What can you do about it?
Does it feel like a black cloud is always overhead, even when it’s sunny outside? Are you feeling unmotivated even when a good opportunity comes along? Do you feel hopeless — like nothing is going to get better?
Imagine now that you discover how to change that for yourself. Well, you don’t have to just imagine. Take some advice from someone who has suffered with life-long depression. I think I know how you feel.
Circumstances in your life can certainly get you down, but that’s not what I’m talking about. This kind of depression is chronic. Short-term fixes can give you some short-term relief, but it always comes back, often triggered by something that isn’t going the way you want it to. While it’s easy for some people to bounce back from disappointment, for some of us the journey is not that easy. That black cloud just dampens our spirit continuously.
There are many explanations for WHY people get depressed. Those explanations can be helpful from a rational perspective, but depression isn’t rational, is it?
Here are some steps you can take that may help to ease the depression and allow you to see some light filtering through the clouds:
- Write it out
Journaling about your feelings can sometimes help put them in persepective. Begin by just getting the feelings down on paper. Don’t edit and don’t censor!
2. Find the feelings in your body
All feelings find a place to hang out in your body. Think about a current situation that is depressing you. Now close your eyes and notice where that feeling is strongest in your body. It might be in your throat. It might be in your chest or your stomach. Maybe it is in your shoulders or your neck. It could be anywhere.
3. Accept the feelings with love
Putting your focus on the feeling wherever it is located in your body, send it love. Resisting our feelings and blaming ourselves for them only make them worse, so send love to that area. Perhaps visualize surrounding that area in a warm, golden light.
4. Stay with the feelings
It can be tempting to try to escape from the feelings. That’s how we normally try to handle unpleasant feelings. We try to ignore them and when that doesn’t work, we suppress them. If your mind tries to wander away from the location in your body or the location of the feelings changes, gently bring your focus to the location of the feelings again and continue to send them light and love.
5. Let them run their course
Stay with the feelings as long as you can, letting them live and breathe and even grow. Let them move around if they need to. Just keep your attention on the most intense area and continue to send it more light and love.
6. Let them go
Keep your focus on the feelings in your body. When the feelings become less intense, just notice that and stay with them. Give them some additional time to dissipate. Eventually, you will be left with a neutral feeling. That means you have been able to acknowledge, accept and now release them.
7. Read what you wrote in your journal
Notice the intensity of your feelings around what you have written in your journal. You will likely notice that the feelings are less intense. Ask yourself if what you have written is actually TRUE for you at this time. If it’s not, try writing the TRUTH in the margin next to the statements or at the bottom of the page and notice how that makes you feel.
Sometimes you need to repeat this process a few times over days or even weeks. If you still find yourself depressed after a reasonable amount of time, you may want to contact a professional who can look at other causes for the depression (i.e. chemical imbalance, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, allergies, etc.).
I hope this has been helpful. The most important thing is that everyone’s experience is different, so try not to judge yourself!
By the way, this method can work for all negative feelings, not just depression.