The Usual Answers
Often, when you feel depressed and you’re looking for answers, you are told to:
- “challenge your negative thinking”
- “get enough sleep”
- “go outside”
- “do things you used to like to do even though you don’t want to”
- “make sure you keep up with or cultivate your social and supportive relationships”
- “eat healthy”
Why That Doesn’t Work
Essentially, you are being told that if you use the power of your mind to make yourself do all these things, you won’t be depressed anymore. While this may be true, the problem with depression is that if it is severe enough, you are not in a state of mind (or body) from which you can make yourself do these things.
Whether you have decided to go “the medication route” or not, the last piece of advice you will generally find online about how to relieve depression when you can’t beat it on your own is to “know when to seek professional help,” or to “know that there is no shame in talking to someone.”
So, what is a professional going to do to help you? Often they will coach you to do the same things mentioned above, packaging it with words like coping skills, problem-solving, emotional regulation, and reframing. This can be good, because sometimes, having a coach is all you need. Sometimes the positive experience you have with your therapist (AKA: transference) gives you the secret ingredient you need to make those things happen. Sometimes, they will help you uncover past emotional experiences that help you make sense of the depression. But then what? What are you supposed to do with that knowledge?
What if the depression comes back? Or what if the therapy doesn’t help in the first place?
There is a Better Way
There is another possibility.
It entails combining therapeutic physical work on your depressed body and therapeutic discussion of the historical emotional experiences that underlie your ongoing or intermittent depression.
In other words, the solution comes through a combination of physical and mental work.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “the links between depression, anxiety, and exercise aren’t extremely clear.” However, aside from the endorphins that are released and the calming effects that result from an increase in body temperature, part of the reason exercise can help lift you out of depression is that it increases the amount of oxygen you have in your body. As I mentioned in “Depression, a new perspective,” a body without sufficient oxygen is literally in a depressed metabolic state. Until more oxygen is in your body, you are not going to have the energy to “will” yourself well. And for lasting relief, you must understand your historical emotional experiences and triggers that cause you to “lock-up” emotions and thereby “lock-up” your breathing. These are the keys to unlocking yourself from the prison of depression.
Feeling depressed right now? Here is One Simple Tool to Alleviate Depression, that you can do on your own.
And when you’re ready, call me to get the rest of the tools. We’ll talk.
p.s. Have your thyroid tested to make sure its malfunction is not at the root of your depression.
Call me now to set up your free 15-minute phone consultation.