24 May Think Sun and Rise Up From Depression!
This is my story on how the sunlight helped me rise and shine when I went through depression at a very young age.
June 2008, Kerala, India:
It was during summer vacation in a quaint cottage where my grandparents lived when I first encountered a strange temptation to go out every day and sleep on a rock that overlooked a farm. Behind me was a road that led to a temple about 50 meters away, so I had all the freedom to lie down, undisturbed, and enjoy the warmth of the sun. For reasons unknown to me, it would make me return home happy and rejuvenated.
Living with my grandparents was not easy. There was barely any electricity, every one had to work really hard to get water, and spiders would be all over the place. As a germaphobe, I would barely get myself to eat there. And at the age of 12 I didn’t even know what germophobia was. I would get sick a lot with the stomach flu and I would get depressed when my family bullied me for not trying to fit in, when all my mind wanted to do was to get the hell out of there. At that age it was even tougher for me to express myself even though I knew that something was wrong within me.
I felt like I was drowning with a heavy weight in my heart, and something about looking at nature: the trees and cows, with the sun shining so brightly on them, helped me drastically! Little did I know, that what attracted me to lie in the sun and unintentionally healing my depression, was an innate instinct from my body.
Something within me told me to continue to do the thing that elevated my mood during my depression.That instinct to go out and enjoy the warmth of the sun was not a fluke! And I thank my stars for listening to it, because hidden behind my actions was a great motive: Depression can reduce considerably by visualizing or going out in the sun!
Many people cannot come out of depression due to lack of sunlight. It may sound weird but it is actually true. Researchers have found that lack of sunlight decreases a chemical called serotonin, which is an important compound your brain needs to make you feel happy. And sunlight is the most abundant and the easiest anti-depressant you will find.
So, in the early morning or in the evening before the sunset, try to receive your daily dose of bright light by either standing or walking in the sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes every day. Scientific studies have proven that this bright light works faster than anti- depressive medication. And that is one of the reasons why we are using sunlight in the visualization technique for healing depression. Research studies have found that our body has the ability to produce serotonin when we just imagine that sunlight is spreading throughout our body.
In my case, I was lucky enough to actually move towards the sun. It has undoubtedly helped me during troubled times and I’m really happy that I continued to do so do.
Our instincts are very powerful. But it has been re-wired with the growth of technology. With everything so instant, it’s tough for us to go back to our bodies and listen to it. That’s why we push even when we are stressed out, and that is going against your body’s warning to rest and chill out. Some of us develop bad habits like staying up late when we are teenagers, where we are going against the bodies need for sleep, and then the brain gets re-wired and our wake-sleep cycles are tossed out or seriously damaged.
Listening to our instincts is extremely important. That’s why I was happily surprised when I realized that I listened to my instinct at a very young age. If you are depressed, your first instinct is going to ask you to talk to someone about it. Don’t fight this instinct, it can really make a difference between recovery and regression. However, if you give into hiding your depression, then your negative instincts will kick in.
Take our Depression Course and get on your way to recovery.
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.