Depression … it’s more than just sadness!
It’s a common mistake to think that depression is just being or feeling sad all the time. It is so much more than this … in fact feeling sad often isn’t the experience at all!
Many people report feeling numb, empty or hopeless with little enthusiasm to do even the smallest of daily things. There is little energy and often a fog clouds the brain meaning that thinking or planning anything is virtually impossible.
It’s hard to explain to friends and family why things are so difficult, with any well intended suggestions of “exercising” or “cheering up” seeming unattainable and pointless – leaving you feeling even more helpless and hopeless. Nothing seems worth the effort it requires, and all of this can leave you anxious, ashamed and feeling quite alone. Your Brain is stuck: Your thinking and feelings systems are out of sync.
It may be good to know that depression can be difficult to move on from, because the brain tends to think and act in ways that keep you depressed. Once one slight change has occurred in the brain, patterns starts to form, causing tiny changes throughout the brain which leads you down into depression. Your brain has then got stuck!
It is interacting within itself in a specific way that is causing your symptoms. Your thinking and feeling systems are out of sync with each other, and they’re not acting and communicating in ways that they would normally.
The good news is that your brain – even in the depressed state – still has the ability and potential for more energy, sleep, food regulation, sociability and happiness. It’s knowing how to begin to get your brain to reconnect with the thinking and feeling that enables change to happen.
It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference. A small change in the atmospheric air pressure can make the difference between rain and sunshine.
Small steps to change your brain
- Take a deep breath – deep breathe in, hold your breath and a slow breath out. Do this 3 times, and do it regularly throughout your day. This calms down your nervous system and reduces stress levels. It also helps you sleep.
- A little exercise is the most straightforward and powerful way to begin to change the brain. I’m not talking about going to the gym or for a jog. I’m suggesting walking upstairs (if you have them) in your own home 5 times more than you would normally, or marching on the spot for 20 steps, 5 times a day. Or laying on the sofa and doing 20 leg raises on both legs. Of course, you won’t feel like exercising, but remember, that is the state that your brain is creating because it is stuck.
- Make sure you sleep. Is there anything you can improve that will help you get a good night’s sleep? Your brains entire electrical and chemical activity is affected by sleep, so this is important. If you need further help with sleeping problems, then click here.
- Get some sunlight. It improves the serotonin levels in your brain and can also help you sleep. Serotonin improves will-power, motivation and mood.
- Find someone to talk too. Talking to a skilled counsellor can help activate numerous brain circuits and systems. Putting things into words, sharing how you feel, being heard in a non-judgemental environment, and having space to make some small decisions about things will change your brain chemistry and help increase levels of calmness. If you like us to help, then contact us here.
Remember – Small changes will make a big difference!
Author: Dr Sandra Westland
Dr Sandra Westland is a UKCP registered existential psychotherapist and counsellor with over 17 years experience of helping people with a wide variety of psychological issues. She is a bestselling author of 4 books, and enjoys running workshops both in the UK and Internationally, as well as teaching, and writing books and programmes to help people become all they can be. Her academic speciality is in the subject of body image and obesity.
Originally posted 2017-03-27 11:23:46.