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June 21, 2020

Body Language in Depression

Is being sad really bad? Nope! Sadness is a normal human emotion and isn’t really bad as we all assume. Sadness is just an outcome of misfortunes, unfulfilled expectations, broken dreams, disappointments, separations, failures or losses. Sometimes, inability to handle (increasing) stress also leads to sadness, lethargy and fatigue.

Actually, sadness saves a great amount of physical and mental energy by keeping an individual inactive, isolated and grounded over a short amount of time. The individual would need same energy in near future for re-starting to act or react upon something engaging and promising.

Body language of a sad person speaks loudly to eyes of an observer. Such person appears detached from outer world and disinterested in what is happening around. Person’s body posture appear loose, crooked, saggy or requiring some king of physical support to keep body straight and upright.

The outer edges of the person’s lips turn downward, no attention is given to others and no prolonged eye contact is made. Extreme and expression of sadness is weeping and crying out loudly to seek immediate caressing, consoling, safety and social support.

Actually, a sad person seeks social support and stimulation to get rid of sadness. Motivation, hope, humor, (verbal) promise and new opportunities drive away sadness and bring a person back in action, interaction and physical movements. In short, negative social stimulation(s) brings sadness and positive social stimulation(s) drives it away. However, depression can’t be driven away as easily as sadness.

When sadness descends into deeper level of a person’s life for a prolonged time then it turns into depression. Unlike the short-term sadness, depression is a mental disorder. It essentially disables a person. Severe and prolonged depression makes permanent damages to body, mind, brain and social rapport. Untreated acute depression (‘clinical depression’) can result in suicide. Hence, depression shouldn’t be taken lightly at all

What exactly leads to depression? Prolonged social isolation, childhood (sexual) abuse, dysfunctional family, lack of a good company, guilt, trauma, lack of positive social interactions, oppression, recurring failures, failed ambitions, deceased intimate person(s), broken heart, rejections, failed relationships, failed ventures, negative self-image, worthlessness and hopelessness.

Also, not being able to find any alternative, promising and positive way out of the ongoing medical conditions like accident, chronic illness can lead to depression. Malnutrition, deficiency, hormonal imbalance and heredity can also contribute to development of depression.

Depression in a person can be detected through verbal expressions, behavioral patterns and nonverbal clues which can’t at all remain hidden, suppressed or muted for a long time. Therefore, you should be able to detect depression in yourself and also in others to treat it effectively and timely to avoid devastating outcomes.

Development of depression in older people is quite obvious due to deterioration, disabilities and deformations. However, falling prey to depression among adults, young men or women and children is increasing worldwide.

Is growing Depression among children a curse of modern lifestyle?

Following are a few key body language, vocal, speech, behavioral and nonverbal clues conveying depression:

1) Depression drains energy out of a person so such person’s overall body language i. e. facial expressions, hand gestures, vocal tone, gaze and body movements appear lacking esteem, passion, gusto, coordination, flow, swag, speed, strength, spontaneity and firmness.

2) Person’s cardiovascular capacity goes down significantly. Person breaths rapidly and pants heavily during seemingly routine and normal physical activities. Person experiences fatigue, body pain and muscular weakness. Person suffers from frequent lung infection.

3) Person hardly makes any eye contact or avoids a prolonged one. Person buries his/her eyes into something, keeps eyes closed or keeps looking at something for a long time most. Dark circles could also develop around eyes. Person’s eyes lack luster, spark or shine.

4) Person remains silent, isolated and withdrawn for a long time. Person doesn’t want to exert himself/herself on anybody, doesn’t make his/her presence felt by others, doesn’t draw anybody’s attention towards self or doesn’t take any active interest in interactions.

5) Person’s doesn’t give enough attention to and takes care of personal physical appearance. Person doesn’t take care about how he/she looks in public. Person wears uncleaned and untidy cloths. Person lacks neatness and doesn’t care about hygiene.

6) Person’s body postures appear dull, dented or downward. Person doesn’t stand upright, doesn’t keep oneself straight, always seeks some physical support and mostly remains seated or laid down at one place for a very long time without saying or doing anything.

7) Person can't focus on or dedicate to work life. Person wouldn't carry out given or self-assigned tasks and duties properly, sincerely and timely. Procrastinating, yawning and telling excuse becomes routine for a depressed person. Work turns into a punishment.

8) Person appears demotivated, uncaring and disinterested to do, to carry, to perform, to act, to show or to repeat exactly what he/she once used to with a great ambition, interest, pride, energy and enthusiasm.

9) Person’s voice sounds low, heavy and filled with a great pain. Person speaks very slowly, takes a long time to complete words and also takes long pauses. Person doesn’t open up voluntarily.

10) Person doesn’t sleep well, deeply or calmly and eat appropriately. Person might eat a lot or very less. Person starts loosing appetite, vigor and libido or sex-drive.

11) Person shows frequent and unpredictable mood swings through expressions, spatial shifting, vocal tones, changes in posture and body movements.

12) Person indulges into excessive addiction, drug abuse, self-abuse, self-harm and self-infliction. Thoughts of suicide lingers in person's mind.

How to recognize a depressed person through verbal clues?
Upon asking to share plans, thoughts, views, perspectives and opinions; the depressed person often expresses irritation, negativity, lack of confidence, complaining, uncertainty, helplessness and anxiety. The person's body language and vocal tone wouldn't be firm and assertive.

Basically, a depressed person feels as if nothing is left to contribute to world, society, community, family or a group. A depressed person starts loosing ambition, courage, creativity, purpose and goals. Social disconnection and lack of self-respect surely stick with the person. It's well said, "A life without any purpose is like a body without blood!".

Depression leads to decreased or no physical activities, lack of social interactions, bad eating habits, inability to focus, addiction and deteriorated health. Similarly, lack of physical activities, addiction, absence of good social interactions, bad nutrition, lack of great goals and diversion from healthy lifestyle can also contribute to depression.

Spending hours with cellphone can be a sign of depression.

According to scientific studies, strong connection between lower Vitamin D and depression has been established. There's no surprise that most of the home-dwelling, office-dwelling and sun-shunning population is more vulnerable to not just depression but also other related ailments, diseases and disorders.

Is our so-called modern, technological, intimacy-deprived, physically unchallenged, indoor, unbalanced and unnatural lifestyle the very reason behind increasing rate of minute to acute depression in a large population? NOW is the time to check and change.

[Special Note: During year 2015 and 2016, I also went through a severe depression in which suicidal thoughts occupied my weakened mind. However, I never gave up fighting with my negative thoughts because there's always a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to mention that long distance cycling and sun-bathing helped in coming back stronger than ever before. I never gave up on either of them. I became an ultra-cyclist and advocate of sensible sun-exposure.]

Related Articles:
1) Body Language with Poor Body Image 2) Body Language of Extreme Narcissist 3) Amygdala Hijack: Irrational Physical Reactions 4) Body Language under Stress

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