What Is Your Brain Doing When You Feel Down?

In the past year, we’ve seen evidence of the unique power that the human brain has by helping patients relieve depression with meditation, as well as by helping them to understand life better, improve relationships and deal with complex pain.

When something’s wrong that isn’t quite right, or you notice some of the patterns of thinking — “Oh, my gosh, I’m the worst, but I’m the only one” — try this: “What’s my brain doing?” You might never even suspect the answer. Or if you do, there’s always another answer. Try to find it right now.

What is the feeling of the universe before I was born? How will the story end? What is the reason this happens?

How much time and space is in the sun? How fast does it rotate? Why are there two sides, and when will they meet? Do the planets revolve around the sun?

What are you eating now? What is it made of?   How did you bring this up? Why can’t you say what, even if it affects the people around you?

This is a great question if you’re hungry. It may be easy to forget to eat. But what if, after a few moments, you realize how much food you have? When exactly did the thought come up that you have some to spare? You have to be very specific if you want to remember what it was.

In short: if you’re curious about your emotions, thoughts, moods, memories, habits and the world, then look into your own brain, by asking yourself questions about what’s going on around you. The answer may be different than you expect.

To be more specific, here are four questions you’ll generally want to ask yourself on occasion:

What happened today? What can I learn from this? How can I live a more useful life? How can I think more clearly?   Is there a pattern in this? Could I have done something else instead?

If you have a question that’s particular to the subject you’re reading about, here’s a helpful list of related questions. For example, if you’re reading about Buddhism, ask yourself:

Does your understanding of Buddhism change if you start to understand that a sense of self is an illusion?

Do you understand the concept of karma? How much can you relate to it?

Do you think that there’s a way to understand the purpose and nature of our own lives?

For those things not mentioned, you might also find that it’s helpful to ask your friends, relatives and acquaintances — just find somewhere to sit and start asking them these questions. 

When you see that people have a similar response, it’s a good sign. It gives you some clue about how they can relate. They might not be the best people to ask for help, but they’re more likely to help you if they know what you’re going through. But in any case, you’ll almost always be surprised at how people relate and what they can offer.

Don’t forget to take time to ask yourself these questions as well.