Depression is a deep psychological and spiritual disturbance that affects many people today. More and more, it seems that we are living lonely, empty and isolated lives. We connect with the swipe of a finger through various forms of media and texting, but there is a hollowness to this “connection”. Often, it can deepen the feelings of sadness and nothingness as we gaze into the imagined world of perfection that social media portrays. We live during troubling times. There are many instabilities in the world, many things that feel beyond our control. During depression, we are searching to understand the vast inner darkness and emptiness.
If you are suffering from depression and are involved in treatment from a professional, do not stop. All of these suggestive therapies can be used to enhance the treatment that you may already be receiving. These are ideas. If they feel right for you, you might consider implementing those that most resonate. Discuss your options with your doctor or therapist.
Journey into the Heart: Bringing awareness to the unity that lies within our individual selves is one way to alleviate some of the emptiness that depressive episodes cause. We all have an inner call to unification, to feel ourselves as part of the whole of existence. We can find inner connection through the gateway of the heart. Try this: Sit with your back straight, breathe deeply and keep your feet on the floor. Gather your energy with intention from all around you, calling it back from everywhere and everyone. Concentrate this energy within one point in your heart, and notice how you feel. You may begin to feel inner balance and peace.
Art: Sometimes there are no words for the feelings that we have inside. Trying to communicate them verbally can be frustrating. Try turning to art, even if you feel you have little “talent” for it. Creating art isn’t about talent, it’s about expression. Use whatever medium you are attracted to and have access to. Let your inner state pour out through your hands and find physical manifestation in the world. It can be a wonderful release.
Diet: Choose foods that are nourishing and comforting. Warm foods, sweet foods and complex carbohydrates. A wide assortment of vegetables and fruits will feed your brain and your body, and offer protective nutrients. Eat plenty of omega-3 healthy fats from sources such as walnuts, flaxseeds, avocados and wild caught fish. Avoid sugar – it causes unstable rises and crashes in your mood. Stay away from processed, empty foods. Eat with friends and family, or even with your pets. Share your meals and try not to eat alone.
Nature: Spend time forest-bathing: Take walks in nature for the sake of connecting to the natural world, rather than for exercise. Observe the trees around you, the earth beneath your feet. Breathe deeply and rhythmically, let your footsteps become connected. Forest-bathing has been shown to have positive physiological effects on blood pressure reduction, improvement of autonomic and immune functions and improving mental health.
Meaning: Seek out ways to serve something larger than yourself. it doesn’t have to be big. You may visit someone in your neighborhood who is alone, volunteer to take shelter dogs for walks, or become part of a children’s program. Finding connection to others and becoming important in another person’s life can enhance feelings of unity and meaning.