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Strategies to Pull Out of Depression
 
Cathy Chapman, Ph.D.
 
 

Some ways to break out of depression make use of how your subconscious mind works. Your subconscious mind likes things in nice neat packages. Since it is very black and white, which also means concrete in the way it views your life, it doesn't like feelings and behaviors which are not congruent with each other. No subtle shades of gray allowed.

Your subconscious mind will do what it can to match your feelings with your behaviors. For instance, when you are with someone in a social situation and visiting with people, for those minutes or hours your subconscious mind matches your mood to one that is uplifted.

Posture

Research shows that depressed people slump and walk with their head down, avoiding contact. The same research demonstrates that if someone who is depressed stands or sits straight, with shoulders back, and engages in conversation with someone, he feels better. His mood lifts.

Try this little experiment right now. First note your mood. On a scale of 1-10 how happy do you feel? One is depressed and 10 is happy. Now, note your posture. If you are slumped down or hunched over, put your shoulders back and hold your head high. Look around you as if you are in command of the situation. Now how do you feel on that scale of 1-10?

Next time you are feeling down, change your posture and talk to someone while looking at him or her.

Socialization

People withdraw when they're depressed. They don't want to go out and interact with anyone. The reason, or is it excuse, would be that they don't want to inflict their bad mood on anyone. Go out and visit with someone. You can go to the store and find people to chat with. It doesn't have to be a major discussion, just a diversion. Talk about the tomatoes, or shoes, or weather. While you're doing it, make eye contact and smile.

If there is a baby around, go admire the baby and tell the mom what a beautiful child she has. Watch her glow. A glowing mom and laughing baby are wonderful depression busters.

Be Kind to Others

Do a few random acts of kindness. Get out of your dark den and go into the light of day. Now find something nice to do. You could go to a store and hold the door open for people who have packages, are carrying children or are in wheel chairs. In fact, hold the door open for anyone and just smile. Be a volunteer greater. If you're worried about looking silly, go somewhere no one will know you and pretend you are someone else. Depression hides when you do for others.

Do Something Nice for Yourself

What gives you pleasure? Nothing? Okay, what used to give you pleasure? Make a list of 10 things you used to enjoy doing. Now pick one and go do it. Note how you feel. Go do another one.

Moving out of depression requires determination and action on your part. If you truly want to break the shackles of your mood, start acting in ways contrary to how a depressed person acts.