Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist, starts his bestselling book The Road Less Travelled with a three word sentence: “Life is difficult.”
Dealing with everyday problems is difficult. Work, family, friends, appointments, exams, money, repairs, investments, relationships — all of these create their own kind of pressure and, if not dealt with reasonably well, can lead to depression.
This is what I do to deal with pressure – you can also do all of them on your own.
1. Take a break. I disconnect from whatever I’m doing. I stand up and go somewhere else, close my eyes and breathe deeply. Sometimes, I go for a short walk and have a snack in the park. Or have a snooze. Or draw something. It’s important to break away from your routine and rest your brain by doing something different. According to the old saying “a change is as good as a rest.”
2. Do yoga. When I was taking yoga lessons, we would stretch into unfamiliar positions, breathe noisily and gaze in a specific direction. These three things would take up all my energy and there was no time to think of anything else. When I was coming to the lessons, I would feel tired and my mind would be racing. That was all forgotten after an hour. My back pains were also gone; my muscles felt stronger; my joints were more flexible and I was happier and more relaxed.
3. Write. If it’s too intense to keep it inside, I write on paper whatever I think and feel. Sometimes I read what I write immediately afterwards, sometimes I wait for a while; sometimes I throw it in the bin. Writing makes things clearer and easier to digest. It takes things from my mind and puts them on paper.
4. Run. There’s no sport I find more satisfying than running. When I’m running, I feel such a strong a surge of adrenaline that I can only concentrate on breathing, keeping up the pace and avoiding obstacles in my path. It’s a good way to get your mind off things.
5. Do Tai Chi. This was recommended to me for back problems and I thought it’s some kind of martial art. Imagine my surprise when during my first Tai Chi lesson we sat on a chair and meditated with our eyes closed. It felt good. I went back several times and became more accustomed to the techniques, including what they call “healing sounds”. I’m now doing a bit of Tai Chi every day and I really like the simple things I have learned that balance my energy and help me become calmer.
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | September 26, 2013