In the recent time, I wrote a lot about depression and how to fight or maybe alleviate the suffering it causes people suffering from it. Again, I am not depressive. At least I have not been treated or felt the need to check whether I suffer from it or not. Did I have depressive episodes? Oh yes. So you decide to which degree you listen to my words and experiences.
What I do for a short while now is that I am very observant when those depressive thoughts come crashing down on me. The reason for this little experiment is that I have a hypothesis when those thoughts are more likely to arise. Now, I am also well aware that the observations I made can just be my own bias, because I want it to be this way. What I want is to speak about my experience and offer an invitation to try it out for yourself.
My hypothesis is that those thoughts come when we feel overwhelmed. To be more specific, when our body is lacking something.
What did I do? Whenever I realized that those thoughts arise, I was able to say stop. Probably I was able to do this because of my mindfulness practice. Then, I asked myself what might be the reason I have those thoughts right now? I want to give you some examples. Once those thoughts came when I was working from the office to my hotel on a very hot day. I was packed, didn’t drink and eat enough before and I was already quite fatigued. You can see that my body lacked several resources at once. I was able to stop the negative thought spiral and after I had rest and water in the hotel, I felt way better.
Another time was during a day where I had to do many different things. On top of that, I watched several videos and read different articles. When the negative thoughts came, I was again able to say stop and, because I ate and drink enough and didn’t feel tired, I was sure that it was due to too much information intake. I took a break and set myself the goal to continue working only on one task. Again, this helped to stop the thoughts and I felt way better.
There were quite a few of those moments. Often it had something to do with not enough rest, food, water or an information overload. The funny thing is how our brain works. Sometimes, everything is normal and then I smell something or just read a single word and I am thrown back by the negative thoughts coming in. I realized that it has nothing to do with what I read or smelled or heard. I think that it is my body giving me a signal that something is missing or too much.
After doing this for a little while, I am getting better at managing my own resources and those incidents rarely take place now. Even when I face situations when it would be “normal” to fall back into negative thinking for me, such as thinking about my ex-girlfriend. Being able to say stop is already a huge benefit. It redirects my intention towards something more neutral and I can be curious which is a good feeling for me. In addition, my thoughts are kept from following that negativity spiral.
I am not sure if that is only true for me or if that is obvious for you, but it helped me quite a bit. I will continue to observe and discover. Maybe I am on to something =).
Take care, Stephan