I’ve heard a couple versions of this tip for depression. The premise is that depression makes us treat ourselves pretty awfully. We avoid bathing, we have a mean, critical voice in our heads, we isolate and blame ourselves for things we can’t control.
Treating yourself poorly hurts, and it gets in the way of feeling better – but it’s really really hard to change. So here we’re aiming for just a glimpse of what it would be like to be kinder to yourself.
It’s a simple tip – think of someone that you’ve always felt tenderness for, someone with whom you have a relatively simple, loving relationship. Younger relatives are good candidates. Imagine that it’s them who feels the way you feel, and write them a letter.
What would you tell your younger sibling, your childhood friend, your favorite aunt if she were mired in depression?
When it works, this exercise helps my mind to rest. It lets me spend time in a loving place and helps me glimpse a kinder, gentler interpretation of my suffering – even if I can’t always stick to it.
Here’s to your health.