“If you are depressed, get dressed.” Adrienne Landau
Over the holidays, my partner Ken Holmes and I went on the trip of a lifetime to South America and Antarctica. While we were traveling, we met the famous New York fashion designer Adrienne Landau.
The only thing was, I didn’t realize at the time how amazing and successful Adrienne is – all I knew is that I liked her very much.
She and her husband Ed came with us on excursions, out to dinner on our ship the Zaandam and had great fun comparing notes on our adventures. Adrienne and I went to the gym, had lunch with our newly-met girlfriends and went to a class to learn tango.
Adrienne showed me a catalogue of her beautiful clothes and home furnishings, but it wasn’t until I came home and watched her on Home Shopping Network that I realized that I had met someone not only fun and interesting but a woman of a rare level of personal accomplishment.
It’s not every day that you come home from a trip and discover your new friend on TV!
Because Adrienne was curious about her health, she asked me to do a session with her on the ship. She offered to pay me, but I declined.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said to her afterwards. “We are on vacation.”
Later on, she gave me a fabulous faux-fur leopard vest. At first, I declined, but she insisted.
During our discussions, Adrienne made a very astute comment:
“If you are depressed, get dressed.”
I couldn’t agree more.
It was Moshe Feldenkrais, the Israeli physicist who invented a new system of healing through movement, who pointed out that every mood you have is accompanied by a specific breathing pattern, posture and thought process.
We can change the way we feel by changing our breathing. We can change the way we feel by changing our posture and the way we habitually sit and stand and move.
When we move – when we really move our energy such as when we exercise – we put our emotions into process and allow our mind-body system to begin to clear them.
But a rarely considered natural treatment for depression is changing your outside, your costume, your outfit and the way you usually dress. Look more beautiful and you may actually lighten up internally.
I always say, “Dress like a bag lady, eat like a bag lady, feel like a bag lady.”
It is not uncommon for me to advise a client to clean out their closet, give away their unflattering clothes and consult a stylist. There are professionals whose sole purpose in life is to make other people feel beautiful, and God bless them very much because so many of the rest of us seriously need their advice.
One client I worked with last year was clinically depressed. I recommended she buy herself new clothes and she admitted she had been wearing outfits from her mother, who had just recently passed away.
She could not overcome her grief as long as was literally walking in her mother’s shoes!
In my healing work, I often find that people are playing roles.
What do I mean by that?
This is the way I like to explain it.
If you go down to the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and try out for the role of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, you would be given a costume, you would be given a certain script and you would adopt a certain accent. But it wouldn’t be you. It would be you playing the role of Blanche Dubois.
Often what keeps us unhappy or unhealthy is playing a role of someone other than our true selves.
Some of the top depressive roles include playing the bag lady, the old lady, the victim, the martyr, poor me, the sorrowful widow, the lonely washed up neglected one – all these are guaranteed to make you feel gloomy sooner or later.
Your true self is a self-actualized person. You are strong, powerful and capable. You are greater than the sum of all your fears and insecurities. You can handle whatever God is presenting to you in this moment.
When we make the time to take better care of ourselves, wearing clothes that match, then maybe even taking it to the next level and wearing something fabulous, sexy, fashionable or flattering, voila, we find ourselves feeling not only a little more glam but maybe even a lot brighter inside.
I agree with Adrienne: a great natural healing remedy for depression is to get dressed.
I also agree with Jim Morrison, the rock star: “Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts.”
So many of the natural healing methods that I recommend have to deal with changing your inside.
But you can also express the very best version of yourself right now and rediscover how much better you can feel on the inside.