As a therapist it always surprises me how many people experience depression. I myself have experienced depression over the years and know firsthand its effects and how it has the ability to limit you on so many different levels, self-worth, work, social interaction, family, and self-care just to name a few.
When it comes to dealing with depression it can often feel like nothing helps us come out of this negative space, like we are trapped and can’t find that light at the end of the tunnel. So I thought I would share some things that have helped me and my clients in dealing with depression.
Firstly, to feel depressed is ok, just because you’re feeling down doesn’t mean there is something fundamentally wrong with you. If we lose a loved one, or have issues at work, or are struggling with relationships with family, friends or your partner these can all make up feel down and that’s normal. It’s when these down moods persist for long periods of time that we may need to seek help from a professional or utilise coping strategies to help us move out of this space.
At the core of my professional work, and my own self-care strategies dealing with depression is mindfulness and breathing. Mindfulness is the principle of being in the present moment connecting with your body and your breath in a nonjudgmental way to become centred in the here and now. When I feel depressed I find that I am lost in past trauma or ruminating on some sad of unfortunate event that has occurred, I’m somewhere other than in the here and now.
So how do we find mindfulness, well there are different strategies to reach this goal, meditation and breath work, visualisation, self-talk, but there are other things that I find especially useful that automatically bring on a state of mindfulness, which is creativity.
For me its playing guitar for my wife and many of my client its painting or drawing, doing craft activities, mandalas, colouring in. What this does is it places you in the moment and you to focus on something in the here and now, time stops and before you realise it 2 hours has gone by. This creative focus calms the mind and the body allowing you to feel positive and happy emotions and feelings where before you may have been stuck or ruminating on the negative.
Here are some things you can google to try and see if these processes work for you
· Progressive muscle relaxation (youtube)
· Painting or Craft classes
· Playing an instrument writing songs or lyrics
· Meditation or safe space visualisation
· Positive self-talk
· Acceptance and Commitment therapy principles (diffusion and Expansion)
I hope this has given you some new thoughts or ideas, remember you are normal and its ok to feels depressed and down sometimes.
If you are concerned about your depression or any mental health concerns, see your GP to get a referral for counselling.