I can relate to getting advice when things do not seem to be helping. And taking nothing away from the other advice here, I know at least for me, I need to focus. And since this is an SFQ forum and an SFQ question, I will do just that: focus on SFQ.
As others have said (and I echo), you cannot gauge your success with SFQ based on that study. First of all, though the study was good, the sampling was not that large. I only say this, to again, reiterate what others have said: everyone is different.
I have no doubt that some people will be helped from regular SFQ practice in 3 months. But I would be willing to bet that some have been helped in 3 weeks or even 3 days and notice it. Others, may take 6 months or a year or longer. It depends on the blockages, where they are, what brought them about in the first place, how deep or deeply ingrained they are etc. And sometimes, for some people, they are making improvement, but they are not that sensitive to energy yet, so they are not yet aware of what is happening.
So for some people, 3 months is a very long time, others, based on how long the energy blockage has been there, it is only a short time. It really depends on the person. I had some wonderful results with SFQ right away, on many health issues. But I have been practicing Tai Chi and other forms of qigong for years.
However, the migraines and hiatal hernia took longer to heal. And they did! I no longer take migraine medication nor suffer from them. Even when I have one of the precursors to migraines or I start to feel one, I can change the energy using SFQ and walla! No migraines! That took much longer than 3 months for me.
I too have some anxiety and depression issues as part of my mental health profile. All I can tell you is that SFQ has helped me. So far, the problem is not totally gone, but I can feel the moving of the energy and feel better most days now, when I practice and afterwards. My life has improved and my threshold increased--meaning I remain more calm and centered, even in the midst of my pain. The change is so pronounced, that there is no comparison to my "before" and "after" SFQ. And that too took some time and some long practice. Sometimes, I had to do some longer sessions here and there to really "jump-start" the process. So, I would do a longer session from time to time as a big "booster" shot. And this works also.
Also, since this is message healing, information healing, signal healing, as well as energy healing and spiritual healing, the messages we give ourselves matters a lot too. This is a concept that sometimes takes some getting used to.
But like all of the blockages that we have, its all energy! So we must be relentless in giving ourselves a positive message. I am not discouraging you from coming here for support and with questions. That is good and helpful for all of us.And
, you need to keep telling yourself the message (or some variation thereof) (especially at the beginning of the practice, both of Small Universe and Active Exercise), "All my blockages are gone, all my channels are open, all my anxiety and depression is gone, I feel good, I am completely healed!"
THis relates to your question about the Small Universe also (SU): there is no one perfect way to do this, nor a bad way. It is only "good, better, best". If you cannot yet feel the energy nor visualize anything, it's okay. If you are a visual person, just pick a color or a bright light--or have a color or colored light or something to look at first--and then just imagine the light going from place to place. Master Lin uses the image of a hot coal going from energy center to energy center and each time he breathes in it glows brighter. But you can use any image of light or color that you want.
But if you are not a visual person or cannot yet visualize it, pretend you are! Just tell yourself before you begin, "I can see/feel/hear (or whatever) the energy as it goes from place to place in the SU". It might feel like a "lie" at first, but that message is not as good as just saying it to yourself and pretending to believe it.
I know that many of us experience a dissonance between so-called "reality" and what we tell ourselves, especially as we begin this new world of SFQ (and 3 months or even one year or even the 3 years I have been doing, is still beginning for most of us, and maybe even all of us). It can sometimes feel "wrong" to be feeling our pain or whatever and telling ourselves, "completely healed". Yet, it is so much an important part of SFQ. The message is AS important as the movements, breathing and sound.
So just tell yourself it is happening and then just listen to the sounds of the meditation and do the best you can. I too have had resistance or a feeling of "is this happening?" at first and even sometimes still. So, I basically just would think of that part of the body when it came around. I would begin with lower tan tien and just think of it and then let it go. Then I would think of the bladder and let it go. And then just think of the bottom of the torso and let it go, etc. When you think of your big left toe, energy is going there whether you feel it, see it, hear it or are aware of it in any way. That is just a fact. If you wiggle it, it is obvious, but even if you don't your mind sends a signal to that part of the body. This is scientific fact and not exclusive to qigong.
What is an important part of qigong, is that this principle can work with
the movements, sounds, postures, breathing to help us heal, SO if you just think of the part and let the recording play, it is in fact moving! You may not yet feel it, but it is happening.
And if you lose track or find you can not focus, just start from where ever you are or want to be and keep going. Even if you just sit and listen to the sounds, it will have some good effect. It is just better, if you stay with it and do some inner work while the sound is going. You can just imagine the sound is in that part of the body and then move it to the next. Or again, you can just "pretend" to yourself that it is happening. And then let it go and just sit.
As you do this every day for months and months and hours and hours WITH a positive message ("all my anxiety/depression gone. I feel so good"), it like breaking up the ice in a ice-encrusted freezer that you are trying to defrost (or the ice on a car windshield): piece of the ice melt, others break off, sometimes the bigger pieces take more time, but they will give way.
The questions are good. AND tell yourself "this is working". I think for some of us (and I am not saying you, this is just a generalization), there is, I don't know what, a fear? A doubt? Not sure, but something that tells us, "Well, wait a minute! If I deceive myself and then it works, that is not right!" Or "this cannot be working. It does not make sense" Or "it does make sense, but it seems like too far for me to go" Etc etc etc. Sometimes we are aware of these messages and sometimes not.
Either way, whether we no it or not, we still have to tell ourselves the healing message, even if we do not believe it (yet!).
But this is not "deception". It is just changing the message to add a little more "heat" to the process of defrosting the ice. The movements are one source, the breathing is another, the sounds are another and the MESSAGE that we give ourselves is another and in some ways, the most important.
The message also needs to be one of love, kindness and forgiveness. It needs to be with compassion, and starting with ourselves. We need to be kind and forgive ourselves all along the way.
This not only will work, it IS working right now. And if you keep up the good work and consistent practice that you are already doing (and you really are. Many beginners do not do as much as you are doing), along with these healing messages, it will work even better and faster.
You are healing. Now. Is is happening now.
Thank you for helping us learn this and for giving us the opportunity to help you heal yourself.
I look forward to sharing progress with you