We have all come face to face with some form of depression at some point of time in our lives. It could have taken the form of a full blown, Dark Night of the Soul, it could have been clinical or manic depression or (as is more likely) taken the form of its weaker but more persistent cousin – the Sunday night/Monday morning blues.
Depression is your Body’s Alarm System
You might have heard the cliché of Emotions being energy in motion. In short, when you have a lot of repressed, unacknowledged and disowned emotions starting to accumulate, then you start having pockets of stagnant energy getting trapped in various parts of your body. Energy needs to flow, to support life, while stagnant energy destroys life.
Such situations always manifest at an energetic plane before manifesting itself in the physical plane. Depression then becomes the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and something needs to be acknowledged and fixed right away. Minimizing the symptoms of depression is like you telling your body to shut up and go away. The body becomes an energetic pressure cooker and something has to give. That’s when you suddenly get diagnosed with cancer or some such debilitating, psychosomatic disease.
[pullquote]Depression then becomes the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and something needs to be acknowledged and fixed right away[/pullquote]
So when the body is telling us something so important, doesn’t it make sense to listen to it? But how? Given below is a step by step method that I personally use to listen to my body and turn my depression into my personal growth coach.
An Exercise to Turn Depression into your Personal Growth Coach
- Stop all coping mechanisms for the moment. Don’t go out if you can and stay in for this day. Stop whatever it is that you do to feel good when depressed. But tell yourself that this is temporary. That feeling good piece is important, but only after your depression has spoken to you and you have acknowledged it
- Have some support on standby. Tell a friend that you are feeling quite low and that you may want to call her later. Otherwise keep a helpline number handy
- Sit comfortable on a chair, put on some soft, ambient music, without lyrics. The feel of the music is very important. Here there are 2 types –
- If you have a difficult time connecting with your emotions, then put on some melancholic music which will help you connect better with your pain
- If you are the type who just can’t stop crying or feel overwhelmed by your emotions then put some neutral music, bordering on being uplifting but not too cheery/upbeat
- Take a few deep breaths and connect with the core/center of your body. Feel it as a physical sensation in your body. Where is it? Middle of your chest? Solar plexus?
- Ask this part of the body – “Where in my body is my depression/sadness originating from?” Wait for your body to answer. It may do so through a thought, a vision, a twitch or a physical sensation. Pay close attention to the sensations in your body and you will know
- Connect with the part of the body that is causing this sadness. Ask this part of you – “What do you need to feel whole again?” Then wait for the sensations to speak to you
- This is where the emotional response can get a bit overwhelming. Your body may try to show you the cause through visions, thoughts or sensations. Or it may try to release the stuck energy cathartically. You may start bawling your eyes out. Stay with it. Cry it out and let it out
- After the release, you may feel better. This is when you can thank that body part for the lesson it taught you. As you start letting go of that old energy, you want to bring in some new, life affirming energy. This is when positive affirmations work amazingly. State your own affirmation and really feel it within you
- Close the session and journal your experience. You may want to discuss the outcomes with your therapist or a close, empathic friend of yours
While closing the session, you may want to smudge yourself, light some incense or take a bath with sea salt/Epsom salts or essential oils such as Lavender
[pullquote]I have found that it’s best to include a combination of self-reflective and uplifting, external activities to deal with depression[/pullquote]
I have found that it’s best to include a combination of self-reflective and uplifting, external activities to deal with depression. Decide on a healthy activity that you want to pursue during this period. It could be going for a daily walk/jog, starting a new hobby, sports etc. Do this while you allocate some time specifically for this exercise and for other forms of self-reflection. This needs to be separate from the time that you have allocated to see your therapist. You have to make time, it’s your life on the line here.
This method is in its most basic form. Please feel free to add to it or modify it as you deem fit for your situation. It has surely worked wonders for myself and I want to know your experiences while using it.
Depression/Suicidal Emergency Helpline Numbers
Suicide Hotline for US/Canada – 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Ontario, Canada – 1-866-531-2600 (Mental Health Helpline)
India – 1-860-266-2345, 022-25706000
Sample music to help us connect with our emotions –
Sample music for those who are overwhelmed by their emotions –