Depression: Feeling down? Follow your senses

Oh depression! Did the charge of energy you received from the promise of a new year start to wear off? I have to admit I’ve been struggling with post-New-Year-blues myself.

Through the power of mindfulness, using the five senses is something that can be very effective in fighting depression.

Here’s what to do: Make sure you have several minutes of uninterrupted time. Choose an engrossing activity or two (the ones listed below are all examples) and then fully absorb yourself into whatever you are doing. Don’t think about anything else but what you are doing.

Example: If you choose to eat something, eat it slowly and savor the flavor of each bite. Wolfing it down is for the unappreciative. Don’t allow your mind to wander to other things. If it does wander, gently steer your mind back to whatever you are eating. You can think about the ingredients, how the food was prepared or other things related to the food. For instance, if you are eating something seasoned with fresh herbs you might imagine herbs growing in a warm sunny greenhouse on a picturesque farm.

bowl of sliced vegetables
Photo by Jer Chung on Pexels.com

This is called living in the present, and it’s an essential element in the practice of mindfulness. Using mindfulness to treat mental woes is something that has been practiced for centuries by some of the most intelligent thinkers to walk the planet, so rest assured you are in great company!

Here are some suggestions:

Good luck and best mental health to all!

SIGHT:

Sit on a bench in a park or beside a lake or a pond.

Look through a photo book that features stunning photography.

Watch stupid cat videos (or something else amusing) on YouTube. I seriously can’t get enough stupid cat videos.

Watch your favorite movie(s).

Read something uplifting or funny: Robert Frost, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Mark Twain, Dave Barry.

Read your favorite magazine or blog (like this one!)

Read memoirs written by people who are like you: There are books about all kinds of things, divorce, parenting, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and even sociopathy.

TASTE:

Sip fresh brewed coffee, tea or other tasty beverage.

Eat fresh steamed veggies with herbs. Add butter if you like. Fuck the calories.

Savor a cinnamon roll, fresh from the oven.

Chew some mint gum, or eat some of those leftover mint candy canes from Christmas. Mint has many medicinal benefits.

Eat chocolate! Fuck the calories!

Combined with any of these, drink a lot of water…. it refreshes your body and makes everything work better.

top view photo of ceramic mugs filled with coffees
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

TOUCH: 

I have a soft fuzzy pillow with sequins (pictured below) that a good friend made for me. A few years ago when I was having bad depression problems, I used to hug it to me and run my hands along the fabric. Oddly, if I concentrated enough on the sensations that were happening it made me feel a lot better.

I’m sure there are other beneficial “touch” activities you can think up. Just don’t hurt anyone!

SMELL:

Flowers in your garden, or someone else’s garden (ask permission first.)

Perfume or cologne: A good friend gave some Michael Kors 24k Gold for Christmas. It’s heavenly! And one thing I love about my guy is that he always makes a point to be clean and wear nice smelling cologne.

The aroma of food: coffee, tea, fresh baked bread, fresh baked cookies, etc.

SOUND:

Listen to your favorite music.

Listen to the wind blowing through the trees, children playing in the park, waves crashing on the shore, birds chirping, etc.

 

**PLEASE NOTE: I’m not a health professional and can’t be held responsible for anything stupid someone might do after reading this post, which was written to be helpful ~~ JoAnn Ryan

IMG_6936 (2)
JoAnn’s awesome (and magical?) fuzzy pillow

 

 

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