5 Mindful Ways You Can Minimize Depression‘s Effects

Depression Mindfulness Tip #1: Embrace The Niggles – Know Your Shit, And Your Fan

My stomach twittered. I immediately wondered: “am I getting sick? Is it something I ate?” Then I checked in with myself and realized that it was my body informing me that I am nervous about releasing this blog post to the world. After realizing that, I still felt the butterflies in my stomach, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much, because I knew why.

Take a few moments right now and notice how your body is feeling. What is it telling you? Are your shoulders tight? Eyes tired? Abdomen clenched? Back hurt? Muscles sore? We often ignore the “niggle” of our body’s intuition, but it can signal us when the shit is about to hit the fan. Recognizing this before it happens gives you a much better chance of weathering the storm mindfully and successfully.

Depression Mindfulness Tip #2: Let Insensitive Responses Com

“What do you mean you see a psychiatrist? You’re a nurse practitioner. Can’t you just treat yourself?”

People say stupid things when “helping” you with your depression. Their responses are insensitive because they simply don’t understand, but want to empathize. Their responses still hurt though, don’t they?

Instead of focusing on their words, be present with their intention: recognize and accept the empathy. Tell yourself you are worthy of love and empathy, even if you don’t believe it. You can just as easily act yourself into a way of thinking as you can think yourself into a way of acting.

Depression Mindfulness Tip #3: Let Negative Self-Thoughts Come

Depression steals your attention and laser-focuses it on your own inadequacies. Just like with physical inflammation after an irritant or injury, emotional pain causes some damage, but what really destroys you is your reaction to it, or what I call emotional inflammation.

Instead of fighting the emotionally inflammatory negative self-thoughts, let them come. Don’t judge them, don’t argue with yourself, just be aware of them. Recognize that your thoughts and feelings are temporary. Even though it feels like they will last forever, and it can be exquisitely uncomfortable, they will go away.

Depression Mindfulness Tip #4: Pay Attention To Your Experience

In addition to noticing your thoughts, feelings and body, pay attention to your experience of depression itself. Are you constantly losing yourself in it, wallowing or brooding? Are you beating yourself up over past or current failures rather than moving forward? Are you lamenting how impossible it is to do anything useful while depressed?

Shining the light of attention on your thoughts and feelings about the depression itself shows you that 90% of your suffering is self-inflicted. Even if you can’t stop the pain of the depression, you can decrease the suffering by not giving it so much power over you.

Stop reacting and feeding the emotional inflammatory cascade. Start noticing and responding instead. Recognize the fleeting nature of your thoughts and feelings. Recognize the cognitive fallacies in your thinking. Stop judging yourself being depressed.

Depression Mindfulness Tip #5: Take Care Of Yourself

Optimize your self-care routine. Sleep. Eat right. Exercise. Socialize. Seek help. It’s so easy to isolate yourself socially and give in to the lethargy and inertia and draw further and further inside, but these actions only feed the depression.

Meditate if you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. For people in the midst of a severe depression, quiet meditation can do more harm than good. If you are dutifully trying to follow your breathing but you can’t stop thinking negative thoughts about yourself, stop breath meditating.

Do something active instead that nurtures your soul, mind or body. Mindfully exercise, sing, socialize, take care of an animal or plant, clean or eat. Whatever activity you choose, pay attention to what you are doing, and recognize in that moment that you are accomplishing something meaningful. Notice what you are seeing, feeling, hearing, experiencing, and just be present with it.

Use the above mindfulness tips for “the blues,” feeling demoralized, “having a bad day,” and full-on clinical depression. Even though I still get depressed, using these tips I drastically reduced how much I “suffer” from it. I hope you will get as much benefit from them as I do.

Do you experience depression? How do you handle it and your practice? Let me know in the comments below.

Take Care Of You!