Sometimes we need to take a slightly different look at things. Doing this is particularly important when we’re feeling depressed or anxious. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the funk of a low mood that we can be in danger of loosing sight of things. When you’re swamped in a fog of depression, or when there’s a black cloud of anxiety lingering overhead, just keeping an eye on the tomorrow can seem like an impossibility. If you’re feeling like this you shouldn’t beat yourself up. A sense of malaise, heaviness, wading through treacle, and always feeling half-asleep are completely normal experiential side effects of suffering from a mental health condition. However, alongside treatment from your doctor, there are lots of things you can do to try, however temporarily, shake off these feelings. Practical Depression recommends getting a sense of perspective, literally.
Pick a big hill and walk up it. Sounds simple, but it really is an incredibly liberating and calming experience. Today we tend to view hills as entirely avoidable, a-bit-to-muddy, kind-of-thing-your-parents-would-like nuisances. Practical Depression is of the opinion that this view should be challenged! They offer a great bit of exercise when you’re feeling blue, exposure to natural light, wind, and fresh air (all excellent stimulants), and the ultimate reward of a fantastic view and a sense of perspective (in a literal and figurative sense). There’s is something really wholesome about looking down at stuff from somewhere really high. The Romantic poets spent most of the 18th and 19th centuries trying to figure out what this feeling was. Unfortunately Wordsworth, Keats, and Coleridge later they hadn’t made a huge amount of progress. We’re content with the explanation that a good view never hurt anyone. And, if you’re depressed, the results will be quite to the contrary – a visual sense of perspective is bound to improve the way you are thinking and feeling. The chance to survey a vast scene offers a really unique opportunity to step outside of your negative thoughts and feeling, even if only for a short while.
To be fair to the Romantics they did come up with the idea of the ‘sublime’. They used this term to try and express ‘that feeling’ you get when you’re at the top of the hill looking down, the feeling of being overawed by the power, beauty, and immense scale of nature. That’s not quite what we’re talking about though. We’re talking, more specifically, about creating a short period of calm where you can become disconnected from the demons and black dogs of the everyday. You can achieve this by just looking down. No sublimity necessary. Just look, breath slowly, and try to place as much distance between you and your problems as there is between you and the view. And, as always, there’s no equipment necessary. Don whatever trainers you have and start climbing. A sense of perspective is a hill away.