depression

Make room for it all.

Last week I told a client struggling with anxiety and depression about a tactic I've come to find very helpful in battling my own anxious and depressed reactions.

I told her to make room for it all.

Often we feel anxious or depressed because we're consciously or subconsciously choosing to hold down or repress or suppress something we are feeling. Maybe we don't feel comfortable feeling it. Maybe it doesn't feel safe to express it. 

So we try to say, "sorry, not now. There's no room for you (feeling) at this moment."

And the feeling doesn't like that. So it waits for another opportunity to be heard and seen and felt. And if we don't make room for it, it demands our attention in other ways. 

Like insomnia. Or illness. Or anxiety. Or depression. Or some other ways.

What happens when we make room for it all? All those feelings we feel and all those thoughts we have? Who wonders that it would horribly scary and horrible? Who wonders if it would work to feel more relief?

Have you tried it? Do you know what would happen?

After years of unconsciously doing other things, I've practiced making room for it all.

I make room for feeling like a failure.

I make room for feeling lonely.

I make room for feeling confident and inspired.

I make room for feeling depressed and rejected.

I make room for feeling uncomfortable in my body one day and completely dysphoric the next. 

I make room for feeling annoyed at opinionated people.

I make room for feeling sadness about racism and sexism and all the other isms.

I make room for feeling hopeless and helpless.

I make room for feeling competent to educate and inspire others toward change.

With each day and month that I practiced this, making room for all of it, I saw that it got easier. It's not easy, but easier. Sometimes I have to sit down to do it because it feels like being on a ship at sea during a massive storm without any Dramamine. Sometimes a few tears fall. Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk. Sometimes I do nothing and just notice the complicated nature of consciousness and how our minds work.

Deep thoughts by Dillan DiGiovanni. LOL.

The truth I've come to know is that I don't disappear down a big hole. I don't fall apart at the seams. I don't cry forever.

I don't die.

I just feel it and when the wave washes over me, I'm still there. Sitting and breathing. Really doing ok. And, like my client on the coaching call, I actually feel much better. Much lighter. More able to breathe and open my eyes a bit wider. 

Making room for it all actually helps us get better at making more and more room. More room for us leads to making more room for others.

But start with you. Because you make an impact each day on the lives of many people.

Start with making more room for all of what's happening for you. It's a good place to start.

 

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Do you manage or master?

The whole time management thing is a myth. I busted it.

Same goes for managing life. Busted.

Managing is for people who want to barely get by. It's for people who feel stuck and want to stay stuck, even when they protest otherwise. It's for people who tread water and keep their face barely above the surface. It's for people who make bold claims about who they are to convince everyone, including themselves. Managing is frenzy, manic, exhausted, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated and irritable. It's bare minimum.

Managing doesn't work for me. I've tried it. For many years. Actually, I was doing it right up until my self-imposed sabbatical that started in May. That blog post is coming next week. Or should I write about integrity instead? I can't choose. Vote here and help me.

One of the many things I determined whilst on my self-imposed sabbatical was how long I'd been managing my life. Yes, it was going ok. Yes, I was moderately successful. Yes, I was doing much better compared to many other people, in fact. But I was also experiencing too many days, weeks and months of this low-grade bummed out feeling that I couldn't shake. I tried to do all these things to change that feeling and realized I was feeding the same monster: my own conditioning to manage instead of master.

So, I began to practice mastering my life. Mastering my time. Mastering my communication. Mastering my energy. Mastering my money, Mastering my choices. Mastering my exercise, food, spirituality and career plans. Mastering my MIND, most especially.

Wow. That did it.

Moving from a mindset of managing to mastering takes intention and some time because the managing habits are SO STRONG. God, I've been reinforcing those habits for my whole life.

This mastering thing requires me to really hone in on what I've been doing well and taking it to the next level. It helps me feel the way I wanted to be feeling the whole time I was treading water thinking I was doing it "right". 

How mastery feels

You know that feeling when you walk out onto the beach for the first time in a long time? Where you focus on the waves and smell that air and you sort of feel your body connect with all that energy? For a few moments you forget everything about your life and you just see that horizon and sky and water and smell the salt and that's all there is. 

That's how we are meant to feel. We can find it and make it a real thing, every day. I didn't used to think so, but I'm doing it and it's pretty awesome. It took a major mind shift that I probably wouldn't have been able to make without all the work I've done up to this point AND the time and space I created to breathe a bit. 

 

Mastering works better than managing. Mastering puts you in the driver's seat with a relaxed but confident grip on the wheel. It isn't about controlling (that's managing). It's about moving from aspiration to action, putting intentions into practice and moving with everything as it comes.

Sit with this today and see how it feels. Which are you doing right now? Managing or mastering?

Healthy Ways To Move Through a Bad Mood

mood

The noisy upstairs neighbors. The traffic.

The EXPRESS line at the grocery store (sir, you have more than 10 items).

The toilet seat.

The medical provider who called you the wrong pronouns. Again.

Your mother.

The kid climbing the walls or shouting at the top of his lungs at the laundromat or restaurant.

When it's your kid.

 

We are human beings who experience bad moods--well, if we are healthy human beings, we do. If you don't have different moods and portray a Pollyanna-type vibe 24/7 or try to talk other people out of their moods, it might mean you're not feeling your feelings. I want to encourage you to get some support for that, because repression and compartmentalization don't work long-term. Just because you're struggling doesn't mean you're needlessly suffering--and just because you're "happy" doesn't mean everything is ok. I can't help with a lot of this, because I'm not a therapist. But I can share what's within my scope of practice as an integrative health coach to help you move through a bad mood in healthy ways.

 

1) Don't reach for anything.

Food. Games. People. Drugs. Beer. What else am I missing here? Oh, shopping online. Um, posting a vague, passive-aggressive status on FACEBOOK. Try to not distract yourself with something if you're in a bad mood. Are you laughing or scoffing right now? Yeah, I'm talking to you then. When we feel in a bad mood, we often reach for things to make the bad feeling go away. You know what this does? It reinforces our habit of running away from feeling something. Each time we do it, we get better at that, the reaching and running--not at actually FEELING.

2) Talk it out.

Phone a friend. Write it down. Talk to yourself if you have to, dammit. Literally walk around your living space or office and say whatever is in your head. If you're at work, maybe you can go to the bathroom and make sure no one else is in there. If someone walks in, you can pretend to hang up your phone--or say with totally honesty, "ha, you caught me talking myself down from a frustrating moment." Watch the person's face reveal complete and total awe and amazement at your self-awareness.

3) Set a timer and sit it out.

Use the timer on your phone or something and sit somewhere comfortable. Close the door if you have to. But when a mood comes up, just FEEL IT. Like, just let it be there for a minute. Or two minutes. Notice when you don't faint or melt into the floor beneath you. It feels bad, yes, but you don't cease to exist. When the timer goes off, see what's there for you. Still feel bad? Set the timer again and sit still. Still alive? Good. Keep doing this. See how many minutes pass before you realize that moods aren't a permanent state of being. They pass. Want to know something else? They are completely normal and OK. It means you're a complex, dynamic human being fully experiencing the complexity of life.

 4) Drop and give yourself 20.

Doing 20 pushups is like, the perfect solution to just about anything. I'm convinced of it. If you aren't able to do them due to accessibility, count to 20 instead and see if your bad mood is as bad when you reach 20. If you ARE physically able to do pushups and hammer them out quick, you feel really strong and confident, which will probably eliminate your bad mood. If you can't do them, you've just distracted yourself from whatever was causing your bad mood. Now you can focus on the fact that you can't do 20 pushups. You're welcome.

5) Put it in perspective.

ZOOM OUT. Think about five people you know and something happening in their lives right now. Take a second and really do this. See what I mean? Is the thing that has you in a mood REALLY WORSE than what those folks are managing right now? I'm not saying you have to shove your feelings aside because other people are suffering. What I AM saying is, keep your s*^& in perspective. Put it on a spectrum somewhere between running in a field of daisies and someone you know or love who is struggling in a profound way. Your pain is real and true, but where does it sit in comparison to others? A little perspective goes a long way to help shift your bad mood.

 

These are just a few ideas I have or healthy ways to move through a bad mood. Don't do any of them to eliminate the bad mood, just to move through it.

What did I miss? Leave a comment below.