Just Keep Moving: Don’t Let Depression Catch YouFeb 22, 2023
“Depression is…physically - it's like I'm moving through mud all the time. I have this energy and, drive to do things, but I just can't get to them. And I have the capability to get to them, but I can't. It's like a weight on my shoulders all the time. It's like getting up in the morning every day and putting on a cinder block suit and then having to go move through my day.”
This statement was shared with me by one of the participants in my research study on the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy on depression. Healing the body from depression was a main theme that emerged from this research on the lived experiences of women suffering from depression. The consideration to “heal” the body from depression was a significant concern.
The body stores emotions and memories such as pain, trauma, grief, sadness, and disappointment (as well as happiness, joy, pleasure) in the cells and muscles. The memory of past painful or stressful experiences is stored in the cells of the body and can have a negative impact on one’s current mental and physical health and mental outlook. A modality is needed to work through depression that considers the significant experiences of an individual and how these experiences impact one’s mind as well as body.
Other participants from the research study shared how depression feels in their bodies.
Depression feels like…
“being chained to radiator and not able to move”
“a heaviness - like carrying a load”
“weight on my shoulders”
“knots and stones in my throat and back”
“a big monster within me”
“emotional tar in my soul”
“a strong undertow, current, pulling you down”
Because depression is held in the body and associated with the body, we need to move our bodies to release the energetic build-up of unwanted emotions and restore balance and harmony to the body. This means moving our physical body as well as our mental body.
Let’s Talk About Inertia: MOVE!
“I think that our bodies can tell us things far quicker than our brain can. I think that our body tells us what we need to know way before our brain can even process what we need to know, if you just listen.”
Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion is referred to as inertia. It states, “An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at a constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an unbalanced force.” (https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/newtons-laws-of-motion/#newtons-third-law-action-reaction.)
So, the law of inertia tells us that the couch will not move unless someone uses force and pushes it. If something is at rest, it will stay at rest unless a force intervenes and moves it. It also means that someone sitting on the couch will remain on the couch unless motivated to move and use energy to get up and make changes.
The tendency to resist change of motion is inertia. We may even feel like we are “stuck.” Experiencing the mood disorder of depression may make the couch seem very comfortable and the idea of movement and the energy to leave the couch may seem overwhelming or unattainable. We may find ourselves binge-watching a television series for days. Staying on the couch and not moving our bodies feeds depression.
It takes energy to get up off the couch or even to be motivated to move. Inertia is keeping us stagnate. Inertia keeps us from making changes and it explains our resistance to taking action and moving forward.
Once we make the decision to get off the couch, we put energy into this action. That first push or step is the hardest. When we get moving, momentum takes over and movement becomes easier. We take the first step off the couch and the next steps are easier.
10 Practices to Help You Keep Moving
Here are a few suggestions to keep you moving. Don’t let depression catch you.
1). Allow yourself to dream, imagine, and envision a goal or creation.
2). Set concrete and attainable goals that you can work toward and monitor the goals. Ask yourself -Am I making progress? What seems like a struggle? Does it feel like a sacrifice? What encourages me to move forward?
3). Provide healthy food to your body. Nutrition is important and making healthy food choices can help manage depression. Reflect on the statement: I am worthy and deserving of nutritious food.
4). Create time daily to exercise. No more excuses. Research shows that exercise improves our mood and decreases depression and anxiety.
4). Turn off the electronics. Put down your phone, get off the computer, take a break from video games. Too much screen time increases depression and anxiety.
5). Push through inertia! You may have a tendency to stay at rest. Shift your perspective and MOVE! Jump up and down, get out in nature, walk, hike, stretch, etc.… Move the body.
6). Make an effort to begin an exciting project, or enroll in a new class, pursue an interesting activity or hobby.
7). Strive to add pleasure and enjoyment in your life. When we focus our attention on providing pleasure and enjoyment in our lives, we bring activities and situations in our life that provide pleasure and joy.
8). Choose happiness. Yes, you can choose to be happy. When you recognize that you are not happy, you can make choices that bring happiness to your life.
9). Create. As humans we create innately and continuously. Creating is taking dead or stagnant energy and reviving new and fresh forces. What can you create today?
10). Consult your primary doctor or mental health professional to assist you with treatment and healing of depression. Sometimes pharmacologic medications are necessary to reduce distress and heal depression. Today, there are many good choices if medications are necessary.
The action of moving forward is the natural course in the Universe. If you find that you are feeling “stuck,” make the decision to move your body, and do it. Just keep moving.
Glenn Research Center – Nasa: What are Newton’s laws of motion? Retrieved February 2, 2023 from https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/newtons-laws-of-motion/#newtons-third-law-action-reaction.
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