01:32 is going to assist me in talking with you about these various
01:37 topics and this is...
01:38 Dr. Winn Horsley, a Canadian originally, trained in
01:43 various countries of the world and we are very fortunate
01:46 to have him with us.
01:47 And he is now going to talk with you about... what's your topic?
01:52 And the sky is the limit on this subject...
01:55 there are so many things to talk about.
01:57 There really is... I'm focusing on one aspect of it...
02:01 and that is depression.
02:03 Certainly negative thinking would include depression.
02:09 And, when we talk about depression,
02:13 we're actually talking about a bit more than
02:17 say... so and so is depressed about an upcoming exam
02:22 that he hasn't prepared well enough for.
02:26 Nevertheless, I think that, not only among physicians,
02:31 but all people, we wonder about the causes of depression
02:37 and one of the big factors there would be...
02:39 what has led to depression?
02:41 In other words, some bad circumstance, or some bad event
02:44 in one's life MAKING one sad.
02:48 That's one thing...
02:50 But a second point which is raised very clearly
02:58 in some cases where there really isn't an event,
03:01 or even circumstances that one could say clearly would lead one
03:06 to be depressed.
03:08 ...That in fact, there is a basic outlook,
03:12 some people might say, "A bad attitude"
03:16 that the person has.
03:17 In other words, they don't somehow seem to be able to
03:20 orient themselves to confront problems that occur in life,
03:25 and, therefore, enter into depression.
03:28 So, that is a second way of explaining depression...
03:33 And there's really even a third one that one could say,
03:36 and this is one that has come out a lot
03:38 in medical circles in recent years and that is
03:42 ...It is quite well known now, that there are certain
03:45 neurotransmitters in the brain that have to do with emotions.
03:49 What is a neurotransmitter?
03:52 A neurotransmitter is what one nerve will use
03:58 at the end of its long wire connection to another nerve
04:03 to communicate to that next nerve.
04:06 It's the substance that is poured out and then
04:08 stimulates the next nerve.
04:10 And one of these neurotransmitters is serotonin
04:13 which very directly relates to people's state of mind.
04:18 Poured out between these 2 nerves... That's right.
04:21 That's right... the connection there is called a "synapse"
04:24 Well, one could question then...
04:30 Is it just one of these viewpoints that would
04:34 explain the whole issue?
04:36 Some people... one easy way would be to say
04:39 it's the bad circumstance that a person encounters...
04:41 But enough, I think has been said, that shows that there
04:45 are people where there isn't a good explanation there
04:48 And some people, I think this can happen among physicians too
04:53 Well, depression is just a matter of the chemicals
04:55 that you happen to have predominating in your brain.
04:58 And so then it would sound like...
04:59 Well, what can I do about it other than take a drug
05:02 that controls the chemical release.
05:05 I think that instead, we need to be conscious of all
05:10 3 of these factors.
05:13 In any normal person, if some terrible event happens
05:16 in their life, I would think it would be very strange
05:19 if they weren't set back for a while.
05:23 But, the Lord has built in mechanisms of handling
05:28 these problems that occur.
05:31 And, I don't know if one should already jump
05:35 to what things can we do.
05:36 Yes, that would be good.
05:38 Yes, what things can make it so that we don't slip into
05:43 negative thinking and being in already and being
05:47 depressed... what can we do to bring ourselves out?
05:50 Okay... well what you're saying actually I think is a very
05:56 important point and it's one that I hadn't even written down
06:00 And that is that we need to direct our thoughts...
06:03 How can you do that?
06:05 I remember one time, mentioning this is a physiology class and
06:10 one of my little teenage coed students said...
06:14 "Dr. Thrash, how can you do that?
06:16 How can you control your thinking?"
06:17 So how do you do that?
06:19 That's a very good question and I think I stumbled and went
06:23 in circles for quite a time on that issue.
06:26 I've since come to the conclusion...
06:30 In fact, I'm backed up by some very good presentations
06:35 by a psychiatrist that we know well.
06:37 One thing that one CANNOT do is...
06:41 you can't just say, "I want to be happy"
06:46 and automatically change it directly by the will.
06:51 You cannot, by the will, in fact he shows this
06:55 by neurologic diagrams...
06:59 diagrams of the nerve connections.
07:00 We do not have a direct connection from the will
07:05 and from the judgementary of the brain to the area
07:09 where the emotions are... the limbic system.
07:11 But what we CAN do... we can do what you said
07:14 We can, in fact, direct our thoughts.
07:17 That doesn't means that we say...
07:19 "I have to be happy... I have to be happy"... No
07:21 We can start THINKING about the right things
07:24 And, maybe I'll leave it at that.
07:27 There are a number of things, issues...
07:29 Perhaps the best thing would be certain TREMENDOUS
07:32 promises in the Bible.
07:33 Really tremendous promises... Absolutely.
07:37 What I'd like to go to is a little more mundane a point...
07:42 And that is, the point of lighting.
07:47 It's an interesting thing that we humans
07:52 are like the larks and not like the owls.
07:55 We do much better in the daylight.
07:58 Years ago... one never likes to think oneself an old man,
08:02 but, oh, it would be more than 30 years ago...
08:06 I taught school up in Northern British Columbia
08:09 and, great folks up there... and way up in the north country
08:15 a town called Chetwynd which I think is over
08:21 half the way to the Yukon and Alaska from the American border.
08:27 Through that first winter...
08:29 actually, I was there 2 years, both winters...
08:32 When you're far north, the daylight is very short
08:37 around Christmastime and for a number of weeks around it.
08:42 I was at that time teaching school when we'd go to the
08:46 schoolroom, it was dark.
08:48 You would then get some light during the middle of the day.
08:51 But then, by the time I would finish preparing some lessons,
08:54 for the next day, it was dark when I went home.
08:57 And I wouldn't say I was depressed,
09:01 certainly not in a clinical sense...
09:04 But one sensed the suppressive effect. Yes...
09:10 And to me, the most amazing thing was when spring came...
09:13 as those days gradually got longer.
09:15 Walking to school and hearing some birds singing...
09:18 it was much more than I had sensed in the south...
09:22 and I enjoy the birds singing at Uchee Pines...
09:25 But it was like a whole bird and the whole world changed
09:28 into just the sparkling sunlight... Yes.
09:31 This has been well-noted by doctors through the years
09:35 in a very, one could say almost a quantitative way,
09:40 or a scientifically-demonstrated way...
09:42 that the amount of sunlight affects one's state of mind
09:47 and they call it, "seasonal affective disorder"
09:49 when it, in some cases, especially the depression is
09:52 directly related to this...
09:53 And so, being UP in sunlight, getting OUT in the sunlight
10:00 really makes a positive effect on the emotions.
10:06 The second point that one could say, is that exercise
10:13 definitely affects the emotions in a positive way.
10:17 Many of the listeners may have heard of a runner's high.
10:23 It's quite a real thing.
10:25 Once a person... I'm not talking about maybe
10:27 the FIRST time of doing unaccustomed exercise
10:30 where it's hard grit and sweat.
10:31 But as one gets more accustomed to it,
10:34 a prolonged exercise is actually quite an enjoyable thing.
10:38 And, you begin to have a sense of wellbeing and I think
10:44 that what's going on is that the heavy physical stress
10:48 actually somehow... our mind is completely occupied with
10:53 confronting this physical stress and all the mental stresses
10:56 tend to drift into insignificance by comparison.
11:00 I have a couple of other points jotted down...
11:04 All right, very good... please take the time.
11:08 A third point that I have, I don't know if it would be
11:13 controversial... it's one that I've talked about
11:17 in this group of things about depression... and it's prayer.
11:20 It wouldn't be controversial with me... Okay.
11:24 The way I look at this... is that in prayer,
11:30 I'm not saying to be talking to the Lord and saying...
11:36 "I'm feeling just fine. "
11:38 I think that, in fact, we can be like the Psalms do...
11:42 Be quite open with the Lord... how one is feeling.
11:45 But with the Lord, rather than other people... Yes.
11:49 Instead of talking to other people about all the burdens
11:52 and how hard it is... Open up before God
11:55 what one sees as what one is really going through
11:58 and express it clearly and then lay hold of what God has
12:04 promised and leave it with Him which is what
12:06 He invites us to do... and that can make quite a difference.
12:11 Yes, it's this point that's our biggest problem...
12:13 and that leaving it with Him... It's true.
12:16 Because we have such a great propensity as human beings
12:21 to want to do it ourselves...
12:22 We want to do our whole salvation ourselves.
12:25 And, of course, this we cannot do.
12:28 We are dependent on the Savior that has been
12:34 provided for us.
12:35 There's such a tendency in us humans to feel we HAVE to
12:40 do something about it...
12:42 ...even when the Lord has said "Cast all your burdens on Him"
12:46 we need to help the Lord with it...
12:47 Well, no... He doesn't want us to be trying to help Him
12:50 with those burdens... leave them with Him
12:52 Another point that I think...
12:58 Now I'm not a psychiatrist, but I've just seen...
13:02 You're doing pretty well so far.
13:04 I can just talk from my experience of having seen
13:08 so many patients at Uchee Pines...
13:09 Not from what I've done, but from what many of the staff
13:13 are doing all the time...
13:14 What we call "LC's" the Lifestyle counselors
13:17 who actually do a lot more than counseling.
13:19 And the one point I want to make here is...
13:22 the massage that's done...
13:25 What a relief those people get from that.
13:28 And it doesn't have to be a BIG whole body massage.
13:32 I think that one can get a lot of relief with a simple massage
13:36 that we call a "chair massage" ... 10 minutes of just
13:40 In fact the muscles that often tighten up when a person
13:43 is anxious or depressed are these neck and shoulder muscles
13:48 perhaps more than anywhere else in the body...
13:50 And a little massage like that will just do SO much
13:54 And for those of you that can't think of any particular
13:57 techniques, or don't have any training or techniques,
14:00 really, it's so simple.
14:02 If you just put your hands on the person's neck,
14:05 and start doing some pushing.
14:06 In fact, that's the beginning of this chair massage. Yes.
14:09 It can make a real difference.
14:11 Yes, it's just rubbing, rubbing the skin...
14:14 Well, it's going to be deeper into the muscles.
14:16 And the soft tissues... They ALL respond. That's right.
14:20 Even the fat responds to the touch...
14:25 Because the nerves are full... are throughout all this area.
14:30 And they sense the touch and they respond to it.
14:35 Those, Dr. Agatha, were the 4 things I put together.
14:39 Very good... But I went over this what I have just said with
14:46 this same psychiatrist that I value so much...
14:51 And he added a couple of points.
14:53 Very good... Should I mention those? Yes, would you please.
14:56 He made, what I think is REALLY a crucial addition...
14:59 He said, "Depressed people need to become regular
15:03 in their schedules. " Yes...
15:06 They shouldn't be burning the midnight oil.
15:08 They need to have a set time for going to bed.
15:10 A set time for getting up.
15:12 And even a set time for a number of activities during the day.
15:17 And so, my little armchair psychiatry thing needs
15:21 to be added with this from a professional psychiatrist...
15:23 I think a crucial point... That's one.
15:27 One other point that is actually in inspired writing...
15:35 has to do with... There is nothing to get over
15:41 depression that quite equals when my focus,
15:44 instead of being turned on myself,
15:46 is turned out to someone else that's in need.
15:49 So, if you can help the depressed person
15:53 to find someone that's in either a worse situation,
15:56 or a bad situation, and have him get involved in doing
16:02 something for this other individual...
16:05 ...it's a tremendous relief to this over-focusing on oneself.
16:10 Yes indeed, it is...
16:12 And I appreciate these remarks very much.
16:16 And, as you can see, there is much that we can do...
16:19 Number 1, to avoid getting into a pattern of
16:23 negative thinking.
16:24 And then, if we're already in the pattern of negative thinking
16:27 ...there is much that we can do to bring ourselves out of that.
16:30 Now, we have talked about some of the things involved in the
16:34 emotional and mental things having to do with
16:38 negative thinking
16:39 And I have now, Don Miller.
16:41 Don Miller is a Lifestyle Counselor at Uchee Pines
16:44 And Don Miller, you have something important to tell us.
16:48 I always hope that I have something important
16:51 to tell people and important to say
16:53 But, I guess one of the most important things I can do
16:56 right now to sort of progress this discussion on depression
17:01 is to do one of the most important treatments
17:03 that you can do... It costs no money.
17:05 And it's been shown in recent studies to be effective.
17:09 "Do this... Or you can do this...
17:15 Any type of a smile, even a forced smile has been shown
17:19 to release the brain chemical called "endorphins"
17:22 which is another term for or we have another term
17:25 for it called "the happy hormones"
17:27 We find that if we just would smile more,
17:30 we would have a tendency to lift our spirits.
17:33 There's a law of our being called...
17:34 "The law of reciprocal influence"
17:37 It's a biblical law.
17:38 The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"
17:42 You know, if I were a research biologist, or neurobiologist,
17:47 I would like to go to the Bible and take some of these
17:49 statements like... "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"
17:52 and set about to prove it
17:54 because one think I would know for sure...
17:56 the premise would be true.
17:57 I would know that if a person expresses happy things,
18:01 it will raise his spirits.
18:03 And so, as we express happy things by our voice,
18:07 we are going to raise our spirits...
18:09 But, on the other side of the coin,
18:12 we get up in the morning... "I don't feel good"
18:15 And you walk downstairs and you tell your spouse
18:17 or someone in your family, "I don't feel good"
18:20 and you snap at the dog and you do all these terrible things
18:23 All it will do for you is lower your state of depression
18:28 that you're getting into until you are going to really
18:29 hit rock bottom.
18:31 So the body wants to lift you up and you can do that by
18:34 just expressing positive things.
18:36 Dr. Horsley was talking about something as simple
18:39 as a chair massage.
18:40 And in a recent study that I read,
18:42 ...is the way you can get an old person who is agitated
18:48 or irritated, or upset... to calm down is to
18:51 give them a simple hand massage...
18:54 Just grabbing hold of their hand and giving them
18:56 a hand massage has been shown to calm the spirits
19:00 and make them feel better.
19:01 Another thing you can use is music.
19:03 And that's been shown biblically when old King Saul would
19:07 get upset... they'd call in David
19:08 and he would play some nice music on his harp.
19:11 You know, we're not talking about the music you'd hear today
19:14 It was a calming music which would calm the spirits.
19:17 Now in the brain, we've got lots of chemicals going on and
19:20 lots of electricity popping and going on,
19:23 but we have some things called, sort of like opiate receptors
19:29 ...some little receptors on our nerve cells that receive
19:33 opiates and for a long time, they wondered why in the world
19:36 does the body have a receptor for the juice of a poppy flower
19:40 Until they started discovering in the brain, some encephalins
19:45 which basically means "in the head"
19:47 and what they found was on the spinal column,
19:52 there would be a band that had a whole lot of these
19:55 receptors for these opiates.
19:57 There was also a part of the brain that had a whole lot of
20:00 receptors for these opiates.
20:02 And they wondered why in the world were these there...
20:04 Well then they found out about these encephalins which are
20:07 helping... as we have a pain sensation, they go to that area
20:11 and slow down the transmission; therefore, lessening the pain.
20:14 and these things are produced by deep breathing, by exercising,
20:19 And by the very exercise of a happy experience in our minds.
20:23 And so, I guess if I had anything important to say,
20:26 Dr. Thrash, it would be the fact that...
20:28 As we express happy things, we will have a brain chemistry
20:33 reaction in our bodies that are going to make us
20:35 happy in the long run.
20:36 Yes... I especially like that thing of your saying that a
20:40 smile will raise the level of the mood...
20:45 And, of course, we probably all know that that is true.
20:48 If we put a smile on the face, we are very likely to let
20:52 the mood come along behind that.
20:55 Of course, sometimes that smile is quite empty...
20:57 But we want to communicate with our Heavenly Father who
21:02 GIVES US the peace, the joy, the pleasure that we can get
21:08 from those things which He has made.
21:10 Now I have a paper here about adolescents who
21:14 are diabetic and what their having diabetes does
21:19 to their moods.
21:21 And we know that the blood sugars go up and down
21:25 in diabetes and because of these wide swings in the
21:31 blood sugars, we have also swings in the mood of
21:36 people who have diabetes.
21:38 Now the way that we eat can influence the way
21:41 that we think quite a lot.
21:43 There are some foods that have, naturally, a sort of calming
21:47 effect on the mind.
21:50 There are also some foods that have a sort of a stimulatory
21:54 effect on the mind.
21:56 There are some foods that give us such a jolt
22:00 of stimulation that we may actually increase
22:02 the finger tremor and we may have other difficulties
22:07 that are brought on simply by those foods,
22:09 or by those drinks.
22:10 Now I have asked one of my colleagues at Uchee Pines
22:14 to show you some of the foods that can be useful
22:19 in helping people to have calmness and peaceful thoughts.
22:24 This is Lidia Seda, who is one of our Lifestyle Counselors
22:29 at Uchee Pines and she and I travel together at times
22:35 And I know that you have something that's going to
22:38 taste good and now I see that it looks good.
22:42 Tell us about that.
22:43 Well what I have here is what's called baked oatmeal...
22:46 And the wonderful thing about oats is that, well first of all,
22:50 they're easily digested.
22:51 Number 2, they can act as a mild laxative for those that may be
22:56 suffering from constipation...
22:57 But also that they're high in melatonin.
22:59 And they have found that individuals who are depressed
23:04 will suffer sleep deprivation.
23:06 What happens is there's a hormone that's produced when
23:09 individuals are depressed called CRH.
23:12 And that hormone would actually decrease melatonin production.
23:16 And we know, Dr. Thrash, that when someone's depressed,
23:21 they probably won't sleep as well,
23:23 and when someone doesn't sleep as well,
23:25 they can easily get depressed.
23:27 Yes, that's true.
23:28 So you have an interesting back and forth combination
23:32 with the two.
23:33 Something else that happens or that we need to keep in mind
23:37 is that another hormone that is needed for melatonin production
23:42 is tryptophan.
23:43 Tryptophan though, can have some competitors...
23:48 And those competitors are found in whole milk,
23:51 steak and chicken breasts.
23:55 There are certain types of amino acids, 5 to be exact,
24:00 that will compete with tryptophan and, as I mentioned,
24:03 tryptophan is necessary for melatonin production.
24:06 So when we have high amounts of these amino acids,
24:09 and less tryptophan.
24:11 Dr. Agatha Thrash, we will also have a problem with
24:14 sleep and melatonin production as well... Yes, that's true.
24:18 And, something else we need to keep in mind is that the
24:20 frontal lobe needs to be well-cared for.
24:23 They have found that individuals who have poor frontal lobe
24:27 function, will have a tendency to be more depressed.
24:30 And, what we need to do...
24:32 There are various things we can do, but one important habit
24:36 that we can attain to is good nutrition.
24:40 Eating foods that are complex carbohydrates and not
24:45 refined carbohydrates would be excellent
24:47 in nourishing the frontal lobe.
24:49 Now you may ask... "But why?"
24:51 Well, what happens is when we eat foods that are refined,
24:55 that the body then takes in and sugar is released
25:01 at much quicker and higher levels,
25:04 the pancreas releases insulin to take care of those high levels
25:08 of glucose which has been converted from sugar,
25:12 or from the carbohydrates.
25:15 And, what happens then is that there is a drop
25:19 in sugar in the bloodstream, or glucose in the bloodstream.
25:23 And the frontal lobe needs minute by minute
25:27 sugar to help sustain it to nourish it.
25:30 And again, I said the frontal lobe is one aspect
25:33 that needs to be cared for, for there we can have
25:37 discernment, well-being, knowledge...
25:40 so, if we have a good, healthy frontal lobe,
25:43 we can prevent depression as well.
25:46 And having complex carbohydrates like the oats,
25:50 like the baked oatmeal that we have here can help
25:54 with that as well.
25:55 I'm very eager to hear you talk about it because it
25:59 smells WONDERFUL!
26:00 Well, it's easily made, VERY easily made...
26:03 that's one of the reasons why I like this recipe SO much.
26:06 The basic ingredients are:
26:30 And basically what you do is that you mix it all together.
26:35 You layer the bottom with dates...
26:36 then with whatever fruit you may like... perhaps bananas.
26:40 Then you put your oats in. You add your milk.
26:43 Or, if you like, you can use water.
26:45 And when I say "milk" I mean soymilk of course.
26:49 They have also found that tryptophan is found in soy.
26:53 Oh yes... and we want the tryptophan to help with the
26:58 melatonin production.
26:59 So putting this in the baked oatmeal will also help
27:03 with the tryptophan production.
27:05 But if you don't want to use the soymilk, you can use water
27:08 and that will work just as well.
27:11 So this is what we can do to help keep us from getting
27:17 My... this looks so good.
27:19 I wish it were mealtime, I would ask you if I could have this!
27:22 Well, Dr. Agatha, we might be able to have it some other time.
27:26 Thank you so much... I really appreciate this.
27:29 It's a beautiful display of just what the Lord has
27:33 made for us... that can be used to help us to function better.
27:38 So, as we have looked at these things as we have discussed
27:42 a few of the things that have to do with the whole topic
27:45 of negative thinking, we hope that you will remember
27:48 the Bible's admonition that a merry heart doeth good
27:52 like a medicine.
27:53 So may you have that as your experience.