Battling depression with Mindfulness
What is depression
Depression is one of the most crippling mental illnesses. It’s invisible, and unfortunately for the sufferer, it’s very easy to hide. You can always put on a brave face and struggle on whilst inside you are falling apart. If you do get yourself to a GP they will probably put you on anti-depressants. Which is a good thing. Anti-depressants, though they take 4-6 weeks to kick in, will help with the worst of the effects of depression – the low mood, the restlessness and the lack of appetite.
However, there is also an alternative route that can be taken. It has been proven in study after study that by practising mindfulness daily for an 8 week period that depression can be lifted. Not only that but by continuing mindfulness you can prevent a relapse into depression.
This is all great news apart from the fact that the provision of mindfulness is patchy at best. Some local NHS health trusts are starting to offer it as a treatment, but sadly the majority don’t. So where does that leave the depression sufferers? Well, there are mindfulness courses popping up here there and everywhere and that leads to the question, “How qualified is my instructor” As yet Mindfulness training is not regulated by anybody but there are certain centres of excellence that your instructor could have practised – Oxford University, Bangor University and Exeter University. These give training based on a code of ethics that your instructor has to adhere to.
Tips to help battle depression
1. Focus on your breath.
It has been shown in scientific studies that slowing your breath activates a change to a calmer state. The easiest way to do this is to concentrate on your breath on the inhalation and exhalation. Watch the cycle of breath as it changes from in to out
2.Take a proper lunch break.
Avoid the temptation to sit at your desk and eat your lunch as you work on that report. It’s not doing your well being any good. If you can get out and go for a walk. Take the time to become aware of your surroundings, the scents and the sounds. By doing this you are coming into awareness of the present moment. When eating your lunch, eat it mindfully. What does it taste of? Where did the ingredients come from? All this will help you be mindful.
3. Keep a journal
Write down all of the positive things in your life. This list might seem short to start with but little by little the list will get longer. It might be things like family and friends. It might be the sunlight through the trees that you saw at lunchtime. Then take the time to look back through it when you are stressed and your mood will lift.
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine will change your life. The next time you find yourself feeling stressed, try doing one of these exercises to bring your mind back to the present