Impression – expression = depression

On a recent weekend retreat, our teacher shared this formula. I love frameworks and formulas. Let’s break down what these three mean.

Impression: This is bringing awareness to how you are being impacted physically and mentally. There are many external events going on everyday. They are making you feel different feelings. Noticing how they are “impressed” upon you is the first step. For example, how has the election made you feel? How were those comments that someone said to you at work making you feel? We rarely take a moment to bring awareness to those feelings. Tuning in, bringing your attention to them is the first the first step of the formula.

Expression: This is being able to express how those external moments are making you feel. You now are aware of your feelings, now you must share them. This ideally can be done with another person. This can also be done through writing, journaling, or speaking to a therapist. Notice here that if you are highly tuned in to how you’re feeling, with no outlet, that will increase your depression. Using our election example, if you were unable to share how you were feeling with others than you would most likely be upset. How many times have you been playing a scenario over and over in your head, and once you share it with someone else, it calms you down? Also, it’s probably not the best if you are only expressing things you are not in tune with. That feels like anger. If you find yourself here you need to do more work to understand why you’re feeling the way you are.

Depression: This is self-explanatory. Work to bring awareness to your feelings. But then express them. When sharing this concept to a friend after retreat she mentioned another key addition to this formula. The impression and expression play off each other. For example, if you’re speaking to a therapist about an issue you have, that is bringing awareness to how external events are leaving an impression on you. That then can also “lower depression”.

How am I going to use this moving forward?

In my morning meditation and before I go to bed I reflect on this formula. How am I feeling? Have I been able to express those feelings? Am I in tune with how external events are impacting me? Do I have an outlet to share those thoughts with? Ideally for me, another human being is preferred vs journaling or writing. Many of my own mental breakthroughs have come from sharing ideas with friends, hearing their perspective, which then shapes my own.

I do know finding people can be hard to find. If you’d ever like me to introduce you to like minded folks, please fill out this form. For those who have been reading since this past summer, you’ll notice this is the same form I shared to help folks set up virtual coffee chats. 

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