How to Use Your 5 Senses to Fight Depression
Experts always suggest things like talking to someone, finding support or taking medication. But sometimes these options are unrealistic, sometimes they are not enough alone, and sometimes they simply aren't immediate enough.
There are things we can all do on our own to help relieve sadness or depression by using our own five senses.
1. Sight. Seeing something that evokes postitive emotions or feelings of comfort can easily lift your spirits. Do you have a favorite place you like to go for walks or sightseeing? This also helps get you out of the house and perhaps get syou some fresh air. However with depression, you might not feel like going out at all. How about a movie with imagery that is pleasing to the eye? It might sound silly, but whenever I get depressed but just feel like lying around, I like to watch movies with snow in them, like Christmas movies. There is something so comforting to me about watching snow fall, so if there isn't any falling outside my window, I find a movie in which there is a lot of snow. That might not work for everyone, but you get the idea. Say you love nature, but are too depressed to get outside; watch a movie that has a lot of settings in nature. That imagery will evoke positive feelings for you.
2. Touch. Touch has been known to have the power to heal, and on the flip side, a lack of physical touch has been known to have a negative impact on health and development. If you are down in the dumps, a hug can work wonders. Depression can give you the urge to be secluded and avoid people, but try and fight that urge and go get a hug! Or perhaps curl up with a furry four-legged friend. Animals have proven to aid in relaxation and lowering blood pressure. On the other hand, using your sense of touch doesn't have to involve physical affection. It can be as simple as cozying up with a soft blanket or sitting on your favorite comfy couch. It's all about using comfort to evoke positive emotions.
3. Taste. Now I don't mean go stuff your face with ice cream and chocolate! You'll just wind up depressed over your figure. Again I am talking about using this sense to bring comfort. Think about it, which flavors or foods do you associate with comfort? For me a cup of hot coffe, tea or hot cocoa always gives me a boost.
4. Sound. Sound is very closely connected to our brains. I'm sure you know how a particular song can bring up vivid memories and strong emotions. When you're down, it might be tempting to throw on sad music and howl while performing overdramatic hand motions (seen Bridget Jone's Diary?), but that will only feed your depression. Listen to songs that uplift you. In addition, comforting sounds don't have to be music at all. Perhaps the sound of rain is comforting for you. With today's technology, you can create just about any kind of sound you want to help bring you some comfort through sound CD's or sound machines. Another option would be to put a small indoor fountain in your room.
5. Smell. Smell is another sense that is closely tied to our memories and emotions. Aromatherapy is not just for new agers; scents have been proven to affect moods in different ways. Scents like lavender and vanilla are known to aid in relaxation. As I said before, it's also about comfort. Which scents do you associate with comfort? Chances are you can find a candle or air freshener in that scent. If depression is causing fatigue, you can use citrus scents to energize your mind and body.
The best thing about using these methods to ease your depression is they offer you practical tools. Mental and emotional struggles can make you feel out of control, which often adds to your distress. But having go-to techniques like these gives you practical tools to pull out whenever you need help. That will make you feel more in control of your mental health, which will inevitably boost your mood.
*This is probably where I should say that I am not a medical professional, and if you are feeling suicidal or depressed, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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