Like a lot of people (especially sensitive, creative types) I struggle daily with the blues. It seems my black dogs are always lurking in the shadows of my mind, waiting for their chance to overcome my day completely. To put a stop to any rising depression, meditation really works for me.
Why Do We Get Depressed?
As I am not a clinical case of depression, I find that getting the blues has a lot to do with external factors. Experience has shown me that there are some very effective ways to invite the black dogs in to my world with open arms:
- lack of sleep
- lack of headspace
- too much of the good life
- a shit day at work
- lack of exercise
Thankfully, I have long discovered that a simple “depression meditation” help me chase the black dogs away and to get back on the good foot. After I do it, I usually feel:
- much clearer in my thinking
- more grateful for the good things in my life
- motivated to get on with creating art and an abundant life.
But What is Depression Meditation Exactly?
I hesitate to use the word “meditation” because people have many different interpretations as to what the word means. To be clear, I am talking about a very specific technique. It’s non-religious, simple and easy to try.
So let’s give it a different, if very clumsy name: Sitting and Breathing and Focussing on Sensual Perceptions in the Moment. (Hmm … not sure if that’s going to “go viral” but never mind.) Some people may already recognise this is as a basic description of mindfulness. For the record I have never attended any mindfulness meditation retreats and I certainly do not follow any spiritual guru. I have read lots of books about non-religious meditation and I have been practicing it for well over a decade.
Why Meditation Works
While I have my pet theories, I am not 100% sure why my version of meditation works so well to remove the black fog of depression from my heart and mind, but to paraphrase my preferred spiritual mentor, that hairy, swearing, ranting legend that is Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, let’s forget about the why and concentrate on the how, and then the why will take care of itself.
How To Meditate in 3 Simple Steps
- Sit somewhere quiet where you are not going to be disturbed for the next 10 minutes (or 5 or 15). You don’t have to sit in any particular way, just comfortably with a relatively straight back. Lying down is OK but you may find yourself getting sleepy that way. Set a timer so that you don’t have to keep peeking at the clock wondering how long you’ve got to go.
- Now for the time allotted, close your eyes gently and concentrate as much as possible on only sensual perceptions. This can include your breathing, sounds, aches and pains, your heartbeat, colours on the back of your eyelids. If you like you can do it with your eyes open and stare at something nice like a candle or a flower (anything).
- When you find yourself thinking about stuff, you will probably notice that it is either about something in the past or the future or a total fantasy. No matter. Just think “oh well.” And return to the sensual thing or things you are concentrating on.
That’s it. Not very complicated, but I find it powerful. If you did not find it powerful, well unfortunately I have only one single piece of advice (to any question you have): “It’s all good. Just keep practicing”.
What are you waiting for? Give it a go!