32 Unusual Ways to Ease Depression.

Via Claudia Azula Altucher
on Feb 27, 2011
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Wayne Dyer told me to “get up and go help someone”. I was calling his radio show seeking advise to deal with low moods in the early days of 2004, I was depressed.  He was right, and walking away from my desk to see if someone needed help got me out of my own head (the trouble-maker) and resulted in a little love for me since I did do something useful that day.  Giving a hand is such a good suggestion when it comes to depression that it makes it to number 1, then there is the other 31 unusual ways:

#1 – Follow Wayne Dyers’ advise and get up and try to help someone else, I know it is hard when we are low, but it will result in getting you out of your head, it did to me at that time.  If you cannot find someone in your immediate surroundings that needs help there is NYCares.org in the NY area and similar organizations pretty much in every state/country.

#2 – If the depression is so bad that you cannot handle it, if the weight is so heavy, if the tears are too many and you cannot get out of bed, then you, or me, or anyone, needs help.  Talking to a therapist and getting medication for depression is a sign of strength is telling the universe that we are willing to go wherever we need to, to be well, to be healed.  And western medicine is wonderful sometimes, let’s give it credit.

#3 Asking for help in the form of someone helping us cook a meal or get through something that needs to be done, or simply just asking for someone to listen to us is very humbling, and healing.

#4 Let the sunshine in, both metaphorically and in practice, I love listening to this song, it does not always do it but sometimes it works.  If you just want to let the sunshine in and skip the dawning of the age of Aquarius, jump to minute 2:18.  After listening it might be a good idea to take a walk, and see the sun shine, let us never take it for granted!

In my next life I want to sing and be talented like them


#5 Clean up the house.  How are the surroundings?  Depression, hatred, and bad energy all have something in common, they love clutter, thrives in it, so they make a home and never leave.  Clean surroundings help the mind get clean, focused, and thriving.

#6 Take up yoga, whatever style resonates with you (I like Ashtanga), whatever  brings you in line with your own truth, whatever works, that is the one!  Moving the body is critical for mind well being, and yoga provides a way to synchronize the body with the breath and sending air into the lungs and areas of the body that do not generally get it.  Also the stretching allows for tension and release and savasana or corpse pose at the end, for deep relaxation

#7 Read inspirational quotes. I got this one from Waylon who was actually going through his own dance with the blues a few days ago, and I found the quotes recommended by him inspiring, I also have my own set of yoga quotes that jolt me back into center.  Any book that floats your boat is also a good idea (The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Course in Miracles, the Bible, the Koran, The Torah, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,  Light on Life, Women Who Run with the Wolves,  you name it).

#8 Meditation returns us to the blank page, to the starting point, or the field of all possibilities.  Or at least it aims for it.  I certainly cannot get my mind to stop the chatter for over 20 seconds, sometimes even that is too hard, but in the trying, in the sitting, in the ritual of meditation I find solace and refuge.

#9 Nutrition is an enormous part of our state of mind.  If we are only eating starches and sodas, snaking at all hours and disrespecting our nutrition needs, then we are not going to be successful coming out of the dark.  It is important to eat those leafy greens, get a dose of those B Vitamins and make sure we are drinking plenty of water. Just as a side note, not long ago I watched the movie “Food Matters”.  In it there was an M.D. (who cannot practice in the US anymore due to being so “anti-establishment” I guess) who found out that high levels of Niacin (a type of B vitamin that can be bought over the counter) succeeded in clearing depression.  You can watch the movie here, and no I am not affiliated with them or anything like that.

#10 Flowing energies. For a body to be in optimal balance it needs to flow, creatively, lovingly, sexually, organically.  For example: are you going to the bathroom daily for 1 and 2?  This is a critical question that needs investigation, if things are not flowing there is a problem, and it needs to be addressed.

#11 Are you sleeping? After much traveling and seeking throughout the world, I realized that when it comes to sleeping there are some really basic guidelines for rest, and there is not much more to it.  I am a big proponent of sleep, don’t know about you, but I love it.  I find it restores me and gets all my bodies back in line.  Here are 10 yoga suggestions for a good night sleep.

Also, since we are on this topic, I would like to bring back the old South American concept of “siesta” and stand up for it. Taking a little rest during the day is refreshing (OK, maybe not if it goes for longer than an hour) and can help in having better concentration for afternoon tasks. If you can do it (not all of us can), go for it! and enjoy it for all of us.

The beautiful “siesta” picture comes from here.

#12 Identifying Who or what is draining you?  Some people mean well and say that they are your friends, this is all good, but once in a while it might be a good idea to check on our own definition of friendship.  It is important to be clear on the energies that surround us.  If you feel drained after visiting with someone then maybe seeing less of that person is a good idea.  Even Patanajali (the father of all yogas) suggests it on Sutra I-33: … by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.

#13 Eliminate all drama. Drama has a place: soap operas, not our lives.  I have made it a point to eliminate all dramatic people and dramas from my life as much as possible, and strive to keep on reducing it.  I believe that a life free of drama is not only possible, it is healthy.

#14 Give up reading the news for one week, or six or 52.  Media fasts are my favorite way of dealing with the blues. I know that the world is there and that things are happening but believing that by knowing more about the latest stream of yellow press we will be helping is deluded.  It is important to find our own center and be well ourselves before we can be of any service to others, and hence a media fast aids in the recovery of our own energies.  The world will always be there when we return.

#15 Take care of you.  Just like we talked about the house up on #5, our body being a temple is not just something we say in this time and age, is something we should take as the gospel.  Taking a salt bath, doing a Castor oil bath, having a facial, nails, feet scrub.  Anything that will send our body the message that we love it is helpful.

#16 Loving ourselves, here are 32 unusual ways of doing so.

#17 Taking one step a day towards our passion. Many times depression is linked to not following our own passion, and sometimes this happens because we do not know what our passion is. I find that allocating time to finding out what it is we love doing is well worth it.  For example, writing lists of things we enjoy is a good starting point, going to a workshop that has exercises designed to uncover what our passions are is another one.

#18 Doing one thing that will make things easier tomorrow.  i.e.: washing the sheets of the bed so tomorrow we can sleep on a bed that smells like fresh laundry, or finishing the dish-washing tonight so tomorrow we wake up to a dashing  clean kitchen, or setting up  the coffee machine at night so we wake up early to the nice smell of fresh brewing java.  Also: making that appointment with the dentist we know we need to get to, or dealing with those tax return papers so they can be put away from our minds.  Thought of another one? please let me know in the comments.

#19 Avoiding further pain. The yoga sutras point to this very wisely on sutra II-16.  If someone is angry and charging against us or if we know that doing something will bring further repercussions then it might be a good idea to choose peace.  It does not mean letting anyone walk over us, it just means choosing our battles, and aiming for peace in the days to come.

#20 Checking on that coffee and stimulants.  A lot of coffee (more than 2 cups a day) and Red-bulls or Cokes can add up and get our nerves on edge.  It is always necessary to keep an eye of caffeine intake when we are feeling low, because the crash of it can propel us to new lows.

#21 You tell me.  Yes, I am adding this one because I wonder if by reading this list so far you have come up with an idea of your own that you would like to share, please do tell me in the comments!

#22 Fast.  A fast maybe too strong a call, especially if you have never done one before, but extending the amount of hours that your stomach can rest, i.e.: not eating anything after 5:00 PM and until breakfast the next morning is a wonderful opportunity to give your possibly overloaded (stressed out) system a break, and let it rest in a deeper way.

#23 Mantras that help.  Oprah says that if the only prayer you say is “Thank you” that is enough.  I agree, that is a very good mantra, other useful mantras are:

  1. I am healthy, I am well, I am centered
  2. Thank you God because I am now in good health
  3. The Gayatri Mantra is said to bring miracles about, healing definitely, try it and see.

#24 Write down 10 things you could do to cheer yourself up.  Did I hear you say “oh no”!? in that case write 100.  Write them in the comments so I can read them too 🙂

#25 Gratitude.  Being grateful for the things we have in our lives makes us suddenly realize that we are very blessed.  For example, if we ate today, had a hot shower, are dressed, can see, have hands, legs, all of that is quite a blessing, it is good to remember it.

#26 An Inspirational date.  Take a date by yourself and go to a museum, or go to an old train station and photograph it, or… Photograph everything you eat, paint a masterpiece with crayons on a napkin.  What other ideas do you have?

#27 A long walk. If you have a dog then you probably already know the power of long walks. If you do not then you are in for a treat.

#28 Checking on that alcohol intake.  I do not drink, but if you drink socially it might be good to keep an eye on what is happening in this area and lower the intake if it is over the line, that is, if we want to feel good as it all comes down to priorities in the end…

#29 12 steps meetings.  Depression comes along many times because life seems too out of control. If you find yourself in debt, or addicted to love or sex, or gambling, then maybe a 12 step meeting is a place to visit.  There is no need to say anything, just being in a room with others who are going through something similar is very cathartic and healing.

#30 Routines.  Having a routine of things that must be done every day helps, that is the beauty of a yoga or meditation practice for example.  Work tends to provide such thing but if you work by yourself this might be a bit harder to come across as you are the manager of your own time.  I find that scheduling tasks (does the car need to be taken for the oil change? do you need a dentist clean up), helps in keeping life within a rhythm, and that aids in bringing a sense of balance.  It is not necessary to over-schedule but just have some minimal things that need to be done, for ourselves, other than work, each day.

#31 Plan that vacation and do it.  I find that trips work for me as a “restart”button in a computer, especially if they are well planned.  Going to another country for example is a wonderful way of learning how other people live, how they cope, how they enjoy, what they eat.  It opens the creativity flowing powers, it can, sometimes provide use with deep inspiration.  Suggested destinations: India, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Motevideo (Uruguay), Santiago de Chile (Chile), Costa Rica.  In no particular order, if you have another suggestion of a place to visit please share in the comments.

#32 Surrendering – “This too shall pass” is a phrase that I keep repeating to myself whenever I get low, it helps in a way to know that it will pass, it is not so fun on the other side, when I feel great and I still know that “this too shall pass”, but such is life, we are here on a mission bigger than we comprehend, we are following our own cycle of growth and need to respect it.  May it be what it may be, May Thy will be done.

So what other ways have you found to cope with depression? I hope you share with me!

RELATED POST: 32 Unusual Ways to Improve Concentration

The featured picture comes from here


About Claudia Azula Altucher

Claudia Azula Altucher has studied yoga for a long time. Her only focus these past eight years has been on Ashtanga through which she studied at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India (three study visits so far), and at Centered Yoga in Thailand (focus on practice, philosophy and pranayama). Currently she studies at Pure Yoga in NYC. She has taught yoga classes in both Spanish and English. She is also the Author of: 21 Things To Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice (you can get a free PDF at her blog). She writes daily at ClaudiaYoga.com And you can follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga


34 Responses to “32 Unusual Ways to Ease Depression.”

  1. Love it! Just reading these suggestions brought my mood up – now to tackle the clutter, savour a wonderful meal and connect with friends & family in a meaningful way. I'm going to have an amazing day!

  2. Thanks for this, I am always looking for non-prescription pick me ups!

  3. ARCreated says:

    this too shall pass…this too shall pass…god I miss being able to eat icecream 🙂

    sure fire depression busters? no sure fire ways and it truly depends on the "cause"

    currently I am trying throwing myself into learning.

  4. Excellent, Claudia.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  5. Donna, really like the part of "connect with friends and family in a meaninfgul way"… sweet! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I hear you, me too, I am not fond of medication unless is a last resort… 🙂

  7. ARCreated, good one, yes, learning something new, especially if aligned with your passion is a great idea!… I don't quite get the ice cream part,do you have a condition that prevents you from enjoying it? I hope not… and yes you are right there are no sure ways ever… it is a dance, a conversation… and the cause, yes if we can find it…

  8. Janice says:

    On your list of places to visit, I would suggest adding Ecuador. Moving here was the best thing I ever did for myself. There is a wonderful energy here, especially on the beaches of the beautiful Pacific, that is very healing. I am a completely different person now. The Andes also provide a spiritual peace.

  9. claire says:

    dealing with depression in and out over the course of my life… I beat the major one with ashtanga years ago and never looked back. I teach now… and really find it so healing. yet this dreary and snow covered winter in NY my depression came back and all my tricks and methods stopped working… which disheartened me even more.
    I gave up for a week…and then got proactive and came to the Caribbean for 3 weeks…. it's been work while here but I needed it. The creative fire inside is working again and I am much more clear headed to make decisions and see life in a better light… I still have a week here to relax…and thank you for your list! cheers!

  10. ARCreated says:

    my condition is "veganism" LOL….it's a good condition in the past when depressed I turned to sweets sometimes so I am better off…I could go get some almond milk icecream sure…but that's a special trip 🙂

  11. HA HA, of course, how did I not think of that! Recently I learned about "raw" icecream…. it sounded fantastic, even ordered an icecream machine to try and make it BUT amazon was out of them so I never go the machine… oh well… I also do not eat ice cream, it is wayyyy to heavy… and the almond milk ones, hmm I did not know they existed, that is great news! but just as you say it is indeed a "special trip" to a special market…

  12. Alingbetween, I agree there are cycles and no light without darkness… glad you liked it, thanks for your comment

  13. Yes, you are right, it is said to help. I usually visit the Whole Foods and look at their aisle for supplements, then try different things. I kind of like the omega 3 oil directly into my salads, cannot remember how it is called now… oh yes, flax seed oil, it is also tasty… thank you for the recommendation

  14. fermonte says:

    Claudia, thanks for your advise. I do have a correction: “the old South American concept of ‘siesta'” is actually Spanish (from Spain). In fact, during the beginning of the European unification this was a significant issue for businessmen from other parts of Europe. They complained they could not get a hold of Spaniards in the early afternoon, because many took ‘long lunches’ but then would come back and stay until late in the evening at the office. We in South America inherited this custom, but it only remains in small towns. The US is the most countries’ largest trading partner and large cities are dominated by the American schedule.

  15. Janice, what a great idea, I would love to visit Ecuador… thank you!

  16. Claire, that is great! so cool to hear you teach now, I will look at your blog and add it to my blogroll to stay in touch… I also like to get away in the extreme winter, find it does magic for the mind and body… Hope you keep getting inspiration in the caribean, nice to meet you!

  17. HA HA HA, thank you for that, and now that I think about it, I remember when I went to Spain in 2003 to teach and we had to break from noon to 3 because people took siestas… in the middle of downtown and lawyer offices! amazing, thanks for the clarification. Now I will say, that it might be from Spain but I am making it my own too… I want to share in! but granted, the origins are in Europe… cool!

  18. SS4BC says:

    So true about cleaning up! There is nothing that can get me our of a rough patch like looking around and a clean apartment. All the times in my life I was depressed my apartment was a mess. When I'm happy it is clean. Now when I'm starting to feel down I start to pick up. A clean living environment helps me feel better about myself and life in general.

  19. Hi ss4bc, yes, that is how I feel too… Thanks for your comment

  20. genny says:

    My daughter has learned how to make ice cream in a baggie. She uses 1 cup milk, sugar, vanilla. She then puts ice and salt in a bigger bag and places the little bag in it. Shakes it until it feels like jello. Put it the freezer until solid. She makes this frequently. I will buy her almond milk and have her use this.

  21. You are kidding me!, that is GREAT!, maybe I will try with the kids here too, sounds like a good experiment! thank you for sharing that

  22. […] 32 Unusual Ways to Ease Depression. ~ Elephant Journal […]

  23. JaniceP says:

    If you dont want to use fish oil, you should use an algae-based product for a long-chain omega3. Flax seed oil is a short-chain omega 3 and the body does not efficiently convert it to the long-chains that the brain needs. Especially if your are taking it to help with depression.
    If you are using fish oil, then make sure it is wild fish based not farmed fish. Long chain polyunsaturated fats are from the algae, plankton and krill that the fish eat. Farmed fish have less access to these natural nutrients.

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  30. elsjeb says:

    1. Put the kettle on.
    2. Breath deep into my belly, then do it again… and again.
    3. Start soaking some beans for soup or oats for porridge or put some winter squash in the oven.
    4. Take a hot bath with essential oils, epsom salts, candles, tears.
    5. Change into something clean and cozy.
    6. Put garlic and butter on squash and feed myself.
    7. Name 5 things I am grateful for.
    8. Read a children's book.
    9. Name 5 things I wish were different for me.
    10. Name 2 things I can do toward things I wish were different.
    11. Start making some scribble drawings, eyes closed.
    12. Go outside where I can walk the dogs off the leashes for at least an hour.
    13. Clean out one drawer.
    14. Read Elephant Journal posts on Fb. 😉