Photo of sun peeking behind clouds

Lifting Depression

At last it’s February! January always seems to be the longest, coldest, dreariest and depressing month of the year and lots of people struggle getting through this dismal period, especially those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues.  In fact, lots of us feel depressed and lethargic at this time of year.

But don’t panic!  The days are getting longer, the sun starts shining and we can start thinking about packing away our winter woollies.

If you are feeling down or depressed there are some techniques you can use that really help and are all based around those things you are looking forward to in 2013 – maybe those longer days of sunshine, meeting new friends, starting a new job or your summer holiday.

It is an innate need to feel a sense of meaning and purpose. At its most basic this can simply mean having something to look forward to. If you have struggled with January, or are finding it impossible to lift your own mood, try this brief exercise:

  1. Think about doing something that you used to enjoy but are but are currently putting off until you “feel in a better mood”.
  2. Make it something small such as ringing a friend, going out for a walk or going to the pub. Remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step and a single step in the right direction is what we are looking for.
  3. Do the 7-11 breathing exercise for five minutes, then
  4. Imagine doing the thing that you used to enjoy.  Create as clear an image as possible in your head.  Imagine the likely sights, sounds, and smells of the experience as well as it being easy and pleasurable. Try and imagine as much detail as possible – go for a full sensory experience!

This exercise works because once the brain has mentally rehearsed the successful outcome to an event, it is much more likely for it to happen in real life and you will find it much easier to go out and do it.

This exercise is something we often do with clients who approach us for help with anxiety and depression (Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information).

Sometimes we need to wait to feel better before we do something. But sometimes it is the doing of even the smallest or simplest thing that helps us to feel a tiny bit better today. Then we feel more encouraged to take another small step tomorrow.

And don’t forget, January’s gone away and the days are getting longer again.