Considering how common depression is and how many of us suffer from it, I know that we all wonder how we can stop feeling so depressed when we find ourselves stuck in depression. Here are some things to consider before going deeper into searching for that answer.
Perfectionism and obsession
Do you find yourself asking “Jeez, I’m so depressed all the time. How can I just not feel this way?”. While it is normal to feel this way when you have depression, it could be troublesome if you find yourself constantly obsessing with this question in your mind 24/7. Because this obsession creates not only frustration and worsened mood, it can also implement the idea that it is “wrong” to feel depressed. Therefore, you are essentially telling yourself to not feel an emotion that is natural and one must remember the importance of our need to validate our emotions. Being overly critical of ourselves often does not do good for ourselves but it will result in feeling shame and worsened depression. Watch out for this obsession trap when you find yourself stuck in depression.
Mind, body, and soul
Instead of focusing so much on feeling depressed mentally, it can be very helpful to do an inventory of your whole physical body. We all know that our mind, body, and soul are connected. Starting with your body, try checking for any part of your body that might be sending out a signal for attention, which manifested as depression. Things to take in consideration when doing an inventory include:
- Quality of sleep you are getting
- Foods you consume daily
- Home and work environment
- Stress levels
- Any pain in your body that you might be neglecting
- Life events that are affecting you deeply at this time
- Relationships with your friends and family
Is Depression bad?
We tend to categorize emotions as either good and bad. And when it comes to emotions such as depression, we are quick to think that it is a bad emotion and we must do something to not feel this way. As we all know, there are several types of emotions ranging from happiness to sadness. However, we must remember that all those emotions are just emotions. The idea of good and bad was made by us. By recognizing that depression is one of the emotions we feel and it is not “bad”, we can learn to embrace depression more tenderly. When we do that, we no longer fight depression and instead we can tolerate it with more ease. Understanding how our perception creates extra suffering can offer immense relief and it is very helpful when dealing with depression.
Just like a plant, depression thrives on attention and food. If you are stuck feeling depressed, chances are you have been giving lots of attention and nurturing to depression. It is time to shift the focus from depression to happiness and joy. Allow yourself to stop obsessing with “How can I stop feeling so depressed?” and shift to “What will make myself happy right now?”. When you allow yourself to commit to being happy right this moment and this moment only, you find that you can accomplish so much. Try to stay focused as your mind might distract you with a thought such as “But I know I will feel depressed tomorrow and the day after tomorrow because that’s how it’s been.”.
By now, you realize that we don’t have to punish ourselves for feeling depressed. What a relief, isn’t it? By not obsessing with trying to not feel depressed, so much pressure is already off you and you can finally relax. It is okay to feel how you feel. Validation creates room for more tolerance and kindness towards ourselves and cultivates our desire to want to understand more about ourselves. That’s exactly where healing begins. Then, we can finally learn to take care of our depression with tenderness and care instead of fighting it or forcefully covering it up with things such as substance abuses.