Depression Self Help:
The Mind And Body Connection

Want to feel good?  Sit up straight; it is your mind and body connection at work.  This is a scientifically proven affirmation of the Buddhist approach to the mind’s connection to the body.

OK, so the effects of feeling good are not usually immediate, but those of us who have practiced Yoga and know that it makes you feel better, also know that the basic sitting position is with your spine as straight as possible. 

Meditative gurus will explain about Chakras and forces of energy flowing through your body, and that’s all dandy, but it all can be affected with body posture.

Read here about how meditation helps depression.

I remember reading a passage in one of Anthony Robins’ books that gave me that Aha moment.  He was talking to somebody who needed help with depression.  Robbins asked, what do you have to do to feel depressed? 

After some confusion from that person, Robbins explained; well, when you are depressed how are you breathing, how do you stand or sit; do you slouch?  Are your movements fast or slow? 

The man said he slouched, his breathing was shallow, and he would crawl into bed.

OK, said Robbins.  That’s what you have to do when you feel depressed, now think of what you do when you feel happy or cheerful, and do that instead.

The mind following the body is a mysterious fact, but most people think of it backwards.  We think of it as the body follows the mind.

We think that when we’re sad we slouch, or breathe differently, or don’t smile.  These are in fact learned behaviors.  Yes, trained behaviors. 

The “un-training” is the tough part.  The trick of the mind and body connection would be to make a list of what you “have” to do when you feel happy, or feel smart, or successful.  Then start doing those things. 

Here’s what to do

  1. Recognize when you are feeling depressed or sad through mindfulness.  Then purposefully adjust your body to do the things you do when you feel good.
    Learn about coping with depression with mindfulness here
    .
  2. Practice often. You may not think you are feeling better immediately but let me assure you that you are.  Your mind is just fighting the learning curb.  It’s like when you are learning to drive or ride a bike. 
  3. Repeat yet again.  Initially you make lots of mistakes, but you keep up with it and eventually it’ll become second nature. 
    You don’t get cold sweats anymore when you get behind the wheel of a car ready to face all the traffic.  Chances are you crank up the engine and zoom away without a second thought. 
    That’s how this works.  We weren’t born riding a bike, or driving cars.  Yet it’s second nature for those who do it.
  4. Exercise. Exercise makes you stronger in more ways than one.  A strong body stays more erect, with a  better posture.  Cardio exercise also cleanses your blood stream of all the toxins that stress produces. 
    We often carry harmful toxins for days without realizing it.  The body was made to discard these toxins through exercise.

Read here about how exercise gets rid of your depression.

Repeating often is key to establishing a routine for the mind and body connection.  Practice your desired posture, your smile, your breathing deeply, and other things you do when you feel good.  Then do it again, so as to become as easy and automatic as driving a car or riding a bike. 

Live well be happy, and sit up straight.

 

 

Reference: 

“Leaning to the left makes the Eiffel tower seem smaller.” From Academia.edu website 2 January 2013. http://www.academia.edu/843300/LEANING_TO_THE_LEFT_MAKES_THE_EIFFEL_TOWER_SEEM_SMALLER_POSTURE-MODULATED_ESTIMATION


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