Regardless of your family history, or your predisposition to depression, feeling depressed is something that I think we can all related to right now going through this pandemic.
Depression is not just being in a bad mood or being sad or unmotivated.
At the root of depression is hopelessness.
And right now, in the absence of predictability of what is next and the not knowing of how we can plan for our future, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling hopeless.
I know you have probably heard me say a million times that I think mindfulness is the answer to everything. And I really think it is.
Mindfulness is the ability to be with what is arising and not trying to instantly change it.
I once heard someone tell me that “mindfulness is like having an itch and choosing not to scratch it.” I loved this description because it is so true!
So here are some ways to have a mindful response to feeling depressed during the pandemic.
- Mindfulness is allowing yourself to sit with what’s uncomfortable, and rather than reacting to it and saying in your head, “I hate this! Why is this happening?” it is the ability to be curious and have compassion for yourself instead. Know that sitting with your present emotion or thought, without fighting it or pushing it away, will help it to pass quicker. I know that this is not only a paradox, but it is also easier said than done.
- Name what you are experiencing, without judgment. “Oh wow, look at that…I’m noticing I’m feeling lonely and withdrawn right now. I’m not sure what to hold onto because I don’t know what’s next for me…” and to allow that emotion and that thought to be present without asking why you are feeling it.
- Let it be okay to feel what you are feeling. Given our circumstances is normal hopeless or despair. Remember, your experiences do not define you, and most importantly, nor are they permanent.
- Find your purpose and find your passion. In this week’s episode of my Journey Forward® with Joree Rose podcast (click here to listen), I interview Lindsay Weisner, who works with suicidal teens, and has also just co-authored a book titled, Ten Steps to Finding Happy. She believes that finding your purpose and finding your passion is one of the best ways to put you on the journey towards lasting joy.
- Remember, you can have two competing emotions at once. You can be sad, lonely, and insecure, while also feeling inspired, joyful, and hopeful. Both are true. And can be…at the same time! We are complex beings, and that is just part of being human.
- You can choose where you rest your mind’s attention. When you choose to dwell your energy, attention and focus on the part of you that is feeling inspired and motivated, it can serve to lighten the emotions that are heavier to carry. Let this serve as a reminder that no matter how you’re wired, no matter what your current emotional mood or situation, your mindset is powerful and that you can choose your response to whatever you are experiencing.
So once again, let mindfulness be the answer.
I give you permission to not have it all figured out. I honor and accept where you are at.
And if you are not in the habit of having your focus easily be able dwell on the good, then let that be okay.
Just know that each moment is another opportunity to practice.