When depression sets in it has the ability to take over and affect most every aspect of our lives. Our relationships, sleep, work productivity, libido, social life and diet – depression can hit them all. When it feels like nothing is working in our lives we can experience overwhelming feelings of hopelessness. In this post I’ll examine how to pull the emergency chain to halt the depression train.
This negative cycle of hopelessness and despair is like being on a runaway train. Yet, you can pull the emergency chain to halt the train of depression and take specific steps to feel better. Depression can be so debilitating that it strips us of the energy to do the simplest things. When any task takes so much effort, depression then becomes a verb. Something that we do as opposed to something that we feel.
The Definition of Insanity
‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’
Albert Einstein tends to get the credit for the above quote. But whoever said it – they made a good point.
If we’re to pull the emergency chain to halt the train of depression then we need to stop doing what we’ve always done because it didn’t work and to do something different!
The first step in beating depression is restoring your mind/body balance. All those negative thoughts have an effect on your body. This is because your body doesn’t know the difference between what’s real or imagined. Your body has an instantaneous reaction to whatever it’s thinking and telling itself. It floods your entire system with the stress hormone cortisol. And that in turn leads to a number of things.
- Affects our sleepThroughout the night we all have cycles of dream sleep (which is light) and deep recuperative sleep. It’s known that people with high levels of stress, anxiety and depression have more dream (light) sleep than deep recuperative sleep. Such people wake up exhausted with no energy to get through the day. Sleep deprivation is also known to increase cortisol.
- We might also experience problems falling asleep or staying asleep. That in turn affects our eating and digestion. The food we eat has a huge influence on how we act and feel. Stress stimulates and impairs the functioning of the Vagus nerve (a sub-system of the Autonomic Nervous System), affecting digestion and appetite. Bloating, cramps, nausea and diarrhoea can ensue. Eating junk food or skipping meals and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol tends to increase cortisol levels.
To learn more about the function of the function of the Vagus nerve read this article by Dr. Mark Circus
Ways to restore mind/body balance
- Regular Exercise
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These trigger a positive feeling in the body. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as euphoric. That feeling, known as a ‘runner’s high, is often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
We know that regular exercise:
- Reduces stress,
- Wards off anxiety and feelings of depression
- Boosts self-esteem and …
- … Improves sleep
- Eat Well
There are certain foods that increase cortisol. Read more here about Diet and Depression and what foods can help you to beat depression.
Getting into the habit of eating little and often promotes feelings of wellbeing. That in turn gives us less chance of grabbing unhealthy foods.
- Mindfulness Meditation
Consistent daily practice promotes the development of stability, inner calmness, and non-reactivity of the mind. In turn, this enables facing and embracing even the most unpleasant or painful aspects of daily life.
By developing a simple and pure awareness, we learn to disentangle ourselves from our habitual thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Daily meditation can reduce anxiety and depression in only six weeks. Read more about mindfulness for stress, anxiety and depression here.
Combining meditation and physical movement provides two important elements for relieving depression.
Meditation helps bring a person into the present moment and allows them to clear their minds. Controlled, focused movements also help strengthen the body-mind connection. Read more about yoga here.
Deliberate Daily Action
Take daily deliberate action: eat little and often, go for a 15-minute walk daily, spend 5 minutes practicing mindfulness or join a yoga class. All will restore mind/body balance and improve the quality of your sleep, thus reducing stress and anxiety. The result? You’ll start your day with the energy to make further changes to halt the train of depression.
The next step to beating depression involves assessing whether all your other primal needs are being met and making appropriate changes to meet those needs. Visit my website page, Alleviating Depression, for further information.
Or contact me today to book a session. Then together we can pull the emergency chain to halt the depression train.