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Depression affect your body

Depression and the body

 Many people who are anxious or depressed feel out of contact with their bodies. When we become frightened, anxious, depressed, or distressed, we contract emotionally and also we contract physically. We shrink a little and tighten up. When we are feeling depressed, our heads drop and our chest area becomes more concave: we slouch a bit. We may not make proper eye contact. We will probably walk a bit more slowly, or do less physically. These contractions, although fairly minor, can accumulate, especially over time, and stop the healthy flow of pleasure, excitation, and feeling within our bodies. We then start to feel outof-touch with ourselves, and also with others. Our ability to communicate with other people and to express our emotions is decreased. These types of physical reaction can actually enhance our depressive symptoms. If these reactions turn into patterns that become persistent and chronic, then, even if our external circumstances change for the better, our bodies have become habituated into these contracted patterns. It then becomes very difficulty to feel genuinely better, as we have become “stuck” somatically as well as emotionally. Effective therapeutic work with anxiety and depression may mean looking at these habitual and contracted body-holding patterns, and trying to work with them also. Trying to cure depression just by changing our thought patterns makes things very difficult, even almost impossible, as our physical energy levels are still quite depressed, or even blocked by our muscular tensions. This is where some knowledge of body-orientated psychotherapy or “somatic psychology” can be very useful. Working with the body can help the person release some of these blocks, find some of their stored or repressed energy, and start to use this creatively to change their thinking patterns and behaviour.

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