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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been struggling with depression/anxiety off and on for the majority of my life. Within the past two years I have been having more frequent and intense episodes to the point where I've had to take meds and seek regular counseling.<br><br><br><br>
Something I really struggle with is the physical effects of depression on my body in terms of having chronic back pain, feeling exhausted all the time and requiring a massive amount of sleep, having sexual trouble, being very unflexible and so on. I know that medication is supposed to help with some of these, but I just feel very disconnected to my body.<br><br><br><br>
I know that exercise can me extremely helpful with this, and I even tried taking up a dance class this fall. Unfortunately I was SO out of touch with my body that I ended up injuring myself in the class and had to drop out.<br><br><br><br>
If anyone knows of any ways to help get in touch with the body, that is very gentle in nature, then I would love some advice.
 

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Yoga. I don't really do it much more, due to lazyness, but it's a great way to get "in touch with your body" and increase flexibility. You'll also learn to become aware of your breath and how it affects your physical well-being, which can be an eye-opener for many people. The yoga philosophy also goes very well with being veg*an.
 

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I agree with Indian Summer's suggestion of yoga, and I also suggest bellydancing. I know you said you had a bad experience with dancing before, but maybe if you're up to it you could try teaching yourself or taking a class to learn bellydance. I feel it's helped me get more in touch with my body, probably because in bellydancing you use controlled, isolated movements in different parts of your body. It helps to watch in a mirror and focus on moving each body part while keeping the rest still.<br><br><br><br>
Another thing to try is to take the time to stretch each morning and evening. When you wake up, do simple stretches to awaken your body - reach up to the sky, bend over to touch the floor, and try other easy stretches. You will feel the muscles stretch (helping get in touch with your body), gain some flexibility, and start/end your days off nicely. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all of your advice. I'm lucky that in terms of food I do a very good job of taking care of myself. As for the yoga, I've actually had a similar experience with it as with the dance class. I went to a class hoping I'd be able to leave feeling good, and I ended up be pointed out in front of everyone for my "bad technique", and the teacher tried to "fix" me into the right positions and I ended up hurting myself. That experience pretty much scared me away from yoga. I've thought of finding a beginner's class around but I don't really have money for a class right now, as with the belly dancing.<br><br><br><br>
I've actually thought about the stretching and breathing, and think that's a really good idea. I wonder if anyone knows of any good websites that show/teach breathing and stretching exercises?
 

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I find that going for a walk in a park or on a trail often helps me - I feel connected with the earth, and I'm moving my body so I'm quite aware of how it is doing. I also like to just sit up against a tree and take stock of how I'm doing, just be with myself. Physically, walking may be a good place to start, but on other levels, meditation might help. Best of luck<br><br><br><br>
Here's a website that might be helpful in exercising areas of your body at a pace that you can do on your own: <a href="http://www.arthritis.ca/tips%20for%20living/exercise/joint%20exercises/select%20an%20exercise/default.asp?s=1" target="_blank">http://www.arthritis.ca/tips%20for%2...efault.asp?s=1</a>
 

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See about getting some yoga videos. I know a lot of people say it's best to have a teacher there with you in person to guide you so you don't get injured, but I think you just have to know your limits and modify the poses so they'll work for you. I record the programs on tv, and I'm sure I'm still getting some of the same benefits that I would get an any class.. more flexibility, strength, and I'm definitely more in touch with my body. I'm sure there are things I'm not doing right, but hey.. I feel good! I've dealt with major anxiety and depression the last few years, and I know how awful the backaches and exhaustion can be! Yoga has helped SO much.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck finding something that works for you!
 

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Pilates might be something to try. Also swimming, if you can go to the pool at a quiet time. I like the feeling of floating in water and my whole body stretching, and it doesn't put stress on joints so it might be good for you.
 
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i know its not excersise as such, but could you perhaps look into getting a aromatherapy massage or two on a regular basis? i've had a few, and they really help me feel centred, grounded, relaxed, more focussed and alert, while at the same time calm, and i sleep like a log the night after i have one, lol.<br><br><br><br>
they'll work the tension out of your body, so you'll feel more relaxed and less mangled ( i hold a lot of tension in my jaw, neck, and shoulders, and go there wound very tight with almost no visable neck and shoulders by my ears, lol, and come out feeling like my shoulders are round my knees and my head is on a string, lol) and the aromatherapy can be tailored for a healing effect- different smells inspire relaxation, clarity of thought, warmth, etc.<br><br><br><br>
if it seems a bit expensive, you could focus on one area and get a back massage, like i do (covers neck and shoulders too!) or see if you could get it cheaper by having supervised students do it. as a once a month treat, even, it makes such a difference, something to look forward to, a pampering treat for your hard work in keeping on at the task of getting better, and for me, it also served as a way to get comfortable being touched by people- human contact is a big thing in maintaining good mental health, apparently.
 

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I second the suggestion of swimming, especially if you can find a pool that's relatively warm. Aquafit is a good idea, too, if you're comfortable in the water but not a strong swimmer.
 

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if you didn't like your first yoga class because of the teacher, etc, try taking from a different teacher in a different style.
 

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I also encourage you not to give up yoga because of your bad experience. If you can't afford a class, buy a beginning yoga/meditation video, something that concentrates on easy postures and breathing. Yoga is all about the mind/body/spirit connection that it seems like you're looking for.
 

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I also want to say don't give up on yoga. It has helped me so much with anxiety and depression. Get a dvd in a bargain bin somehwere for like 5 bucks and it'll be your new best friend. Be sure to get a dvd to beginners though!
 
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