BEATING DEPRESSION THROUGH PLAY
DEPRESSION – It is like a cancer of the mind. It’s something that many of us hope we’ll never have, or experience. And yet, recent statistics say that in the UK alone between 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 adults (depending on your data source) will experience depression at some point in their life.
Depression is word that we are very familiar with these days, it is both a noun and a verb. And whilst it quite commonly used to explain if someone’s mood seems lower than normal, it is also a description with serious consequences for some people’s well-being. Depression is also a word that carries stigma and taboo. If you did have, or have had, how many people would or have shared in that knowledge? You may have felt the need to share your diagnosis with your nearest and dearest, but how far out in your circles of friends and acquaintances did you let the news leak? Did you make it common knowledge amongst your Facebook friends? Did work know? The chances are that if you have ever felt depressed, or if / when you do, you will either not acknowledge your thoughts and feelings as depression, and if you do, you will not let many people know?
Why do we hide depression? In the main part it is because we fear being seen as weak. That we couldn’t cope. That there is something wrong with us that other people don’t seem to get.
In this way, and because of the society we have created, and to some extent, the society we are still allowing to continue (although there are of course many of us who are working tirelessly to reverse the stigma and embrace the power of vulnerability!) people with depression have a tendency to think and feel isolated (also key components of the disease and condition), and so begin to act more and more in that way. Thus leading to a self-perpetuating cycle of depression, thoughts of isolation, acts of isolation, and increased evidence for more depressive thoughts and feelings.
So what can we do to help ourselves, and others who maybe in the midst of depression, on the verge, or back on the up?
Fortunately there has been a great amount of research completed in understanding both the brain and the mind at times of depression, and one of the most exciting discoveries about dealing with and even curing depression comes from PLAY.
The key fact to remember and take from this is that;
THE OPPOSITE OF PLAY ISN’T WORK, IT’S DEPRESSION!!!
So maybe ‘Mars’ have had it right all these years…Work, Rest and Play (Keeps Depression Away, or at least, Keeps Depression At Bay).
Play is an essential part of the human experience. It allows us to use our imagination, its occupies our conscious brain, and in doing so allows our sub-conscious to get solutions and ideas, messages and information that we can then easily retrieve and act on without the conscious blocking it all the time. Play also allows us to share and connect with others, another essential part of recovery from, and prevention of depression. As human beings we thrive in the company of others, and from the shared experience and human contact. Play allows all these things to happen. And if you feel sceptical, just watch children in a classroom, or at a party. Do any of them look depressed?
Depression is a disease of the adult mind, and by channelling back into our own inner child, we can help ourselves beat this disease.
As children we are told to go play all the time, and yet as adults it is something that we rarely do. And maybe this is in part due to the fact that we rarely saw our own parents play, so our idea of ‘an adult’ has been created as someone who no longer plays. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay this way. What if the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children would be to start playing again. By not playing as adults, I believe we are doing ourselves the greatest injustice of all. Our creativity and imagination, our capacity for doing purposeless things is exactly what we need to be doing to re-energise ourselves after a long a stressful day. Not just sitting in front of the TV and numbing our thoughts, whilst potentially eating our feelings.
If I told you that something as simple as learning to, and practising play would reduce the likelihood of you getting cancer, and possibly prevent or cure it, would you do it? My guess is you would gt on the floor, or around the table with your kids and friends and play! What an easy win against such a destructive disease. So why not treat your mind and brain with the same respect and allow it to do what it does best…PLAY!
Life will inevitably throw challenges our way, that will test our resolve, our love, and our very foundations. Learning to play now, in this moment, is about developing a life skill that will help you through those times; before, during and after. By adopting a practise of play, your could reduce your chances of becoming a 1 in 4 statistic. It seems like an easy win to me.
And if you are struggling to allow yourself to play, I invite you to spend a moment and think back to your own childhood. Look through the window of your family home and see yourself there as a child. What were you doing, and what were you dreaming of doing, what where you creating. Who was that person who had limitless imagination in front of them. That’s where you’ll find your inspiration for today. That’s where you’ll tap into your type of play, and that’s where you’ll find happiness, confidence and contentment.
If you would like to find out more about play and it’s role in combating depression, or if you’d like help in getting back in touch with your inner child and gaining permission to play, then get in touch today and arrange your free consultation.
Wishing a happy, confident and playful day!