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10 ways back to the light

We talk to James Rhodes, author of of ‘Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music’, and Matt Haig, author of ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ about the top ten strategies that helped them through the more difficult times

by Psychologies

Light

4 minute read

 

James Rhodes says:

 

Breathe

 

10 minutes of meditation a day works wonders.

 

Make a cuppa

 

I’d somehow got enough clarity and self-awareness to know that I was able now to do all I could to get well… It was terrifying and exciting all at once. Time maybe to have a cup of tea and listen to Chopin’s greatest nocturne – the one in C minor Op. 48/1.

Talk to anyone friendly

I like talking to strangers. I read a book about depression once where the protagonist was so lonely she used to join queues simply for the human interaction. And while things weren’t quite that bad yet, I did at times strike up conversations with people.

Do something creative (piano/writing for me, but there is an almost infinite choice for everyone)

Forgiveness and meditation, reading and writing, talking and sharing all help, creativity is, for me, one of the most profound ways through trauma.

Find some perspective

Remember you're a microscopic dot hurtling around the universe on a tiny planet in the middle of an unfathomable amount of space. 

Matt Haig says:

Slow down

Anxiety runs your mind at fastforward rather than normal ‘play’ speed, so addressing that issue of mental ‘pace’ might not be easy. But it works.

Go for a run and then do yoga (the golden bullet for my anxiety)

I was a yogaphobe, but am now a convert. It’s great, because unlike other therapies, it treats the mind and the body as part of the same whole.

Get off the internet

I might – if I am going through a neurotic patch – do a quick ego search, or check out any new Goodreads or Amazon reviews of my books or go on Google and type in a list of real or imaginary ailments to see which terminal disease I am currently suffering from.

Talk to people you love

Words. Comfort. Support. It took me more than a decade to be able to talk openly, properly, to everyone, about my experience. I soon discovered the act of talking is in itself a therapy. Where talk exists, so does hope.

Stare at the sky

Look at the sky. Remind yourself of the cosmos. Seek vastness at every opportunity, in order to see the smallness of yourself.

James Rhodes' book Instrumental (Canongate, £8.99) is available here.

Find out more about Matt Haig.

Image: Getty