Experiment #33: Picking up Drumsticks

improve anxiety

I recently re-acquired my drum kit following my divorce. As a result, I got to play the drums for the first time in over fifteen months.  In doing so, I realized playing drums is an amazing way to help deal with depression.

When I played the drums I became so focused my mind was prevented from wandering and ruminating. I was in what is known in psychological terms as being in Present Moment Contact. This concept works in a similar way to mindfulness. I have discussed this concept in more detail in a previous article of mine entitled Under Pressure.

When it comes to depression, it's incredibly useful to find a coping/distraction technique that works for you. I know that even when a successful distraction technique is found, a person may not always be able to engage with it. Example: I am sitting next to my drum-kit right now, as I'm writing this. However at this specific moment I can't bring myself to play them, not right now. But the drum kit is always there. I know there will be times when I will play them and they will help me.

Finding a positive distraction technique helps. We all know there are plenty of maladaptive ways to cope with depression, masking the issue. At the same time, remember: not being able to find a positive distraction technique should not be seen as a failure.

I like these words said by Stephen Fry, the British comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and activist:

stephen fry depression

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

drumming stress relief

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