In Find Peace … One POP at a Time, author Roland Griffith offers a powerful approach to overcoming depression and anxiety — along with the physical symptoms these conditions can trigger. His method works without medications. We had the chance to chat about Griffith’s own journey to mental and physical health, and how that led to his quest for an effective method that could help others as well.
In Find Peace, you talk about your own breakthrough — when you were finally able to give up medications for depression and anxiety. Why is it important for people to break free of these medications?
First of all, who wants to throw chemicals in their body? It doesn’t make sense. From my experience the medications simply drugged me. They muted my spirit. There’s no valid science to prescribed medicines for these conditions that makes any sense to me.
And yes, the drug companies sell their educational efforts for the medical communities and convince them, but I’m not sold. We are human beings, not mechanical robots that need chemical remedies. These medicines are mentally addictive — and the patients become victims of the drugs. It’s a terrible cycle.
So many studies show that depression and anxiety can be accompanied by all sorts of physical symptoms, such as chronic pain and exhaustion, problems sleeping, diminished or extreme appetites. What’s the link between physical symptoms and depression and anxiety?
Everyone experiences physical symptoms that are unique to them —tiredness, aches and pains of all sorts, as well as headaches, stomach aches, insomnia and hypersomnia. But when you heal the mind, you will heal your body — and begin to feel good every day.
The book offers two keys for finding peace — focusing your mind on the present, and challenging negative thoughts. How do these make a difference?
When you recognize the mental chatter for what it is, you begin to gain contempt for the mind’s dramatic messages. Yoga practitioners call this “monkey mind” because your mind jumps from thought to thought.
As you practice focusing on the present, you start to disregard the dialogue and miraculously, it begins to diminish. Negative thoughts of the past and worries about the future become less frequent. This gives a person more moments of clarity, and allows them to function far better — they achieve more productivity, can be more social, and improve the quality of their relationships.
How would you say your method differs from other books about conquering anxiety and depression? Would you consider it alternative medicine?
There are plenty of great books out there. My book is somewhat unique because I’ve lived both ends of the spectrum. I lived for decades in my mind, with all of the drama and negativity, and now, since 2003, I’ve lived with peace and joy.
The book offers a one-time, “60-second exercise” that creates a sampling of the readers’ degree of unnecessary and destructive mind activity. That particular exercise helps the reader to formulate a starting place, based on what I call “Present Moment Percentage.”
It then proposes a variation of POP’s (pieces of peace) exercises. A POP is an intentional, momentary breakup of the constant thought stream. Generating “awareness moments” creates a new habit of observing the mind’s over-thinking and interrupts it before it gets too intense.
By using this new systematic process of interrupting your thoughts, you take away the power your runaway mind can have on your outlook. I consider this simple method of “turning down the volume of mental chatter” to be far superior to any medications.
What do you mean by the “golf ball theory,” and how can readers use it for themselves?
That’s what helped me lose weight, one-tenth of a pound at a time. It was very easy to do because it was a way of tracking my progress. And so, I simply applied the same principle to gaining peaceful moments in increments, one step at a time.
Chapter 10 in my book, “Tracking Your Progress,” includes a daily log that I highly recommend. It provides the motivation to stay on track and breaks down the “present moment percentage” gains to one-tenth of a percentage increments — golf-ball sized.
It’s so easy to get discouraged when looking at a new goal. But the using a daily log is such an easy way to get on track and stay there. And the more you become free of the mind’s stories, the happier you will be.
What first steps should someone take if they want to break free of anxiety and depression, and live a medication-free life?
Read the book and follow the steps. I don’t know of a better method than the one I’ve laid out. It’s very simple and easy to do. What’s hard is continuing to listen to the negative mental chatter which leads you in all the wrong directions.
For more on Roland Griffith and ‘Find Peace,’ visit the author’s website