Thoughts are constantly streaming through our minds which in turn can impact on how we feel and how we behave. These thoughts can be friendly positive thoughts or hostile, critical and negative ones. It makes sense therefore that we would try to reduce the negative ones as much as possible. Just as we wouldn’t allow any stranger to just enter our house and take over, we need to be just as vigilant with our thoughts. We need to take more control over what we allow into our minds and what we prohibit from entering. We have much more choice than we realise – and therefore rather than just reacting to every thought we begin to take more control over our mind. Slowly we begin to realise that just because we think something it doesn’t mean it’s true!
By examining our thoughts as they flow through our mind, we begin to increase our awareness of how our minds are focused. Then we begin to allow these thoughts – whether they are positive or negative, exciting or boring – to just flow through our mind stream without reacting or responding. This is the basis of mindfulness.
For many people experiencing depression they can create an endless cycle of ‘If onlys’ and ‘what ifs’ in their mind. There is an underlying non-acceptance of the past as they constantly think how their lives would be different ‘If only I hadn’t taken his advice’, ‘If only I hadn’t behaved in that way’. This all leads to feelings of anger, hopelessness and mistrust of others. Accepting how things are right now- not as we wish they were, but as they actually are – is quite a radical step. It can however mark the starting point from which we can come to terms with past events and begin to move forward.
Just as there are many paths leading to feeling depressed, there are also many routes out of it. We don’t get depressed as a result of an adverse event or experience – but in how we respond to it. When our emotional needs go unmet this can lead to considerable mental distress and depression. If we were to consider depression as a means of drawing our attention to an underlying problem, we must ask ourselves what is the message my feelings of depression are trying to tell me. Counselling can provide a great support as we explore what this underlying message might be. Counselling helps to find contentment and peace of mind through fostering a healthy, non-judgemental, loving relationship with oneself.
Next week we will continue to look at ways we can deal with depression.
SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. email@example.com To make an appointment call 064 6636416.
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.