Depression is one of the biggest challenges faced by modern people. I believe most of us have experienced times in life that we feel depressed, occasional or chronic.
So how do we stay away from depression? We all know that meditation, mindful eating, regular exercise, spending time outdoors help. The problem is, when we feel down, we find it even more difficult to sit down and meditate, or we just want to eat Pizzas or McDonald’s to ‘treat’ ourselves. When we feel depressed, we just can’t find the motivation to put on our trainers and run, what’s worse, we might not even want to go outdoors. It would've been easier if any of these was part of our routine though, which has become 'habitual behaviour'. I noticed that people with certain routines are less prone to depression, as it’s explained in one of the old teachings, ‘When you spend time thinking and doing positive things, you have less time thinking and doing negative/harmful things’. If we stay mindful, eat healthy, exercise and go outdoors regularly, it’s less likely that we will become depressed.
Therefore discipline is one of the most effective ways to prevent depression. Why? Because for any of above to make long-term effect we will need to perform them with consistency and that takes discipline. It’s hard to take on all at once, but it can start with a simple 3 minute daily task that we set for ourselves, from there, we will see the benefits and become more motivated to do more.
First Step: 3 Minutes of Breathing
We all know how to breathe, don’t we? So why not starting with breathing practice? You only need 2-3 minutes for this practice. Find a time in the day when you are relatively relaxed, take any position you prefer, whether standing, sitting or lying down. All you need to do is to breath and count.
Breathe as you normally would and count your breaths.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Relax for a moment.
Count until your 10th breath.
Count until your 10th breath.
That’s it. Simple.
Practice with concentration. ( It’s ok if you can’t, but I believe concentration will come to you after you’ve practiced for a while.)
Take this practice as your relaxing time, a time for yourself, so you enjoy it.
Practice more than once a day once you've accomplished once daily. Perhaps 3 times a day - morning, afternoon and evening.
Try NOT to:
Practice when you are angry, anxious, or too tired.
Practice with too much tension. Just breathe and feel it.
Force yourself to practice or take it as a chore.
Over do it. Sometimes we might find it extremely pleasant during the practice so we tend to stay in this peaceful state. It is best stop when we hit the 'sweet spot', which is part of discipline.
Why this practice?
It’s easy and quick. All of us can do it and we can do it any time any where.
It's a great way to connect our body with our mind.
It’s the first step towards recognising the power of mindfulness.
It helps us remain calm once it’s become part of our life.
Mindfulness sessions is one of the key contents at our retreats and bootcamps, as I know mental health is as important as physical fitness to all of us, if not more. I will introduce next step towards mindfulness practice in my future blog. I hope you find it helpful.