If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you are far from alone. Depression affects 300 million people worldwide and the numbers are similar for anxiety. But there is hope! Here’s a refreshing take on depression and what you can do about it from Devaraj, one of Osho Leela’s therapists and workshop leaders.
Recognise these thoughts?
What’s the point?
It’s not worth it.
It doesn’t matter what I do, anyway.
When you’re depressed, a bodily feeling of heaviness often accompanies these negative, self-defeating thought patterns. These thoughts also stop you from moving forward. And movement is actually the very thing you need to recover from depression.
What’s Really Going On?
“For most people, some level of bodily, physical movement and some level of mental movement – new challenges, situations, interests – are a prerequisite for feeling good,” explains Devaraj.
So what is going on in the body when you’re depressed or anxious? Underlying these conditions are a whole lot of other emotions that we are not feeling. “The states of depression and anxiety are in actuality simply learned avoidance strategies. Our mind has adopted these as a way to avoid the extremes of our natural emotionality,” says Devaraj, who has worked extensively with these conditions as a body-based therapist.
Often, this is the result of difficult or traumatic events that we’ve experienced. We can end up suppressing our feelings in order to survive an intolerable reality. As children, we didn’t have a choice about the situations we found ourselves in. And if our emotions remain unresolved, we can find ourselves recreating a seemingly choiceless, trapped state as adults, too.
But, in fact, we always have a choice. As Devaraj puts it, “To heal, we have to find the courage and support to go deeper inside ourselves. We need to go into the places where we have been afraid to feel.”
When You’ve Forgotten How to Feel
When we learn to be more fluid in our emotions, we don’t need to stick to the rigid negative thought patterns and repetitive behaviours that reinforce them. Once we’ve ‘taken the lid off’ and expressed our emotions in a safely held space, the healing process can begin. We can recover our sense of power and purpose in life. And that’s when we start moving forward again.
At Dev’s weekend workshop at Osho Leela, Beating Depression and Anxiety, you will have an opportunity to take a risk, step out of your comfort zone and begin your healing journey. You’ll learn from presentations about depression and anxiety and be led through emotional expression and body-opening exercises. You’ll be able to share with others much more deeply about what is really going on inside your world. It’s from 29th November to 1st December and all experience levels are welcome. It’s open to both those dealing with depression and anxiety and people who are interested in understanding this area. You can book your place here.
Written by Khalsa Nichols. Khalsa is a nature-loving writer, singer and group facilitator living and working at Osho Leela. www.morganknichols.com.