After suffering for many long years with low moods, incessant self deprecating thoughts and exhaustion I truly reached a point where I screamed to myself “Enough is ENOUGH!” I have had every different kind of therapy and counselling you have heard of. I’ve drank healing psychoactive medicine Ayahuasca 30 times. I practice regular yoga and meditation and STILL I fall back into mind traps. I have written this article with practical advice that helps get me out of a spin. Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you “Just do some exercise” or “Why don’t you just snap out of it?” If I could have a penny for every time someone has told me that I would be rich! Here are some tips and thoughts that work for me.
Depression, in my opinion, is not a “disorder”. It’s just where the human mind and body go in response to trauma. Either you are going through something very difficult right now (e.g. a failing marriage, financial difficulty, the death of a loved one) or you are going through something challenging that has triggered some old wounds (e.g. childhood, teenage or young adult trauma and/or abuse)
“If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”
When we experience a low or dark time it is an amazing opportunity. I like to call depression the “Pain Bridge”. This Pain Bridge can be used to deeply connect to those suffering around us. The reason the words “anxiety” and “depression” exist in the dictionary is because they are a common experience for us humans. If you are suffering right now, take a moment to feel all of those who are suffering with you. You are not alone. Being a human is really hard at times.
KINDNESS IS KING
When we feel shit, we start feeling shit about feeling shit and we perpetuate the cycle. In Buddhism they call this the “second arrow”. The first arrow is the problem/challenge in your life, the second arrow is the arrow you shoot at yourself when you beat yourself up about it. Write down what you are upset about, or tell a friend who you trust. And then acknowledge that anyone who was going through that experience would find it hard.
I really believe in making the best out of life, and always looking on the bright side. BUT, Don’t bullshit yourself! If things are hard, admit they are hard. The first step is acceptance. When you accept a reality you can change it. Sometimes it means making practical steps to get out of the situation (e.g. making a plan to get out of a financial crisis) in other times it means making inner steps to recover (eg. healing the heartbreak after the pain of the passing of a loved one).
“Snap out of it” I can understand why people say that, because when you are depressed you are effectively in a trance. Tara Brach calls it “The Trance of Unworthiness”. Just having a name for it, lets you take a step back. When you are in this kind of trance your body feels heavy, and your mind races with painful thoughts. Take a breath.
The conditions are never going to be perfect for your own happiness. People we love let us down, things break, we all die. The true comfort needs to be found somewhere deeper. This is where the crucial importance of meditation comes in. We need to learn how to plug ourselves in with source and calm our nervous system. There are so many resources out there for meditation. I love the work of Tara Brach, Joe Dispenza, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay for meditation. Try it out until you find something that works for you, and then commit to a daily practice. That is the only way that we really experience transformation.
CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF
If you feel good, you are thinking a thought that is true. If you feel bad, then you are thinking a thought that is untrue. Have you noticed that when you feel bad it’s because you are thinking horrible things? Our thoughts move so fast, sometimes it is hard to catch them. If you feel shit, ask yourself “What thoughts am I thinking?” They will usually be self deprecating or complaining about your life. Just noticing them is the first step. Then we can bring kindness to the thoughts. Try talking to yourself as if you were talking to a friend “It’s going to be OK”, “You’ll get through this”
SHAKE IT OFF
“He was shaking his fists at me”
“I was quivering with fear”
“I was so nervous my hand started shaking”
You’ve heard these expressions before, because a natural human response to stress is shaking. So, shake it off! If I feel a lot of nervous/stressed energy in my body I shake.
Try out this Osho shaking meditation: https://youtu.be/X9arMCdOFBc
Or I just rock back and forth as if I was rocking a baby. I’m rocking myself to calmness.
WALK IT OFF
Getting out in nature and connecting with the outside world is one of the best things you can do. When you feel depressed you want to curl up and hide. A short, gentle stroll will do wonders. Take your problems out for a walk, and you will fell much lighter after.
This one is SO classic, but so easy to forget. If you don’t already have a practice to tune in to gratitude, start one now. Every day I write down five things I am grateful for and WHY.
e.g. My laptop – because I can work from anywhere I want and it connects me to the world
My hot chocolate – because it tastes so good
It’s good to write down one that is something you are grateful for in that exact moment, like the hot chocolate example. It could be where you are sat, what you can smell. No matter how bad things have got, there is always something to be grateful for.
The opposite of depression is expression. If you look at etymology depression means “press down” and expression means to “press out”. Would you rather squash your feelings down or let them out? Creativity is an amazing vehicle for this. And you don’t need to be a professional artist for this. It’s as simple as this; get some materials, set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes and GO. I recently bought some clay and making sculptures with my hands was the healing I really needed. If you are a musicians, get out your instrument. If you are a writer, write it down. Writing this article right now is healing me!
KIRTAN / CHANTING
Kirtan and chanting is a form of devotional singing that brings us back. Below are my current three favourites, here they are on Youtube, most of them are available on Spotify/Apple Music too:
Baba Hanuman : https://youtu.be/Q4uccjmyLGM
Mere Ram (Singing starts at 2m42): https://youtu.be/yhai1CLQN2c
Heart of Wisdom : https://youtu.be/XElrrsLxWYs
WIM HOF METHOD
If you haven’t heard of the Wim Hof method, you need to learn about it. Watch my documentary here : https://youtu.be/_GU1kP-_8j8
Then learn how to do the breathing method at home. It has saved me many times.
So that’s everything I can think of today!
I love you for reading all the way to the end.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Every journey starts with a single step.
Do something kind for yourself today, and then do something kind for someone else.
PS. I wrote “Amazing” as a comfort to heal myself and those I love. Search “Laura Lamn Amazing” on Spotify/Apple/Youtube for some bonus comfort and encouragement.
PPS. If you want more good stuff for me sign up to my mailing list here: CLICK HERE