That’s a good goal to shoot for.
I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately, specifically on how it is related to the nature of depression and anxiety.
Let me begin by saying, again, that certain forms of depression are not easily surmounted by thinking your way out. Some forms are chemical, and some can be pretty darned serious. I want to totally recommend finding a therapist (hopefully a good one) and talking.
With that being said, I find that my own depression spikes when I’m particularly out of balance. With life mostly, but the lack of balance could just as easily be caused by one of my four aspects being out of balance.
If I eat like crap and don’t rest or exercise, my depression usually takes the form of apathy and lethargy. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and able to produce a decent bit of dopamine. That’s a good mantra to have. You don’t have to be a crazy person about it; just being mindful about garbage in, garbage out is an extremely positive step in the right direction.
If I am too reactive in my personal experiences throughout a given day, I usually get this all-encompassing shadow persona that takes over, causing my inability to control anger and irritation, and eventually ending up with me wallowing in self-doubt and guilt. We are humans, and we are supposed to experience emotions. But letting them control us is usually not very beneficial to those around us. Recognizing those emotions, especially the ones that we don’t necessarily like, is a step in maintaining balance. Understanding anger, and specifically things that cause that emotion to want to come out, is a major step in becoming a mindful human.
If I let my brain atrophy by consuming dumbed-down content, my ability to think critically and for myself is diminished. So when something comes along that I want to know more about, or even be able to critically analyze (a necessary step in a functioning democracy), if I’ve been exercising my brain, it’s not a big deal.
If I don’t breathe, or even wonder about our beautifully rare existence, I cease to be. And of course, if we don’t breathe, we die. But I mean something more meaningful than mindlessly breathing. If you stop to breathe for a few seconds, it is amazing. That door that swings open and closed, it’s not like we breathe in and in and in; it is a process of give and take that exists as long as we do. Taking a few seconds to breathe is a great way of balancing the spiritual self. Prayer used to look a lot like meditation for a reason.
So imagine yourself walking that tightrope, keeping an eye out for your balance.
- physical self: 45 minute walk through the park.
- emotional self: breathed through an irritation experience. I realized that one of my irritation triggers is when “things don’t work out the way I intended”
- mental self: read a great piece on self-publishing, coupled with an impassioned response from an ethical editor working for a large press.
- spiritual self: I let myself experience sadness, but I noted that I wasn’t sad for my own sake; it was for my mother and my son. Their lack of geographical closeness, coupled with my mom’s husband passing away two years ago brought up this sadness and the joy of seeing them together. Their bond, as tentative as it is, is proof that there is goodness out there, connecting us all.