Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

Cat
One thing
is sure there are a whole lot of depressed people in this world. You can easily
spot them when you observe people while sitting at the beach, waiting for the
next bus, or sipping a wonderfully brewed Moccacino.

How will
you spot them? They usually are walking hesitantly rather than striding
confidently, avoiding looking at people, slouching with their upper body, having
an earnest face or frown, and staring at the ground. The body expresses the
person’s inner state and, equally, perpetuating it. You can try this out right
now. Sit with your head down, letting your shoulders slouch forward, breathe
shallow, maybe let a sigh. You can NOT NOT feel low of energy and depressed.

Now see
how it works the other way around as well. By adopting a certain body language
you can evoke the corresponding feeling. Staying with the example of depression
take part in the following exercise:

Sit up
straight, push out your chest and pull your shoulders back. Lift your head up
and breathe in deeply all the way down to the pit of your stomach. Put a wide
smile on your face and keep it there. You’ll notice almost instantly how your
mood is lifting. Remind yourself several times during the day of this posture
and you will be able to maintain the positive frame of mind.

On
another note, how good are you at expressing or even feeling your anger? You
can do some ‘anger work’ by letting your body guide you into feeling anger. Sit
down on a chair with your feet on the ground. Focus your eyes on a particular
point in front of you. (Avoid going into peripheral vision. It’s hard to be
angry while you are in peripheral vision.)Make tight fists with both your hands,
clench your teeth, and frown your forehead. Take a quick, forceful breath and
exhale by quickly pushing the air out of your lungs. Make the inhale shorter
than the exhale. Keep this breathing pattern for a few minutes while slowly
increasing the breathing speed.

What you
need to do to feel relaxed and at peace? Sit comfortably in a seat that
supports your body and your head so that you don’t have to carry it. Make a
mental scan of your body from tip to toe to make sure your muscles are relaxed.
Breathe deeply and slowly, make a mental image of you floating on an air bed on
a calm lagoon, gently moving with the waves, drenched in warm sunlight,
caressed by a warm, light breeze. If thoughts come into your awareness, let
them come and go, like waves hitting the beach and retreating again. Don’t get
engaged in your thoughts. Don’t follow them, just observe them come and go.

This has
hopefully demonstrated how closely connected your emotions and moods are with
your body. There are many more ways of how you can use your body to change you
mood. How about you experiment with your posture and notice the different emotions
it evokes. I would be interested to hear how this was for you.

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Comments on: "Change Your Mood With Your Body" (2)

  1. Hi Gudrun, I knew I had to put some self care strategies into place tha other day. I went to a drinks party with my husband and a couple of his work colleagues. Not my thing. Really stressful as, 1. I could drink too much and find my behaviour slipping out of my control, and 2.I am never good at small talk. Horror— no wives turned up except me. Hence, all work talk. Me totally excluded. Well what made me respond to this post was your picture of the cat. I was sitting , very uncomfortable, feeling panic and tears near, wanting to get out, feeling frozen to the spot,wondering how the hell I was going to keep a smile on my face and not collapse into a heap, when into the house came a cat. She came right to me and jumped on my knee purring loudly and snuggled right in. As I patted her I started to relax and then I thought , If I tense up the cat will feel it and jump off my knee, she is the one keeping me together and grounded. So I found a calmness and a space to be in that was comfortable. After some time a couple of women came and this was a relief to be able to talk and I asked about the cat. The woman who lived there said “oh no, it’s not my cat, I’ve never seen it before.It must be a wild cat.” You know, as soon as that cat sensed that I was comfortable and coping, she jumped down and just disappeared, and I found myself having a conversation that was meaningfull and quite sharing, with two women whome I had never met before. This is something that rarely happens to me as I am so reticant in social situations and have such low self esteem, but I left feeling as if I had done well that evening.

  2. Hi Jessica, a great example of how to cope in an uncomfortable situation. As it happens quite often, a lot of the time fears and panic attacks are more based on what we ‘make up in our heads’ and not on reality itself.
    There is an old German saying: “As you shout into the forrest – the forrest will shout at you”. – poor translation 😦 – It sounds as if the Universe was looking after you sending a stray cat your way! Certainly a break through with the ladies afterwards!! A reason to celebrate.

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