Tips To Manage Depression
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Tips to Manage Depression

I want to share with you today one of my favorite tips to manage depression. I was reading a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz and came across something wonderful.

The best thing about this tip is that you don't need anything except a few minutes and your mind. Too Life is very busy these daysmany people are on a roller coaster day-to-day. We are just not evolved enough to deal with all of the modern stresses and strains that assault our senses on a daily basis. That's why there has been a marked increase in the popularity of mindfulness and meditation.

The caveman, who biologically wasn't that different from us today didn't have a smart-phone allowing the world to call on him at every moment wherever he is. He didn't have to handle the politics of work, the busy supermarket, and more information in a day than he probably would have engaged with in a lifetime.

The effect all this has on people who don't suffer with depression is serious enough let alone those people who do suffer with depression, who are by the very nature of the illness more vulnerable. That's why so many people who suffer with depression (me included) swing between feeling well enough to take on more and more information / responsibility / work, and feeling completely burnt out, depressed and ill.

In the book, Dr Maltz talks about building a place that you can go to relax mentally. A sanctuary where nothing in the outside world can bother you. This knowledge is not newly discovered however. Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor (161 - 180 AD) said this:

"Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is Emperor Marcus Aureliusaltogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself" (Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor)

By retreating into our sanctuary we give ourselves a mental break to "renew thyself". You don't have to go into your sanctuary for long - just a few minutes can provide the respite needed to halt the escalation of negative feelings, which ultimately might ruin your day (or a few weeks if you enter a depressive episode).

How to Build Your Sanctuary

I built my mental sanctuary in about 5 minutes. This is your space where you feel ultimately comfortable. My sanctuary is located in a forest of pine and fir trees. It's a small wood cabin which Log Cabin in the woodshas a warm open fire in the middle of a small room. There is one chair by the fire that molds to my body to provide ultimate comfort. There is a window over looking the tops of the trees to a body of water. The sun in shining and the scene is peaceful.

When I close my eyes I imagine that I am climbing up some steps to enter the clearing where the cabin is located. I cross a small wooden bridge, enter the cabin and sit down. I spend a few minutes here, just being relaxed and not thinking of anything going on in my life. When I am done, I get up from my chair, leave the cabin, cross the bridge and descend the steps. As I descend the steps I open my eyes so that I simulate descending the steps back to the real world.

I've been practicing this for a few days now and I find that I am able to feel a little more relaxed. Feeling relaxed is difficult for me right now because I am about to take my black belt in Tae Kwon Do so anxiety is never far away!

Create your own sanctuary and go there often. Once your mind is relaxed, your body will relax. This is key to obstructing the escalating of feelings of anxiety and keeping some degree of mental balance. Give it a try - just for a week and see if it makes a difference to you.


Street Talk

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