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Be open to what might help

Girl doing Yoga

You never know what might come along that could offer some benefit to managing your mood disorder and change your overall experience.  It may surprise you.  We are often creatures of habit and tend to follow the same coping routines without exploring new things.  This is especially true with depression, a time when it is particularly tough to get out and expose yourself to the ups and downs of learning something new.  With depression, your brain may have trouble concentrating and focusing on new activities.  You also don’t know what to expect, whether you will feel silly doing the new activity, or whether it will bring you any pleasure or relief.   Learning something new requires taking a risk and stretching your brain, both of which are difficult to do but also very useful to do in managing depression.   It may feel more comfortable to stay with the familiar, with what you already know, but try to go beyond that.  While having a daily routine is excellent, sticking to it rigidly may cause you to miss out on something great that could be very helpful in coping with or managing depression on a daily basis or in the long run.

This happened to me one day in a yoga class.  Full disclosure:  Try as I might, I am not a “yoga person”.  I go every once in a while because I read that it has relaxation and physical benefits.  But I am not one who knows all of the positions or movements.  And I have not mastered full control of my wandering mind when it comes time for meditation.  I am the person at the back of the room, doing modifications of what the instructor is teaching, striving to improve.  Until one day when I discovered a new class called “Restorative Yoga”.  Bingo!  This class was made just for me!  It had easy relaxing stretches held for many minutes, getting right at my tight spots.  Long enough for my mind to unwind and fully relax as well.  No pressure in the class to perform, no competition with the other class members.  Just being there, unwinding and getting in touch with your inner self.  It was so pleasant that I found it difficult to leave at the end of class.

Now, I would have missed out on this opportunity and learning experience had I not been open to giving it a try.  I took the risk of going to yoga yet again, of seeing what this new thing was, the risk of feeling foolish in a new class where I didn’t know the routines.  It was a safe risk, as no real harm would have come to me.  And in doing so I was rewarded with a positive experience that I will try again.

My message to you today is to be open to trying new things like this that may help you in managing and coping with your depression and your life.  Nobody can fully predict what will work for them – you have to give it a chance and try.  It might be an exercise activity, an art or music class, learning to knit or build something in woodworking, whatever suits your taste.  The first few times may be awkward, so be persistent and don’t give up on your new idea too easily.  You never know what might help.

Stay well.

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