What is Depression and How to Overcome It

Depression can look like:

Feelings of Sadness Hopelessness
Tearfulness Loss of Interest in Normal Activities
Emptiness Sleeping Too Much Tiredness
Reduced Appetite Lack of Energy
Guilt Slowed Thinking, Speaking or Body Movements
Frequent or Recurring Thoughts of Death Feelings of Worthlessness
Unexplained Pain Trouble Concentrating
Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts.

Here’s what these symptoms have in common:

With depression, past pain sits unresolved in our system where it weighs us down.

That’s what all those mental and emotional symptoms above are; stuck emotions weighing us down in the present.

This stuck energy drains us. It’s like having too little energy

As a result, we don’t have enough energy to accomplish our daily tasks.

Here are Some Other Potential Depression Symptoms:

Angry Outbursts Irritability or Frustration
Sleep Disturbances Loss of Interest in Normal Activities
Emptiness Insomnia
Increased Cravings for Food Weight Gain
Anxiety Agitation

Sometimes the stuck pain can cause us to feel easily agitated or aggravated. Instead of draining our energy as above, depression can cause us to have too much energy.

As a result, we can’t relax.

And that’s why we may have angry outbursts or feel irritable. In other words, these emotions are stuck in the system. But instead of weighing us down, they’re causing us to feel agitated.

That agitation is what leads to the sleep disturbances.

Those are the two main ways depression can affect our system. Either we experience too much energy or not enough energy.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

So How Do You Stop Ruminating on the Past?

Hundreds of years ago, Lao Tzu understood that if you’re depressed, it’s because your mind is ruminating on the past in the now and that that past rumination is what’s causing you to not be at peace in the present.

Comparatively, if your mind is focused in the present, it gives us an opportunity to experience that peace.

How Do You Stay Present? Mindfulness

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, nonjudgmental. Obviously, we breathe all the time, however, the breath is always happening in the present moment and most of the time we breathe without paying attention.

If we purposely pay attention to the breath, we come back from past thinking and into the present moment. When we’re present, we can find peace and enjoy our lives because we’re here now and not in the past.

Here’s a practice process using mindfulness of the breath right now.

“Treatment studies of PTSD show that with the successful treatment of PTSD, comorbid symptoms of depression and anxiety are also greatly reduced.”

– National Institutes of Health

In other words, if you resolve the underlying trauma, in most cases depression will dissipate.

How to Resolve Depression

Taken together, there are two main ways to resolve depression:

It’s important to note that this article is addressing depression broadly.

There are some other possible causes of depression which require their own separate methods to resolve. These will be addressed in future articles.
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By David Redbord, MA, MPH, LPCC
#1 International Bestselling Author and Walking Therapist

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