12 MINDFUL STEPS TO RELIEVE DEPRESSION
A person falls down a well into the water. It is cold and dark down there. The person has enough motivation to climb up the stepladder to get out of the well. One or two people at the top of the well give some support as the person slowly climbs out of the well into the daylight.
This is what it is like to feel depressed but when there is sufficient motivation and the means to get out of this deeply troubling state of mind.
A person finds themselves in the same well. It is cold and dark but the motivation to get out of the well is fragile and the person can barely take hold of the stepladder to climb out.
This is what it is like to feel clinically depressed. Such a circumstance may require that the person seeks wise counsel, plus medication for a period, to lighten the weight of the depression and the thoughts of despair and helplessness.
Regardless of the level or type of depression, the 12 suggestions below can be of huge benefit to supporting an individual through their challenging times. This can be done in conjunction with the support being offered by a GP or healthcare professional.
What is depression?
Depression consists of the weight of unpleasant feelings, thoughts, painful experiences, memory, a personal crisis and painful states of mind, such as doubts/fears/anger/guilt or a combination of such states of mind weighing down on consciousness. The weight depresses consciousness.
Thoughts of self-hate, thoughts of failure and thoughts of despair sustain the depression. The negative thoughts function as the wood on the fire. Suppression depends upon such thoughts otherwise it would start to fade away.
These 12 practices listed below aim to offer support. They serve as a beneficial reminder to overcome depression.
Please make full use of them on a daily basis. Write down or print out the 12 practices. Read them out loud every day. Keep a chart of which of the 12 practices you apply. Some days you may find that you have made full use of all the practices.
Do not rely upon two or three of the practices for a full recovery. Tackling depression can take many forms or interventions.
12 PRACTICES TO SUPPORT THE RELIEF FROM DEPRESSION
In Alphabetical Order
Apply mindfulness to the smallest of tasks. Focus attention, energy and interest from washing the dishes, to tidying a room to taking a walk.
Eat a very nutritious diet, avoid alcohol, smoking, addictive foods, strong coffee etc.
Exercise, dance, jog, yoga, sing and engage in group activities.
Fully acknowledge periods or minutes or more of the absence or lowering of feelings of being depressed. Allow yourself to enjoy – a blue sky, a flower, a song on the radio, the vibrancy of life on the city streets, a TV programme.
Have regular contact with animals. Keep your heart open for animals – wild, domestic and farm animals.
Make time to sit quietly in a church or another place of worship. Attend services. You do not have to hold to any of the beliefs. The atmosphere of silence and prayer is conducive to healing of heart, mind and body.
Remember to breathe, long and deep, regularly during the day to maximise oxygen to the brain cells. Keep the back straight and upright so the body does not slump when you feel low.
Spend as much time as possible outdoors, preferably in nature, such as parks, fields, woods, touch trees, smell the flowers. Walk barefooted on grass.
Talk about your experience with a trusted person (s) and about other matters. Talk about your practices to come out of depression. Smile when people come up with simplistic solutions to depression.
Use your eyes and ears to maximise your connection with the immediate world. Notice different colours. Notice the light. Hear the sounds. Sit in a café and watch with interest the world go by.
Write down what you appreciate about yourself, such as the support you give to yourself and any that you offer others, animals and nature. Read out loud what you write down.
Write down your thoughts. The state of mind flows out through the arm, fingers and onto paper. Also consider drawing on paper your experiences, positive and negative. Write down your moments of contentment, experiences of peace of mind and moments of happiness.
Develop the 12 Practices daily for 40 Days and 40 Nights.
Remember all things will pass.
Blog written by Christopher Titmuss
The Little Shop of Mindfulness offers for purchase a range of mindfulness sets that can support the alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety.