Tag Archive: depression

Whilst I was on the second half of my Masters Degree in Design Practice @GlyndwrUniversity last year I started to research different ways of enabling people to release stress, anxiety and trauma in a non verbal way.

As an Artist I felt my focus was for things to be very hands on, and I ran silent workshops with those that attended being guided to work with clay, Mark making and colour, to connect, express and release emotion. At one point they were asked to close their eyes to enhance this connection between the medium, and their hands.

‘touch was identified as being one of the first sensory responses to develop in humans’ (Montagu, 1971)

Stroking cats and dogs etc is often a great stress reliever, we connect with the life force of the animal (hence why stroking a furry rug is not as effective), it’s breath, it’s emotions, and when we are rewarded with the sound of purring or the wag of a tail this helps to create a great emotional connection between us.

Animals can offer us unconditional love, and we all need a bit of that don’t we? They don’t question us, expect things from us, and are usually incredibly loyal. This can be a true bless g to many, especially those that suffer with anxiety and depression.

So grab a cat (not literally of course) or dog, stroke a neighbours or one in the street if you don’t have one, and feel the power of that connection!!

They were definitely sent to the earth to be our best friends!! ☺ ♥

Today I watched an advert on TV created by ‘Save the Children’ and it depicted two small children who were living in war torn countries, suffering physical harm, terrified and alone, losing everything around them that made them feel safe, and I started to think about ‘Maslows Hierarchy of Needs’ and how this related to the lives of these children compared to many of us that live in peaceful and affluent countries such as the UK.

We take so much for granted. Our most basic need is the physiological one of having enough food and water to stay alive…. How many people in the world struggle to meet this need?

The next step up the ladder is to meet our safety need, for us to have shelter, and to have a safe place to live, eat and sleep. How many people in war torn countries etc lose this basic requirement?

If those needs are met we can move up to the scale of getting our love and social needs met. To have a family? To have people around you that love you (and one doesn’t necessarily link with the other of course). To just feel loved! This to many is a luxury, especially if they spend their lives trying to meet the needs of the two lower levels. Or maybe they have family that loves them and that’s what helps them cope with having a lack of food and being homeless? None of it is black and white,there are always shades of grey.

Self esteem needs are so important in life, knowing and believe we are good enough! Feeling worthy and worthwhile. This is something we can struggle to feel if our love and social needs haven’t been met in our lives, But not impossible. This is when we need to learn to love ourselves and take care of ourselves, because we deserve it!!

Self actualisation needs, well the is the peak of the pyramid. This is where we are ‘supposed’, to aspire. The level where we aim to be, and to achieve, the best we are capable of being!! This is very difficult if you have no food on the table, ne bed to sleep in, you are constantly worrying about your safety, and/or you feel unloved and worthless? It’s a bit like trying to put icing on a cake that never rose in the oven?

Going back to the child In the war torn country, who is most possibly traumatised by what they have seen, feels scared, lost, is worrying about shelter, food, family etc…. How much harder is it for them to become this self actualized person compared to those of us that live in peace, in safety, with three meals a day and a roof over our heads?

The reason for this post is to encourage readers to assess and review their situations, particularly if depression is a factor in their lives at present. It very much helps me to look at this child and to see her struggles and to realise my attitude of gratitude, and just how fortunate I am that I’m dealing with the top three levels of the hierarchy of needs and not the bottom two!!

Try to be grateful wherever you can. I know it’s hard when depression puts that big black hat over your eyes and you can’t see a way out., but just take a moment to look around you, at what you have in your life at this moment (not what you haven’t) and thank God for those small things, as the attitude of gratitude is a transformational thing!! ☺ ♥