Men and Depression

Men and DepressionScience is just now discovering that men experience just as much depression as women… they just manifest it differently (LA Times Source). In a nutshell:  men get irritable and women get ‘down in the dumps’ and/or ‘weepy.’ While this news may bring more attention to men’s mental health issues, which is a good thing, depression, no matter how it manifests, is a smokescreen. What is needed is to look below chronic irritability, lethargy, or weepiness for the painful, but healthy, feelings of grief, anger and fear that lie beneath.

Over my years of working with clients, I’ve often seen how chronic irritability is a tip off anger has not been fully experienced. Fully experiencing emotion means you actually are present for and allow emotion to move through your body.  In my book, Emotional Medicine Rx: Cry When You’re Sad, Stop When You’re Done, Feel Good Fast, (Available on Amazon, BN and this website,) I talk about how this can be as brief as 3 minutes!

The trick is to let your body lead.

Letting your body lead involves using your awareness to locate the feelings of irritability and/or weepiness in your body…then (after finding a safe place) drop in to look for and allow the underlying emotion to move through limbs, chest, throat, guts until a cycle is completed and you are left in a state of well being.  (Remember 3 minutes or less, I’m not kidding! Your body is not neurotic.  It will be finished with any emotional upset way before your mind is.)

Of course there’s a bit of a catch here.  Letting your body lead you through sad, mad, or
scared feelings means noticing bodymindfully what you need to do to cooperate with the brief movement of said emotion through your body.  Letting your body lead means stopping when your body is done with any brief emotional flow. This requires awareness and practice!

After your body is done, if  you focus on how relieved your body feels (for another three minutes or 10 breaths) you can watch depression dissolve as subtle or not so subtle waves of feeling good move through your body.

I know this may sound or seem scary, but healthy emotional experience can really be this brief.  More importantly, it can short circuit chronic irritability and chronic depression while restoring your vitality.

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