Ease Depression Now: How to Alleviate Anxiety and Depression with Your Body.
Recently, I was interviewed for the Body and Psychotherapy Summit. There, I addressed a common concern: How can I ease depression now, in my day-to-day life? Can I learn to relax and release anxiety?
These questions are so important to our overall health. And since many days are spent interacting with others, we want to feel at ease in social situations. The good news is, we can we teach our minds and bodies to relax.
Tapping into the wisdom of the body: How to do it, and why it’s so important.
With Depression, a person’s entire being feels deflated. That’s because depression affects and the body’s physical organism, rather than “just the mind.”
When a sense of deflation has been around for so long, it’s hard to decipher what originally caused it.
So, how do I get to the root cause?
Generally, there are many schools of thought about what causes depression. Nature vs nurture is a familiar and recently debated theory. But if you’re seeking practical ways to dissolve anxiety and ease depression now, you don’t have time for theory. You simply want to…
Teach your body to relax, release anxiety, and feel safe.
Take heart: This is within your reach! To achieve this we can:
- Bring the body into a parasympathetic state of relaxation and safety
- Allow the body to dive into a new, more pleasurable experience
- Create a pattern of good feelings in the body so that healthier neurological pathways are created
When the system finds pleasure or joy, it comes from the depths of where change can happen in a lasting way. Often, creating a beautiful re-Storying via Creative Expression is helpful. However, when you’re suffering, sometimes you need to bypass this step. Provided that your central nervous system is not in a state of shock or freeze, you can. Here’s how:
To get the body ready for an emerging or coming forward, we lay a foundation for improvisation and play. That way, these good feelings can come alive organically through shifts.
These shifts occur while all of our capacities are involved. This is full awareness: somatically, mentally, emotionally etc.
During this full awareness, a kind of re-patterning occurs.
It happens without a fixed set of tools—there is no agenda. All parts are being given witness. Most importantly, there is no getting stuck in the woes of a debilitating stress story. Rather, the stress unwinds and deconstructs within a creative expression of imagery and cellular, fluid movement.
Another question I answered during the summit interview was this:
In your psychotherapy practice, what exercises do you share with clients?
On the spot, body-based meditations is a big part of how I work—and I both guide and follow these experiential exercises. During these sessions, I read body posture, breath and tissue. I look for discrepancies in language and tone, in relation to what the body and body language appear to be saying.
The body never lies. Sometimes I begin by inviting the client to notice where his/her breath is at that moment. Other times, I ask how much awareness is sensed in their lower body.
I ask because, the lower body is often neglected. And yet, that is where sadness or anxiety often resides.
To release and ease depression, sadness or anxiety, I teach clients how to use tonal vibration. Tonal vibration soothes and warms up the tissue. We call that “dropping” into a more cellular place. Emilie Conrad, the founder of somatic movement, called this “glial cell land”, where the organism is held less hostage to the CNS (central nervous system).
The CNS is where the fight/flight response occurs and too much of it can create patterns of depression or anxiety. One can feel stuck in a pattern of hopelessness and helplessness.
In short, my practice helps clients break through these patterns. I help show them how to tap into the wisdom of their bodies, so they can dissolve their anxiety and ease depression.
For more practical tips on reducing anxiety and stress, read Reduce Stress through Body Meditation.