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Therapy in a nutshell depression

OK, so like I said before, our brain is hardwired for survival, which means it’s hardwired to notice threats, to notice the negative. The negative GRABS our attention while the positive waits for us to notice. When we just run along in default mode, this can make us feel depressed and exhausted.


So here’s the super simple way to rewire your brain. It’s called “The Three good things” exercise. For 14 nights, before you go to bed, ask yourself “What are three good things that went well today, and what was my role in making them happen?.” Be sure to write these down.


For example, yesterday I had a fairly difficult day. It’s winter here, cold and dreary, really difficult to get the kids outside. With Covid we can’t take them to play places or to see many friends- so basically it was another entire day cooped up in the house with three super energetic little kids. And there may have been some tantrums and I may have yelled at the kids and it’s just tough sometimes…


Anyways…when I sit down and think of three good things it sounds like this:

  1. I got to sit on the floor and make a cool sticker puzzle with my three-year-old, River, and she really enjoyed it, plus was practicing her numbers, while being quiet during church. That was a good bonding time with her.

  2. I got to make earrings with my six-year-old, Aliya- It’s fun to make things with her, especially without the littles.

  3. We had a crazy Wrestlemania with all the kids in the living room and got some wiggles out and the girls laughed and screamed a lot, and that was really fun.


That’s it! That’s all there is to it.


And when I do it, I feel better.


And the amazing result is that research shows that within 4-5 days, reflecting on the positive leads to noticing more positive. The positive things in your life and those feelings of happiness and contentment just keep growing, the positive keeps getting louder.


Clinical Trials show that people who do this for 14 days have Less burnout and depression, a Better work/life balance, Less conflict at school or work, and a Higher level of happiness, and the results from those 14 days can last for 6 months or more. Meaning, this exercise for 14 days can have a positive mental effect for 6 months or more. All in just two minutes a day! How cool is that?”


I think the biggest barrier to doing this simple activity is that it’s easy to forget to do it. So just set a reminder on your phone. 


It’s that easy, every night before you go to bed think of three good things that happened to you and what you did to bring them about. You can download my free Habit Builder below to help make this a daily habit. I would love to hear what are three good things in your life, leave yours down in the comment section below. 

Thanks so much for watching and take care.


“I would just like to thank you for your amazing content and online courses. Thanks to your help I am no longer homebound by crippling panic and anxiety. I went out today into a busy town and was happy, I feel safe and liberated. I have shared all my progress with my doctor and she is ecstatic about my progress and will be recommending your courses to other patients struggling with mental health. I am medication free and happy for the first time in my life. The changes are long lasting and I now can get myself out of a low without going further down the rabbit hole.”

Here is the link to my “Change Your Brain” course:…
Despite 85-90% of people believing that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, there is no evidence that a chemical imbalance causes depression or is associated with depression. A new meta-analysis by the University College London reviewed the evidence and made headlines this week.
Check out my two unlisted videos on what causes depression:
Check out two videos by other creators on what causes depression:……
University College London’s review that indicates there is no evidence for the low-serotonin hypothesis that a chemical imbalance causes depression:… Researchers have known for over a decade that there is no evidence for the chemical imbalance : Johan Hari, Lost connections, the inflamed mind, “reducing the stigma but at what cost”…,… Do antidepressants work to treat depression:…
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Therapy in a Nutshell and the information provided by Emma McAdam are solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and are not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health. In therapy I use a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Systems Theory, positive psychology, and a bio-psycho-social approach to treating mental illness and other challenges we all face in life. The ideas from my videos are frequently adapted from multiple sources. Many of them come from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, especially the work of Steven Hayes, Jason Luoma, and Russ Harris. The sections on stress and the mind-body connection derive from the work of Stephen Porges (the Polyvagal theory), Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) Francine Shapiro (EMDR), and Bessel Van Der Kolk. I also rely heavily on the work of the Arbinger institute for my overall understanding of our ability to choose our life’s direction.
And deeper than all of that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ orients my personal worldview and sense of security, peace, hope, and love…
If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or your local emergency services.
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Research shows that the light that enters our eyes gives information to our brain as to what our energy levels should be. Light sets our body’s clock, which is called the circadian rhythm, and changes in light levels can affect hormones like melatonin and serotonin.

Sunlight cues special areas of our retinas, triggering the brain to release serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with happiness, and it also impacts sexual functioning, sleep, memory and learning, and other functions throughout the body.

Decreased sun exposure is connected to a drop in your serotonin levels, which can lead to depression with a seasonal pattern. Some of the most commonly used antidepressant medications, like Prozac, work by impacting serotonin. But you can also trigger the release of serotonin by increasing your exposure to daylight or bright lights.

Another hormone, melatonin, is key to our body’s sleep-wake cycle, also called our circadian rhythm. Our bodies respond to darkness by producing melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. When we’re exposed to sunlight in the morning, melatonin is produced sooner and helps us sleep more easily come nighttime.

Regular sunlight exposure during the day is necessary for synchronized melatonin production and a healthy sleep-and-wake schedule. And sleep problems are directly linked to depression. When we can improve sleep, research shows it can improve depression symptoms 87% of the time.

Light impacts our body in other ways too. The sun’s UV rays have been linked to vitamin D production and lower blood pressure. And research shows that people generally have lower mood and energy on cloudy days than they do on sunny ones.

And this isn’t like a brain defect or something; it’s a trait that has helped our ancestors survive. Historically, our ancestors almost all worked outdoors. On cold, wet, or dark days, it was more efficient for them to stay indoors and stay warm and conserve energy. And on the bright hot sunny days to get outside and be actively hunting or farming or whatever it was that they needed to do.

If you look at the symptoms of seasonal depression — having lower energy, sleeping longer, eating more — these could be really adaptive if you were stuck inside a hut all winter. And it was best if you just spent more time sleeping than being stuck inside full of energy.

Our brain has evolved to adapt to our natural environment, and it’s not adapted very well to all the artificial lighting in our modern environment. Our modern society expects us to work a 9 to 5 schedule regardless of the season, the temperature, or the weather. According to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.

And our brain just hasn’t adapted very well to this. Artificial indoor light is not nearly as beneficial to our brains and bodies as natural sunlight. So this sets us up to be more irritable, depressed, or low on energy because our body is out of sync with our work environment. And this can lead to depression.

One way to improve your mood is to increase your access to natural sunlight throughout the day, but especially in the morning. Even diffuse light coming in through windows can be beneficial.

Natural sunlight is powerful. A recent study has shown that spending a weekend camping in the winter can even reset that natural body clock and resolve seasonal issues like low energy.

But most of us aren’t able to hibernate during the winter or get enough sunlight to have regular energy and a positive mood. When natural light isn’t an option or it isn’t enough, you can do light therapy at home.