Mindfulness for Dysthymia
Cultivate an attitude of “being okay with whatever is happening.” Even when we feel uncomfortable – “feeling lonely, feeling bored, feeling upset about something” – if the discomfort is acknowledged, if we do not resist what is happening, the discomfort usually fades. “When I’m able to observe whatever is happening and let it be okay, life is a lot easier. I get a lot less tense and a lot less depressed. Things don’t stick and my life goes more smoothly.”
“All sorts of little fears come up during the course of the day, which, if I’m practicing and paying attention, I can say, ‘Oh, that’s fear,’ and let it go. If I’m not practicing, then it builds and I start closing down. I feel driven by whatever is going on in my mind; there’s more tightness in my body, and I lose my sense of expansion. When I’m depressed, there’s much more resistance to sitting, much more resistance to watching my mind.”
“I begin to actually feel the energy in my body. Being in touch with what’s going on in my body through Yoga postures teaches me what’s going on with my depression.”
We want to push away what is painful, but when we close off to our pain, protecting ourselves from suffering, we reduce our capacity for joy as well as our ability to connect with others.
When the heart is closed, we live unaffected by the beauty of a sunset or the blooming of an orchid. We are numb to the multitude of offerings from the natural world. And we begin to feel unreal to ourselves. Cultivating a practice that lets us feel calmer allows us to stay present to our feelings, so that we can take in and really feel the sense of joy at simple pleasures – the sight of a lone cow on a hill at sunset, the voice of an old friend on the phone, the smell of orange blossom on a bike ride through the neighborhood. This is what it means to be alive.
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintraub