photo credit: Stuart F Taylor, Illustrator & Writer, London UK
Has a dark cloud come over you? Your mood fallen low, and it feels impossible to break free?
Maybe you’re able to get on with everyday things; life and work – only the meaning has gone, and there’s a sinking feeling in your stomach. Or perhaps it’s a struggle just getting out of bed in the morning, and any hope of a bright future is slowly slipping from your fingertips.
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives, depression and anxiety being the most common. Things (life) can become hard to handle, even unbearable at times, and it sometimes feels like nothing will ever lift us up.
What can be done?
It’s important to know you’re not alone, when you feel this way. Whilst symptoms vary hugely from person to person, many others are in a similar boat. Feeling trapped, struggling mentally and wanting a solution. With help from your family and doctor, you can create a “feel-good” path to suit you – which will look different for everyone, and include a unique selection of therapies, lifestyle factors and perhaps medication to help balance and lift your mood.
It’s important to be kind to yourself as you get going again, especially if motivation has drawn to a halt. One step at a time, being compassionate all the way.
Yoga can be a very beneficial tool for helping to improve your mood, bring better quality of life, and see away the darker days. Here are 3 ways it can help:
How Yoga Can Help
A wonderful aspect of yoga is the community feel you get in practising in a group environment. There’s a sense of belonging with like-minded people, doing something positive for your well-being. And this contact can help take you away from your own head and thinking, and bring in new perspectives. Look for a group class, where you feel inspired and uplifted by the presence of others. Or book a series of one-to-one sessions/a workshop where you can benefit emotionally, as well as mentally from speaking with others.
Feeling down for any length of time is pretty miserable, and often all-consuming. Sometimes you need something “else” to come in and break this attachment. Doing yoga can be a welcome break from the goings on in your mind. By coming into your body, the stretches and breathing exercises have the power to instantly draw you into the present moment, making you aware of how you feel physically and what/where you’re stretching, opening, releasing etc.
Whilst having depression is not a sign of weakness, it can often feel so. You can get overcome with self-blame and attack for feeling this way. So it’s a good idea to do something to remind yourself of your strength and confidence. In Warrior 2, really feel the strength and tone of your legs and arms. Take a moment to truly notice the sensation in your core in Spinal Twists and be entirely present to your whole body strength in Downward Dog.
Next time you feel down, and your mood begins to spiral – take a moment to acknowledge this to yourself. Let it in – and then do something positive to help yourself feel better. In time, your mood will shift and the light will start to come back in. Stay hopeful.