When was the last time you had fun? I mean really let go of everything and enjoy what you were doing in the moment, as it was happening?
I remembered fun recently after a long period of what I would describe as a form of depression. For the best part of the last 18-24 months I have struggled with low moods, sadness, depression, anxiety and many other negative emotions which seem to hitchhike when you’re feeling low.
I spent months/years not wanting to go out and see anyone, just going home and hibernating so I didn’t have to deal with life outside. What I forgot during this hibernation period was that as much as there are difficult things in life you have to deal with by being out in the world, there are also amazing things you can do to have fun. For each person this will be different. For me I need a certain amount of regular exercise to feel ok, so going for a walk every day would help. I also love dancing and have recently found the huge salsa scene in Brighton which is so much fun. In my time of hibernation, I had forgotten how much fun it really was.
While I felt these low, depressed emotions, it was difficult to see a way out, the feelings and thoughts that bombard your brain are all consuming and it’s a good idea to seek help from someone outside the situation to give you an anchor to the real world and help pull you out of the abyss.
I say real world because the state of depression, anxiety and other consuming emotions is not the real world, it is a state of mind, an inward place you go to when you have only inward focus. The good thing about that is that if you can go there, you can also come back! You are in complete control of your own state of mind, even if it feels out of control, and you are responsible for getting yourself out of there. If you find this too difficult because the emotions keep pulling you back in, look for help. Here are a few ideas of the things you can do to get help with this problem.
Ways to help yourself out of an inward place
See a counsellor
If you can afford it, there are private therapists everywhere. If you can’t afford this option there are cheaper alternatives, charities and organisations which offer cheaper sessions. If this is also not possible, ask your GP to refer you, there may be a waiting list but at least you will get the help sometime soon if you apply for it now.
Do something enjoyable once a week
A simple thing you can do is make yourself do something once a week which you find enjoyable, this will stimulate the endorphins and serotonin in your brain. These chemicals which are naturally occurring in a healthy balanced body, are lacking or at much lower levels in someone who is suffering with depression.
Take 10 minutes to meditate
Try putting aside 10 minutes a day to listen to the track and meditate. You’ll be amazed at how much difference just 10 minutes a day can make.
Find a good meditation track on Youtube. There are so many good ones, see if you can get a friend to recommend one or search online and find one you like. There are different types of meditation from mantra (where you repeat a sound or word over and over in your head or out loud), visualisation (there are some great guided visualisations out there) to help with specific things like motivation, energising, focus, having more confidence, relaxation. There are some good meditation apps you can use for this as well if you want a bit more guidance on how to do it.
If you find it difficult to get motivated, go for a 10-20 minute walk every day, or even just 2 or 3 times a week. This will circulate your blood and get things moving, and hopefully stop you from feeling stagnant and stuck in the emotions. Being out in nature is the best place to go walking, a local park, the seafront if you live nearby, open countryside. If you can’t get to any of these places for a regular walk then a walk through the local streets will still do the trick. If you can motivate yourself to do more than walking then do so, regularly if you can.
Spend time with friends and family
Having social interaction has been shown to help lift depression. Isolation can be one of the biggest causes so getting out to see a friend or even having them over to visit you can be a big help. Choose who you spend time with carefully and make sure their company is nourishing for you and not toxic. Try to do this at least once a week if you can. Spending time around the right people can help get you out of your head and the emotions which are consuming you, as well as physically being around them try to interact and get talking about things which bring your awareness out of yourself.
What works for me
I am now pulling myself out of the depression by doing the things in the list below, just a little at a time, and it is working for me, the depression is finally lifting. These are the things that are working for me and hopefully might work for you too.
- Seek help from a professional councillor or psychotherapist.
- Make yourself do something active once a week that you enjoy.
- Meditate for 10 minutes a day.
- Exercise daily, or a few times a week if daily is too hard to manage.
- Spend time with other people.
If all of this sounds overwhelming or too much to try and do all at once, pick just ONE from the list above and try it for 2 months. Getting out of depression can involve trial and error, but if
you do nothing then your results will be the same, nothing will change. So, go out and do one of the above on the list TODAY.