The title of this blog is How You Can Cure Your Depression in Five Minutes. The first thing you must be thinking when reading this title is. “Is this a gimmick. How can you cure depression in five minutes.”
Actually this talk is based on a NY Times article published on April 13, 2018 titled “How Sky Diving Cured My Depression.” In the article, the author shares how one experience of skydiving allowed him to release his obsessive thoughts and worries.
How can this be? Well, it seems that researches around the world are currently studying the effectiveness of adventure sports in combating anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Here’s how it works. When a person is depressed, his or her brain is invaded by automatic negative thoughts which which create neural pathways in the brain that make the negative thoughts stronger and stronger. You can think of these neural pathways as being like grooves in an LP vinyl record.
The way out of this negative thinking is to focus on the moment, and when you’re skydiving you can only focus on the here and now. If you forget to pull the parachute release..,. Thus, according to author and counselor Brian Stogsdill, action sports like skydiving are a very effective way to rewire the brain’s focus back into the present moment. That is why when I start to feel low or anxious, I hop on my bike and climb a hill called Rocky Butte. By the time I get to the top of the 350 foot climb, all I can think about is my next breath.
According to the author of the article, skydiving was a particularly effective in reducing his anxiety. He said, “Skydiving changed my relationship with fear which had become a regular part of my daily life while I was depressed.
I was afraid of reaching out to others and getting rejected., But do know what is scarier than rejection? Jumping out of awn airplane.
I was afraid to take risks. But you know what is scarier than failure? Jumping out of an airplane.
I was afraid to talk to anyone about my depression, but do you know what is scarier than being vulnerable? Jumping out of an airplane.”
He concludes, “I survived the scariest thing I can imagine doing, and now I feel like there’s nothing left in this world to be afraid of.”
Of course, if you experience chronic depression or anxiety, one skydive is not going to change your life, even though the writer said, “After my sky dive, I was able to think clearly for the first time in months.” However if you introduce present moment activities into your life and practice them on a regular basis your brain will start to change for the better. It’s interesting that the author says that after his experience of skydiving he was able to think clearly. That’s exactly what happens to me after an intense bike ride. My mind is clear, as if someone had swept away my mental cobwebs.
So, the takeaway from all of this is that to decrease your symptoms of depression or anxiety, you should get the state of flow—a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. (On screen) This may be any athletic activity, playing musical instrument, painting or drawing, riding a motorcycle (for adrenaline), solving a Sudoku puzzle, or watching your favorite series on television or Netflix. In this way, you can escape being stuck in your negative thinking and return to the hear and now.