25 ways to master depression; the beast in the darkness
1. Take up intense exercise. This could be running, swimming, cycling, climbing etc. The endorphin rush stimulates the hormones that counter depression and the resulting physical rewards build sefl-esteem.
2. Reduce the stimulants that you take including coffee, tea, alcohol and recreational drugs.
3. When the wave comes, get up and do something.
4. Do 3 minutes of breath of fire with your mouth closed. Look on youtube for more details on how to do this breath. It strengthens the nervous system, builds creativity and puts heat in the body.
5. Soothe your mind with reassurances that you are in charge and it will be OK. Quite often it is our “child” that is freaking out and our “adult” can provide comfort in the form of taking care, taking over and sorting things out.
6. Take up the mantra “I can and I am” it is great for countering low self esteem and issues around what you feel you are capable of doing.
7. Do 20 full body press-ups a day with the elbows tucked in. This stimulates the thymus, a gland above the heart, and strengthens the will, the immune system and raises endorphin levels. You can build up to the full body 20 over time and if needed, start with 5 half press ups from the knees but make sure you keep your body straight and long.
8. Do 60 sit-ups a day. Knees bent, back firmly pressed to the floor, arms crossed over your chest, raise head and shoulders off the floor, exhaling up, inhaling back down. Again, build up with this, but it strengthens the nervous systems, builds self-esteem and raises endorphin levels.
9. Go for a brisk walk.
10. Avoid violent films, books, the news and computer games.
11. Drink a glass of cold water.
12. Do Sitali Pranayam: Make the tongue into a straw and inhale really slowly through the straw with eyes closed. Exhale slowly through your nose. 20 breaths each way. This will cool the liver and bring a feeling of calm.
13. 20 squats. Feet apart, facing forward, back straight, hands behind head and exhale down bending the knees, inhale up straightening the legs. This is an intense practice that brings a lot of blood the leg muscles which then raises the immune system, increasing white blood cell count and putting a lot of oxygen into the blood.
14. Dance. Put on your favourite music and dance till you are sweating. Try smiling at the same time.
15. Up your fresh fruit and vegetables. These contain minerals, vitamins, anti-oxydents.
16. Allow yourself 15 minutes a day, totally alone, to go as far as you dare into your fear and pain. Cry, sob, moan and yell until it has been released. After 15 minutes head back out into the real world again. Many of us really fear our pain and depression. This exercise eases the fear and can ultimately reduce the intensity and duration of the episode quite considerably. It is the avoidance of the feelings that can create more pain than actually swimming in them. But no more than 15 minutes.
17. Eat with friends. The experience of sitting together, talking and eventually laughing, releases a hormone called oxytocin that makes you feel good.
18. Do the Inner Smile. Mantak Chia is a writer who deals with this practice. The art is to make all of your inner organs smile one after the other. Start with the heart and work your way down inside your body through your stomach, kidneys, liver etc. The feeling is relaxing and calming.
19. Do a daily gratitude list. It can be in your mind or on paper. Write down all that you are grateful for. You may start by feeling hopeless but as you make the list you will become more positive. It is a good thing to do as you lie, waiting to sleep at night or if you wake in the night it is a good way to stop the mental car crash that can come in at 3am.
20. Help another. See if your neighbour wants help with shopping or gardening, perhaps an elderly neighbour would like a hand with the rubbish or changing a fuse or light bulb. Reaching out to others is a good way of stopping navel gazing.
21. Kundalini Shaking is a way of stimulating hormonal flow and raising energy in the body. Stand with your feet apart and start to vibrate your pelvis so that your arse wobbles and your belly shakes. Keep your knees slightly bent and soft and go as fast as you can. It sends heat up the spine, releases energy and makes you smile.
22. Have an orgasm. Alone is fine. No point torturing another with your misery. The raise in endorphins will release a lot of tension in the mind and body.
23. Pray. Funny, but it works. Handing your dramas over to a power greater than yourself helps you to let go and do something else instead of worrying.
24. Accept that you are feeling awful, stop making any judgements about how you “should” be feeling and you release all the resistance.
25. 10 long deep breaths with the eyes closed, hands in your lap, right on top of the left. Thumbs can touch or not. This position accesses the neutral mind, the space where we allow and make no judgement. Utter bliss. Once you get used to the sensation it is a great tool for stressful situations.