There are times when one gets depressed; often due to a sudden change in life. Quitting smoking is one such. In my previous attempts to quit smoking, I was depressed for weeks and didn’t know what to do. I tried to get medical help, but couldn’t tolerate those anti-deps. As a result, I relapsed and was again in the trap.
So before I finally quit, I tried to find out things that could help me fight depression. Here is a list of what I found working for me. If you are trying to fight depression, you will find them useful. You may not want to do all of them; pick what suits your kind of personality:
- Awareness / Mindfulness :
- There is an age old technique buddhist technique called Mindfulness. Extremely simple but profound. The crux of Mindfulness is not to fight depression, but to understand it. Find more details in Wikipedia. I would also advice you read a great practical book on Mindfulness – Mindfulness in Plain english http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html
- This will also help you become aware of those –ve thoughts that slowly pull you down
- If the depression is caused by a ceratin event / conflict, this will help you understand it better, from a different perspective
- Fall in love : Not for everyone. But a great way to get the needed High
- Deep breathing : Definitely helps. Do it periodically in between your daily chores. Also will help you stay mindful
- Try ujjai breathing
- Mudra pranayama
- Bhastrika pranayama
- Cultivate contentment and gratitude in life – When you are depressed, mind takes a negative attitude- you feel you have not made it, you feel life has been unfair to you. Learn to be content and feel grate ful to what you have
- Socialize – Take time out and have fun with your friends. Do not withdraw in to your own cocoon.
- Spend time with people you love/like/respect
- Avoid people whom you dislike / or you compete with / or who are in general negative
- Reclaim your creativity – When was the last time you did something very creative? If you had any such interest and you had abandoned it in your school, time to reclaim. This is probably the single most powerful technique to beat depression. It could be painting, sculpting, cartoons, poetry, stories, craft, landscaping; anything creative that you like. If there is nothing, find something new. Learning something new is also a great experience. (Note: I do not recommend things like reading, browsing, chatting…for creativity. Don’t fool yourselves)
- Roar like a lion – Simply get to a room and roar like a lion with all your might. Do few rounds, lie down on your back and relax with your eyes closed.
- Reciting Om and Gayathri Mantra – Ancient sages have learnt how to use sound to achieve great things. Just try chanting Om or Gayathri mantra few rounds a day.
- Talk to people who have a larger perspective of life – Sometimes the cause for depression is that you have a very narrow perspective of live and events confined by your small little mind. Talk to someone who can show you the bigger picture
- Dance – A simple but working method. You don’t have to be a classical dancer for this.When you are down, get in to a room, play some music (instrumental I would prefer..) and dance. Swing your body, let the music move through your body. About 5-6 minutes would do. Lie down and relax for few minutes with your eyes closed.
- Sing – Sing hum a tune that you love. See the difference
- Travel– Travel to new places, a good way to be fresh again.
- Watch hilarious movies – Nothing like a good laugh
- Jokes – Read some jokes. You find plenty on the net these days. Grab a Calvin and Hobbes book and keep at your desk. Avoid the kind of –ve ones that your mind can identify with.
- Exercise – work out regularly. Do graded weight training. Jog 2 miles in the morning. Will keep you fresh and fit
- Laugh – When you wake up in the morning, go to the mirror and just laugh. Laugh with your whole body and mind. Whoever has tried it will vouch for it.
- Be in the Sun – I have no clue how this works. But I have experienced this. Just stand in the sun for sometime (mornings better) and feel the difference
- Suryanamaskara – From perspective if yoga, depression happens due to low levels of ‘Prana’. There are several techniques in yoga to boost up your prana. One such ancient profound technique is Suryanamaskara. Easy to practice but very very effective..Do couple of rounds regularly
- Read articles on positivity – There is lot of stuff around. Pick some good stuff, I would recommend experiences of people who have overcome such difficulties in life
- Identify a purpose in life – Sometimes depression is also caused by a lack of purpose in life. Set small objectives and work towards it.
- Self talk– The most important ally in your fight against depression will be your mind. Talk to your mind (not self hypnotizing please…)Tell your mind that you do not want to be depressed and ask for help. Listen to your mind and your consciousness. You will get the direction.
- Have that great smile on your face – Fake it till you make it. You will soon.
Things to avoid:
– Do not go around telling people that you are depressed. Tell it to only those who really need to know (may be your manager for e.g)
– Avoid meditation – it will make you more introvert (also some yoga techniques like bramari, trataka..)
– Be careful what you watch and what you read. There is lot of negative stuff all around, and it’s easy for your mind to respond to subtle clues. Even be careful with newspapers.
– Avoid negative people – no second thoughts. If you feel someone is pulling you down, don’t think twice.
– Don’t pack your day – Slow down, have enough time for you
Hope this helps. Let me know your experience.Good luck