2.1. Depression - A Signal for Developing a New Mental Skill
After the first exercise, try this technique for managing depression. By applying the first breathing exercise for depression (1.7. Blog No. 1), you’ve now instructed and changed your mental state. So, YOU as the observer may now experience a change in your mood in terms of feeling a little calmer and more relaxed. Be aware, this might not work flawlessly for you at this point, because your mind is still running on old thinking patterns, so it’s not able to carry out all the changes immediately.
Rest assured, this is a signal for developing the first mental ability: Patience − a golden mental skill. Patience is on everyone’s wish-list and it’s at the veryMost of us give up at the beginning. Patience and strategic work guarantee a successful breakthrough.
In this second exercise, you will find out how patience works and how simultaneously other mind skills develop and help tranquilize your mental state on an even deeper level. I am happy to tell you that we will reach that state naturally without any synthetic tranquilizers − often prescribed as treatment in therapy. The word therapy comes from the ancient Greek “therapeia” and means “to heal and find a remedy…” So, through practicing these natural tools, we are naturally “healing” our overall health and our mental fitness.
I am here to help you apply genuine “self-care” instead of funding the pharma tech companies with their “quick fix” in a jar of uppers and downers, which deliver no solution to our suffering. We need to realize that our own inner work along with our intuitive intelligence can create a healthy solution. Numbing our brain cells with pills should not be our answer to become healthy, functional individuals. That, of course, doesn’t mean that a therapist who’s concerned with your health cannot help.
2.2. Deal with Depression through a Systematic Approach
A systematic approach is a must and can help to deal with depression more effectively. In the last post I said that the goal for relieving ourselves from depression is mental clarity and in-depth understanding of our innate intelligence, and its power over the ego. To reach that goal we have to approach it systematically, and strategically. Remember, when I mentioned that we must have a fundamental understanding about certain rules of energy? That is the approach of dealing with mental issues.
You see, you cannot think straight if you’re anxious, fearful or worried. You must be “still” first and through the first exercise you gain “stillness” which puts your depressive mental state (anxiety, fear, worries) aside into the so-called storage room − your memory − which you don’t recall, because you are focused on your breathing, thus becoming still. In this approach, you are still, and this stillness grows slowly, but effectively into observance and patience.
Thus there’s space for clear thinking – the process of reaching mental clarity. The subtle energies like patience, stillness, attention, and observation are called mental energies, which must be understood and consciously put to work. So, our mental state, our understanding, gets a clearer picture.
This creates a clearer picture of why we are the way we are, and why we act the way we do. This work which is carried out during a breathing exercise is a process of achievement. Don’t worry about the outcome, work now with stillness and patience. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I will guide you through this and you will be victorious. But you must really want to go through the challenge of the depressed mental state, in order to say goodbye to its misery, forever.
Your treatment depends on your discipline and you can strengthen that by practicing patience through breathing.
2.3. How Attention kills Doubt
There is no person in this world who hasn’t dealt with doubt. Some of us suffer from it, and some of us use it strategically by paying attention to it. There will be times even after applying the breathing exercise successfully, that you might slip into a dreadful black hole and think to yourself: “this will never work.” Well, that is a typical feeling − your ego – the ruler of your mental state is screaming inside your head that its desires must be met. For example, expectations from the outside world, desires for material possessions, entertainment and money, longing for comfort and solace provided by others, and so on.
This can create a lot of doubt, frustration and confusion – all obstacles for clear thinking. The only natural way to manage these negative thoughts and impressions and reduce the mental pressure is to approach them with deep conscious breathing, stillness and patience. Making it through this difficult phase of dealing with your ego is of utmost importance. But how? In a moment of doubt, frustration or other negative thoughts, remember to:
- Focus your attention on your breathing (the fundamental part of your depression therapy).
- Remind yourself that YOU are – with your body and mind − an intelligent masterpiece.
- Feel the stillness permeating throughout your body and dwell in that stillness to develop patience.
Your essence − the unique consciousness of YOU − gives you the persistence to carry on, and the above approach gives you the strength for that persistence. The moment of stillness and the movement of breathing don’t leave any space for doubt. And intelligent as we are, we humans have the tendency to understand why things are the way they are, and always find the path of HOW TO KNOW and HOW TO DO better.
This urgency gives rise to the creative power within us – our higher intelligence. Through this approach, deeper insight is born, which clarifies all negative thoughts and emotions.
2.4. The Second Exercise - Stillness in the Dis-eased Mind
Free your mind! It’s easier said than done when so many have false beliefs, excessive desires and insatiable greed which have conditioned us. These conditions have struck deep roots in our minds and created a horrible disturbance, a dis-ease of mind, instead of peace of mind. Freeing the mind is every human beings’ aspiration, and for the conditioned, disturbed or diseased mind, it is a challenging process to achieve. Like it or not, all of us face and go through this process. How hard or easy we experience it, depends on our approach.
Through the breathing techniques and mental tools shown here, the achievement is natural and holistic. It shows that no matter the condition of your mind, becoming still can make a positive change to your experience of life. Let’s start:
The normal breathing frequency for an adult is approximately twenty breaths per minute. This results in a tidal volume (TV = a single breath) of half a liter of air, meaning 10 liters minimum of fresh air to enter your lungs. Focus your attention on your breath, and then take a slow conscious breath as follows:
- Inhale for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 6 seconds.
Repeat this rhythm for five minutes, three times a day with your eyes closed.
This breathing exercise reduces your breathing frequency down to six breaths per minute, instead of twenty. Breathing this way for five minutes will lower your heartbeat, your blood pressure, and will soothe your nervous system, which will reduce the stress hormone cortisol. This in turn balances and regenerates your immune and glandular system.
Hence, the impact of breathing creates a fundamental and crucial moment of quietness and harmony, allowing negative emotions such as fear, anxiety or doubt to decrease. A still mind is achieved through this breathing exercise. Do this exercise and access peace of mind, right now.
2.5. Quickly Improve Attention
You probably wonder why it is that you have a short attention span? So, find the answer by writing down what attracts your attention and for how long. Mostly, it’s the unimportant stuff that is of no significance to your health that attracts your attention. Excessive eating or drinking, watching TV for long hours, jumping from task to task, etc. are activities that entertain the mind, but cloud its potential and leave it without space for continuous focus. Hence the ability for attention is shortened.
There are two types of attention:
- Inward(endogenous) – focusing on the breath or any mental imagery.
- Outward(exogenous) – focusing on a material object (candle, picture, etc.).
To improve attention, you can start practicing on an object, but once you’ve mastered it, you need to move on to mastering the inward attention – which works with your mental fluctuations and the whole psyche. It helps you look within, observing your mental activities. The first two essential steps in which it helps are:
- The ability to observe stillness and build patience.
- The ability to maintain calmness and decrease depression.
Keep your attention on your breath and observe how thoughts come and go. Don’t get involved in their content, regardless how nice or ugly they are. This practice will help you witness your fluctuating thoughts. Above all, know that: YOU are your most honest and loving therapist.