Following my first blog titled, “Depression – The Strong Sate of Mind”, I wanted to bring more information on the subject to you. I have personally been hit with both anxiety and depression throughout my life. I, am not a licensed physician or therapist, but I am a person that has triumphed through the condition. In my new blog feature called, The Lotus Mind – Depression Series, I will offer a series of blogs that will follow the many different stories and outlets that have helped me as well as others in their sojourn with, depression.
Embrace the Meaning of Depression
In this second installment of, Depression Series, I visit with how exercise has played, and continues to play, a crucial role in my healing. There isn’t any of us that hasn’t encountered a bout with, depression. Now is the time to begin to grasp and rehabilitate with the condition. We must delve past the surface.
In my first installment, I briefly touched on the numerous findings that have brought us to embrace the concept of depression. Data has shown that, depression, is chemically produced, genetically passed down, or caused by our environment and diets. I believe all research, right, wrong, or indifferent, should be celebrated. There are multiple culprits that cause, depression. Just like with almost anything in life, we can refer to all the information we receive. We can seek out professional help and uncover what the leading causes are for each of us.
Exercise and Depression Links Towards Healing
When I was little, I was active in various physical activities that included dance. Slowly over time, I found myself not as able to be as physically active. I was constantly exhausted and feeling out of sorts beyond any logical explanation. This went on for several years until I discovered it was, depression. That was a devastating period because being active was what I loved deeply. I had difficulty doing it and couldn’t comprehend why. One day that abruptly changed. I don’t have an explanation, other than a higher power, as to how or why the change came about.
An unusual need to shift my lifestyle and be more conscious of my choices with food and physical activity, overcame me. I joined a gym reluctantly. My anxiety was at its highest at that time. I also had quite a number of self conscious feelings about myself and my body. I was willing to overcome those obstacles though, that I had set up around myself for so many years. Little did I know that the choice I was making for food and my body was going to actually be one of the top remedies in healing my depressive state.
I devoted six day a week to my workout regiment. Each time I went to the gym I noticed I was letting go of the stressors that caused my anxiety. I was gaining mental clarity which was freeing my brain from, the prison of depression. It wasn’t something I noticed immediately but rather over the course of a couple of months, then more so over the years. I started to care more about who I was as a human being. To where I normally I felt invisible and that I had an unimportant role in life, I had a newfound love for myself and that I existed.
I would wake up at dawn for the work day and end it at the, gym. Since I finished my day working out it offered me the energy to get through the day and acted as a sleep aid. Around three years ago I stumbled upon a new workout, Barre. You can read one of my first blogs about the regimen, here. This gave my routine depth and versatility. I found my anxiety and depressive conditions mending more and more.
Two years ago we moved from our home in, Texas, to, Illinois. The transition was major and I wasn’t able to keep up with workouts as much. I started to feel the depressive symptoms coming on. After a couple of months I could focus again and put my regular schedule back in motion. The moment I did, is the moment I saw instantaneous results, mentally and emotionally. I believe that the mind is a muscle and it remembers what you feed it. It immediately responded to the feel-good chemicals it was being nourished with, again.
Lotus Mind Over Matter
Placing your body in a state of motion is not simple. For those enduring, depression, know that this is a true task. I’d like to tell you that I understand and it is a side effect you can and will conquer. If you are ready to take the step, do so in baby steps. Do not look at the bigger picture, in this case. Look at the smaller picture. This is only to avoid feeling defeated before even starting. If looking at the bigger picture, that gives your mind the opportunity to flood you with one million thoughts of how and why you can’t take that initial step into healing. Here are a few tips to guide you in starting your workout path while barreling through, depression:
- Get a mini workout routine from a magazine or the internet. YouTube, has great sequences that you can do in the comfort of your home. Choose something that’s under fifteen minutes so you can ease yourself into your practice. There are an array of exercises to choose from. I would start with one that focuses on building attention, breath work, and stretching. Yoga has an assortment of techniques. You can take individual poses and put them together as your own customized flow. Or follow a more traditional flow, such as, Restorative.
- Set your schedule up. Working out one day a week is a perfect start. The average weekly workout is three days. Go with what feels comfortable to you. There is no one way to do it. Every person is made differently and your workout should reflect that. Choose the time of day that works best. Morning workouts could give you energy and evening workouts could give you calm. Squeezing in a lunchtime workout if you’re employed, cold keep your momentum going. This varies with each and every person. Play around with different times of the day.
- Venture out. This can feel like an advanced step if you’re not quite there yet. If you are there, though, or would like to reach that mark one day, make that plan. Venturing outdoors to gyms and studios is an amazing experience. You can throw yourself all in or take it slowly. Many places give the first class or visit free. They also may offer the first week free or a bundle of classes for a fraction of the price. This approach helps with taking those baby steps. Being around others that are in the same mindset of wellbeing is healthy for your wellbeing. You might even make new friends in the process.
I cheer you on in continuing to follow your healthy path you are currently on in remedying your depression. This includes, speaking with a therapist, etc… The above information I have written can enhance your personal map. This can be a good place to start if you don’t know how. Stay up to date for my third installment in my, Depression Series, coming soon. In the event you are in need of speaking with a trusted professional or/and receiving immediate help, here are the following contact numbers:
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
*Contact information provided by, Mental Help.