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3 Steps To Healing Depression

The Art of Healing Depression



When a hurting part of yourself is activated, you will leave the present moment and become trapped in the isolation and fixed understandings of your disconnected cognitive self. Automatic survival responses take over. This break in inner relatedness to your emotional body can easily devolve into depression.


Abandoning your emotional/somatic self was probably unavoidable at some earlier point when no positive recognition or regard was available internally or externally. However, the dissociation process can become habitual long after a threat has been removed or after you have developed other resources. 


The symptom of depression represents the return of a neglected self, and the expressive arts can provide a ritual space where this lost and lonely self can be welcomed and integrated.


The legacy of conditioned self-abandonment is then replaced by a process of inner connection.


A succinct formula for identifying the neglected aspect of self is to ask yourself: “If only I….” Or, “If only he or she… I would be fine.” 


Returning a neglected self to your relational self is a crucial step in healing depression.


Three steps are helpful here:

1. Find the Location: Locate the somatic location of the neglected part. Where do you feel discomfort in your body? Check for tenseness in your body. You might also see an area that is caved in or that is protected by crossed arms. Once you find the discomfort in your body, you can draw, write or collage from this place.


2. Awareness in Present Time: By somatically locating your neglected aspect, you bring it into the present to be witnessed and cared for. This reduces generalized anxiety. This is because when an experience has no place to rest in your body, it is free-floating. A long-neglected self feels overwhelming. Yet, once it is located, identified and named, it can be personified and loved. Then, it can grow, change and integrate.


3. Identify an Age. The somatic self has many ages and identities. Neglected selves are frozen in time and are usually experienced as out-of-control feelings in the body, such as fear, sadness, helplessness, and anger, that must be ignored, denied, repressed or disassociated.


The aim is to bring love to these neglected parts of self tenderly, and this can be done by letting them express themselves through art and writing! 


The Heaviness of Depression


Depression can feel so heavy. We all have unhealed emotional complexes that stem from emotional overwhelm in the past. We can forgive ourselves for not knowing how to handle emotional overwhelm, yet unprocessed emotional imprints leave a lot of residual heaviness in the body


We usually try to resist or modify our emotional pain through thinking. To feel our emotions deeply, however, it is necessary to let go of logic. All logical thinking about your depression is a form of resistance. This is why spontaneous creativity is so helpful.


Daily spontaneous art and writing activities provide a non-logical way to release emotional pain. Spontaneous creativity is an invitation to surrender to whatever wants to move through you for the day.


Even after a 15-minute creative processing session, it is common to feel quite "high!" And the more bits and pieces of old accumulated emotional energy you express and release, the lighter you will feel!


Sometimes, when you release emotional pain, you will notice that the pain returns or continues. This is because there are many more layers to express and release. Yet, each layer invited to express is always followed by a lighter feeling


In a depression, we cling to the smallness in ourselves, resisting the greatness in ourselves. By taking devoted creative action every day for the one year, you will experience a rise in self-trust and an opening to a positive vision for your life.


Your Higher Self, the composite of all your higher, most inspired feelings, has almost unlimited capabilities. Once you clear the negative thought programs that stem from your unprocessed emotional pain, you can open up to more loving relationships, new financial opportunities, and even physical healing!



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