MAWMonday Motivators 03/12/2017

Mindfulness: Floating is also Swimming

Depression with a capital D is a persistent sadness. From all accounts, it is recognizable but not controllable. Many of us are familiar with depression with a small ‘d’–a comparatively less chronic inability to find joy and regulate a positive mood. I have explored both and the difference with expert and writer, Abby Conner (002 & 001). I find motivation in the resilience of those finding ways to endure both capital D and small ‘d.’ I find encouragement as I remind myself that others are successful even in the midst of the capital D.

For your motivation, I present another ‘d’: despair. Through all your disappointments, setbacks, confusion, and searching, refuse despair. Depression seems to have a central feature. Accounts I have collected of depressive episodes occur with overactive minds. Thinking too much, overthinking, restless thoughts, and the like. It is a common presupposition that those with genius intellects are beset by depression as a direct correlation. What if depression is our inability, lack of practice, managing our thoughts–our mental health? In addition to therapeutic interventions and supportive help, both capital D and small d sufferers may benefit from mindfulness practice. Abby suggested the same. Twitter agrees with us as always.

1. Endure

This is the tweet that caused me to address this topic. Two things grabbed me right away. First, the gravity, reality, and truth of the phrase, “At times depression will level you.” You don’t have to be diagnosed with the capital D depression to know what that feels like: Leveled. Put flat on your back, unable to move. Not sure what to do. Powerless and uncertain. The feeling is so visceral that I immediately retweeted.

Second though, the tweet counsels, “Do not panic. Strength will gather on its own if you endure without despair.” This resonated with me as well. My typical intervention is solution focused when responding to someone who presents as depressed. I ask them to think of a future beyond this current hurt. I remind them that getting there is a matter of commitment and time. Commit to remaining open to the hope of joy. Take the time to endure this hurt. There is no need to bounce back quickly. There is no 10 count. You prove nothing by working, pushing, fighting through. Just endure without despair.

2. Breathe

If you have not experienced the power of deep breathing, you must schedule the activity. Breathing is key to the meditative arts and mindfulness. Once you have engaged the commitment of hope and the endurance of time, breathing is the physical manifestation of a mental habit. Take in the oxygen that supports your function. Expel the carbon dioxide that is spent support.

Your mind works overtime, but it is a mechanism. Utilize it to your emotional advantage. Take in beauty, sunlight, laughter, good friends, your opinions, and uniqueness without judgment or critique. Expel judgment, other people’s standards, pressure, stress, missed opportunities, and fear. Intentionally continue this mental exercise. Breathe through this challenge. Practice the mental habits that support a healthy life.

3. Imagine

Your mind is powerful. That’s what you see as the problem. You think too much. By definition, that is what anxiety is. You have an overactive anxiety that is making you feel overwhelmed and a chronic sense of depression. Imagine if we changed the words around. Call depression, “Genius.” Call anxiety, “Memory.” You have an overactive memory that is making you feel overwhelmed and a chronic sense of genius. What would the solution be if these were the words? Some would suggest that you calm your memory by seeking to forget. I say, focus on positive memories–times that you felt joy and did what you wanted to do and felt contented. Some would suggest that you quiet your genius by seeking mindless fun. I say, utilize that genius to create. Everything you can imagine is real. Time for you to imagine joy, permission, contentment and create it. It’s not a cure. It’s a mindful beginning.

4. Cherish

Memory and genius suggest that you incorporate what you have to create something new. I work with clients all the time who do not realize how valuable their ideas are. It’s not that they show no commitment. My point is that they do not hold them as children of their souls, the blueprints of their ultimate achievements. Imagine if you cherished your experience. Imagine if you ordered those creative thoughts and produced as if caring for children who needed you to reach their full potential. Again, it’s not a cure. But, when the opportunity arises for you to move from under the oppression of depression, reach out to help the children.

5. Float

Depression can be like drowning, and you may not realize an alternative while you are experiencing the danger. If you stop flailing and fighting, you feel like you will sink beneath the waters. You fear the fact that you can’t breathe underwater. Therefore, you fight to stay above the water. You are focused on the danger and what you can’t do. But, this is not drowning. This is impinging despair.

There is another way. You have overcome this feeling before. It takes time. It’s exhausting. But, you are still here. Switch from fighting. Refocus from what you cannot do to find that one thing you CAN do. Identify that next simple step. Get still with your arms at your side. Quiet your mind. Arch your back. Lift your chest and stomach. Kick your legs, and float. Realize that you CAN. You don’t have to do it all. Just take the next step.