Lengthen the spine
Depression creates a weight and anxiety and trauma create a slump to make one’s self smaller. Lengthen the spine starting from bottom up pay attention and lengthen one vertebra at a time, removing the weight and automatic body behaviors that support poor posture, health, and mood. This also opens the spine for natural and full blood and energy flow. Set a timer to remind you to do this throughout the day. Anything you practice repeatedly you will become better at.
Orient to the environment to create familiarity and safe space. This helps to bring the autonomic nervous system back toward the parasympathetic (PNS), or calm/cool, system. When we look around and notice where we are it can help regulate autonomic arousal and manage our nervous system, decreasing our body's response to stress or anxiety. Turn your head 180 degrees to model taking in the entire space. Identify any threats to process or notice the lack of threats. Identify that you are safe.
Notice how the body and its energy responds to language. Say out loud “My life is hopeless” and notice how does your body change? Does the tension in your face change, your head drop, your spine slump, your face grimace, your energy feel lower, a weight upon your shoulders? Then say out loud “I am doing the best I can” and notice how does your body change? Do you feel less heavy, a slight lift in your spine, a little bit of weight gone, does your face relax? Change the negative dialogue that increases the physical response to anxiety and depression.
Create any movement you can to encourage dissipation of negative energy, increased blood flow, and working out any kinks in the body that may inhibit proper blood and energy movement. Just stand up and stretch or stand up and rock from one foot to the other. If at home on the couch then make a deal with yourself that when a commercial comes on you have to get up and stand during the commercials or walk to the kitchen and get a drink of water.
Drop the Content
When dealing with ruminating thoughts (persistent, repeating) we can get stuck feeling like a record is playing on repeat. When experiencing repeated negative thoughts, we must catch them and challenge them. Next time you have a negative thought that seems familiar ask yourself is this thought making me feel better or worse.
Depression represents a part of the self, not the entire self. Frame the negative communication as coming from a “depressed part”. Explore what happens when the depression belongs to only one part of you. How old is this part? What does it look like? Could this part be from the past, trying to protect you and warn you of dangers ahead?
Change Stimulates Turbulence
A depressive state or anxious state may have once been a survival response, and the behaviors that come with this are resources, adaptations to survive these threatening events. Your safety may have once depended on not being seen to avoid abuse or being seen but not heard. These behaviors may feel threatening to let go of and create “turbulence”. However, this turbulence means you are pushing yourself to the edges of your window of tolerance, and this is where change occurs. Similar to how pressure upon coal results in a diamond.