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When you are caught in a depressive funk, it is important to get away from your thoughts.
Although these thoughts can seem inescapable, they’re not. We can escape them because our awareness is something we can control.
It takes effort to move our awareness where we want it, but with practice it gets easier.
Thoughts are concepts or things that come and go. We entertain them, experience them, see them, know them, and sometimes link them together into larger ideas or stories. Although it can seem we are our thoughts, we are not.
Struggling or wrestling with depressive thoughts only seems to strengthen them and entangle us in their embrace. Instead of wrestling, it is better to give up the fight and leave the ring. The question is often, how does a person do that? It can seem as if there is no way out.
Take a deep breath, either literally or in your imagination, and blow all your monkey-mind thoughts into a balloon with your magical helium breath. Make the balloon a specific color, maybe purple, orange, or red. Imagine your mind emptying and the thoughts flowing into the balloon.
Tie the balloon closed, take it outside and let it go. Watch it slowly drift up and away, carrying your stormy thoughts with it.
Fill and send off several balloons throughout the day if necessary to give yourself a rest from your thoughts. Enjoy the peace of being free from them, even if the peace is fleeting at first.
Awareness is not the same as our thinking mind. With our awareness we observe what goes on in our environment, and in our mind. By allowing your awareness to settle into your heart area, the tumultuous thoughts in the mind are left behind.
For those new to working with awareness, this means observing life from your heart. It does not mean somehow getting inside your heart and looking out. It is simply a matter of letting your attention, your ability to observe, rest at heart level.
The heart is an open, peaceful place to observe from. Although scientists know that the heart is a mind of its own, having its own neural network, it does not entertain thoughts. It seems to be more of a wise and knowing dimension of humanity where you can hang your awareness and chill-out.
If weather permits, put a hat on over your bed-head hair and take a walk. While you walk be attentive to the feel of your feet striking the sidewalk or ground. Put your focus on how your body feels while walking. Notice your breath, the muscles in your legs, rear, or lower back. Pay attention to the swinging of your arms. Listen to the sound of your shoes against the earth or the crunch of pebbles and leaves under your feet.
If necessary, think “left, right” as you move. Or, every time you take a step, crush one of your depressive thoughts underfoot and squish it into oblivion.
Anything you do to give yourself a respite from the quagmire in your mind will be of help. Sometimes, if the mind gets a breather from itself, it will even settle down and take on a more positive line of thought. Shifting awareness when depressed is not easy to do, but worth the effort.
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