Here are three ways you can help yourself out when you are depressed or anxious. Even better, use these some variation of these three practices regularly, even when you are feeling terrific, and you may be able to prevent deep plunges into negativity and worry.
Practice 1) Connect with that which is bigger than you. Nature is one way to connect with the bigger picture. You need not consider yourself religious or spiritual to experience wholeness in nature. Do you feel alive when the wind blows through your hair? What happens in your body when you look at the moon, planets, and stars? If you feel good connecting with the earth and universe, do more of that. Lie on the earth, jump in a pile of leaves, let yourself come alive in nature. If you have a meditation or prayer practice, make it a discipline. Lean into your spirituality in a fresh, alive way.
Practice 2) Do energy work. You are more than a physical form. You are a field of energy that extends within and around your physical body. Keep your whole self primed and healthy through some kind of energy work. You already are familiar with Yoga, which is probably the best known energy practice in the US. In addition to gyms and yoga classes, you can learn Yoga exercises at home, at your own pace using books and DVD’s as your teachers. You might also explore QiGong, Reiki, Energy Medicine (Donna Eden), Healing Hands (Barbara Brennan), EFT and other tapping practices. These practices keep your energy moving and are healing on many levels.
Practice 3) Find teachers and guides. I use the plural on purpose. Teachers and guides may be people you actually know and meet with, such as spiritual directors, ministers, counselors or psychotherapists. They can also be groups that come together to teach, learn, and heal. Teachers are also those you have never met, but whose books or videos touch you and change you. I have never met Stephen Levine and yet his book, Healing Into Life and Death changed my life and I consider him one of my first true teachers. You may also learn to listen to your inner wisdom and inner guides, although we must discern what is true inner wisdom and what is tricky ego appearing to be our guide.
If you regularly connect with something greater than yourself, do energy work, and learn from teachers, you will begin to develop into your true self. Problems will not disappear and your life will not be perfect. You will be on a path of growth and development that will serve you. Over time, you will have greater compassion and kindness for yourself and others, you will more skillfully maneuver through life’s ups and downs, and your sense of personal responsibility and self-mastery will increase. Blessings on your journey!