Lay Techniques to Alleviate Depression

Lay Techniques to Alleviate Depression

Emotions happen. We all get depressed or unhappy from time to time.  If your depression is not severe or chronic, try some of these ideas.  If they don’t help, please talk to your doctor or mental health practitioner.

  1. Smile for 30 seconds or more. Even if you don’t feel like it. Do it privately, and close your eyes if you feel stupid doing it.
  2. Read your Gratitude Journal. If you don’t have one, then write at least three things you are truly grateful for. Indoor plumbing is good. So is running cold and hot water. Focus on the feeling of being grateful.
  3. If you don’t feel grateful, write at least three things that you are upset or angry about, but add to each something that ameliorates it. For example, “I am really unhappy right now, but at least I have good food and shelter.” “I am angry that my friend didn’t call me back last night, but I am glad to have a friend who is usually very supportive.”
  4. Get some sunshine. Take a walk, or just sit in the sun for a few minutes.
  5. Get some exercise. Cardio is really helpful for alleviating depression.
  6. Do something nice for someone else. You don’t have to tell them, or anyone what you did. Sometimes (many times) it is better this way: to have this good deed be your secret.
  7. Meditate. Count your breaths from one to four, then start over at one again. 10-15 minutes is good.  Two minutes is better than no minutes. Any meditation technique will work.
  8. Take a nap, or at least put your feet up for 15 minutes.
  9. If you are feeling overwhelmed, pick one easy task and do it. Complete it without concern for all those other tasks. Then pick one more. Do all the easy ones first.
  10. Play music. I play piano. You can play iTunes if you don’t play an instrument or sing.
  11. If desperate, lock your bedroom door and close the windows (to soundproof), kneel beside your bed, and hit your fists on the mattress while yelling “No!” This should bring on anger and tears. Hit and cry as long as you need to. Expressing emotion like this will help with depression particularly when it is related to repressed emotions.
  12. Get a massage.
  13. Have a little caffeine (not a lot). I find it lifts the mood. My caffeine of choice is dark chocolate.
  14. Write a scathing letter, but DO NOT SEND IT. Tear it up instead. Or burn it.
  15. Ask a trusted person for a hug. Person-to-person contact is good.

Things NOT to do:

  1. Shopping therapy (a good way to buy things you don’t need, and spend money you don’t have)
  2. Rage at a friend or family member – even if they deserve it in your opinion. Save the topic and talk to them later, when you are no longer so angry.
  3. Write scathing political posts (flames)
  4. Self medicate with drugs, alcohol, sugar or carbs.

If these suggestions don’t work for you, please talk to your doctor or mental health practitioner.