10 things to help depression

Excuse me, I am more writing to myself than anyone else. It helps to make lists some times.  By the way, they are in no particualr order of importance, just as they occurred to me. I’m having trouble concentrating properly right now.

#1. Vigorous exercise of some kind. Not the easiest thing when all you want to do is crawl under the covers. Solution: get a dog. A dog will probably ensure that you get out for a brisk walk at least a couple of times a week. Exercise is up there on the list of things it can be impossible to do without someone else motivating you. A dog might just be the motivator. Mine was, until she got cancer 7 months ago and has slowed down.

#2. Physical contact. Massage is good, hugs are better. That said, I am not a touchy feely person generally and only within certain bounds I set for myself(which are often illogical when I try to explain; but to sum up its probably about INSTINCT.) My boss gave me an unsolicited hug and kiss on Monday and I felt like decking him. Decking your boss= a bad thing. A really, really bad thing…..

#3. This one is purely personal. Vast amounts of smoke. I don’t smoke and never have but I do love incense a lot. There’s a lot of evidence for the benefits of incense. My favourite is a Coptic one called God’s Smile (available from the Pan’s Pantry link on my Cool shopping list) which is used to treat depression. I’ve just used the very last of my supply a few minutes ago and am beginning to panic about it.

#4. Essential oils. Certain essential oils have intense properties of relieving depression. The same oils  carry a enormous price tag; Some neroli(orange blossom oil) retails at over £1 per drop. For what it’s worth, you get about 20 drops per millilitre. Years ago, in a very black spot, I tried to get a single drop of neroli out of the tiny vial, and in my haste, spilled half of it on the bathroom surface. Objecting to waste, I wiped it up with my hair like Mary Magdalene, and went off, to deliver child to school, intending myself severe harm later. By the time I’d driven the seven miles to school, the aroma had begun to lift me and halfway home I was singing a sea shanty. Other oils are also very powerful. Jasmine, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, lavender and most of the citrus oils are good. I’d recommend Valerie Ann Worwood’s The Fragrant Mind for further study. 

#5. Spending time in nature. Combined with exercise, if you can actually get beyond your front door, sunshine and fresh air can get you through some bad times. Again, refer to #1 for motivator

#6 Watching something funny. Many mental hospitals are using humourous dvds to treat patients with great effect. The simple act of smiling for more than 20 seconds produces feel good endorphins. Laughter is even better.

#7 Talking to someone who knows and loves you and you can trust. If there isn’t anyone, at all, try the Samaritans or some similar organisation. They’re trained to care , true but I’ve only ever found kindness and understanding there. You don’t get through the training otherwise. If all else fails, revert to #1: dogs are good listeners.

#8 Do something for someone else. Practise random acts of senseless kindness, like leaving flowers for the nurses at the local hospital.

#9 Music. This is sometimes a bad move if you tend to gravitate to certain kinds of music. Go to a music store and find something a bit different. I found a cd of Italian baroque improvisations which lifts me every time I hear it.

#10 Remembering that this, too, will pass. Knowing, even if you have to write it on post-it notes and leave it everywhere, that even the darkest days will eventually pass,  is a strange comfort when you can’t imagine anything other than the current pain, but it is a comfort.

#11……over to you….?        

I’m off to either walk the dog or put on a funny dvd.

23 thoughts on “10 things to help depression

  1. Another commonality.

    I am obsessive about notes. Notes everywhere. Seeing it makes it real. Writing it down makes for good future reference.

    But I personally USE most of these techniques. And probably should use ALL of them. 😀

    You know what else I find useful. Good old fashioned manual labor. Like cleaning the bathhouse. It’s humbling BUT there is a certain satisfaction that comes with the hard work .

    The exercise too IS SO VERY IMPORTANT. I never felt better then when I was walking four miles everyday. Body Mind and Spirit! It was awesome.

    I so need to get back to that. Been six month or more.

    I find your blog an incredible resource.

    Thanks… TRULY!


    • I’d include the manual labour in the exercise category. Though clearing a mess is very good too. Or gardening.
      I am not usually a note maker; got through my degree with very few notes. But it can help clarify things.
      I usually walk a good few miles daily, often as much as 14. I walk a great deal at work too.
      Funny, no one has mentioned crying yet. I hate crying and don’t find it helps but makes things worse but there’s evidence it’s good for you.
      Thank you for your positive feeback and support!


      • Yes gardening is good! GREAT actually. I love to tend a garden. Don’t really have one here BUT plan to work on that. Culinary herbs are my specialty.

        And crying IS good. I cry on ANY good occasion. Even when i am mad . Just don’t cry with an audience typically. Hubby on the other hand bawled at our wedding. Very Sweet!

        Probably too personal BUT the first time I cried with hubby in an intimate setting. IT SCARED HIM almost to the point of RUNNING the other way .

        My truest self was bubbling to the surface was all!

        Thankfully now he knows that. 😀


  2. I do the same: research something because I am interested in it. To write it puts it into long-term memory, and it means you must understand what you are writing. Good work.

    I have suffered depression. Well done.


    • I’m doing some study at the moment in an unfamilair area, and I have taken more notes already than i did for the whole of my original degree. I do find that it helps me to process, understand and remember as it uses a different area of the brain to process writing than it uses for reading.
      good to see you here, Jenn. How’s the Canadian spring shaping up?


  3. A big yes for 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10!

    Cleaning a mess would work – but only if you have a mess! My dog has recently taken it upon herself to tear a coconut to shreds and then distribute the shreds randomly all over the house. She’s helping me de-stress:)



    • There’s always a mess of some sort here to clear up! pet fur for starters. Holly lost the end of her tongue and with it the tumour so now she isn’t drooling blood stained saliva, which is great for her and great for me as I was daily cleaning up rather horrid mess.
      What was wrong with 3,4 and 9???


  4. You got me thinking, no, wanting to “sense” out your suggestion of using oils and incense to lift one’s spirits. I wonder? Should I place the scents in my house whether all three of the occupants have a chance to improve their lot?

    I’m cheap. And, if I’m going to invest in something, I want to use it for more than one to benefit from.

    May even get some today.

    Wow, talk about the power of suggestion. Thanks. You’re ok, no matter what your boss may say about your hugging phobia. (joking, just joking!)

    michael j


    • I think it depends on an issue of consent; I hate anything being imposed on me without at least consultation.
      Essential oils have multiple methods of delivery that can benefit a varying arena of people. You caa use them diluted and on the skin as massage or annointment; in a bath. Or you can diffuse them in a room for the benefit of all in that room,using a number of methods( using a so-called oil burner, like a heated bain marie, or spritzing them round etc).
      Incense is a more sensitive issue, because of breathing problems and also because of prejudices. In this country there are two negative associations: one is with the hippy culture(joss sticks etc) and the Catholic church (pure, “proper” incense). I got stymied with both while I was growing up; using it was perceived as being associated with hippydom(and my mother’s fears I might be smoking something…) and her equal dislike of the pomp of the catholic church of her girlhood( she was the other camp and believed everything negative about Catholics).
      I’d suggest you consult your housemates about whether they would object as the other issue is that scent has very deep and powerful means of recovering memories, not all of them nice. I had a client who hated lavender; don’t know why but I always avoided it. cans of worms should stay closed unless you are intending to go fishing!
      Thanks a lot, it’s good to have feedback like this.
      ps, what does the J stand for and do you prefer to be Michael or Michael J?


  5. All these are wonderful remedies and I’m sure they would work if only I could bring myself to use any of them when I’m depressed. What I usually do is indulge in feeling miserable and cry like mad when I’m left on my own. By the way, tears can be helpful too. They kind of cleanse you of the negative thoughts and feelings.


    • I know what you mean. I sometimes(= very often) draw back from things I know will help and do things that while they do sort of help are probably more destructive than the depression…by which I mean things that physically hurt me.
      I seldom find tears helpful, and shy away from them if I can because it just makes things worse.
      I bought some incense yesterday while I was in London with J, and some white sage. White sage (Salvia apiana) is used by the some Native American tribes to cleanse both the person and an environment, especially for sacred work. It’s one herb I come back to again and again because it really does work to drive away negativity when it has served its purpose(because neagtive stuff is just there to tell us something is a amiss and remedy it.)
      I think what can help a great deal is if there is someone close who can remind us to do/use whatever means we find helpful when we are down. I am lucky because my husband does this for me and I for him. But friends help too and that’s a great thing.
      And there are times when i make myself go through my repertoire and NOTHING works. Then I have to try and remember that all things pass.


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  7. Learning and practising a craft can help immensely too- something that helps you stay in the moment. Also if you are a creative person, to have some kind of creative outlet. Also spirituality helps some people too, not neccesarily religion but some kind of contemplation beyond the mundane.


    • Hi Deborah,
      I agree. The only issue with a craft is finding the motivation to start and keep going. Any sort of creative outlet is essential and personally, I would say, so too is spirituality.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting; your comments have added to the list.


  8. This is the kind of thing I needed, I’ve recently recognised that my boyfriend is not only showing signs of depression but has admitted that he is depressed. And because I’ve been where he is twice within three years I’m going to try and help him as much as I can. For instance, I’m gonna start with bike rides and small things like that. Thank you


    • I’m very glad this has been of help, Nina. The post gets read a lot but it gets few comments.
      Every good wish for you and your boyfriend’s continued recovery.


  9. I have suffered with depression all my life and I’m just now learning how to cope. Things that help me are:
    1) working out. This helps me feel more energized and it makes me do something other than sit around and think about negatives. I put in some hip hop music and run/workout to the beat. I feel like I’m sweating out negative energy.
    2) tanning. This all depends on what you believe. Most people don’t like tanning in a bed and if that’s the case lay outside on a sunny day. The light and uv rays help me feel better.
    3) treat yourself. I like to go treat myself to a nice manicure and pedicure once every couple months just because it feels great to treat yourself to something good.
    4) talk things out. When you talk your feelings out with someone who won’t judge you and that you can trust, yes you may cry but after you get it all out you feel so much better.
    5) eat healthy. Eating junk food most the time makes you feel heavy and lazy. Then you fall back in the pattern of not wanting to do anything.
    6) keep telling yourself you can overcome it. If you believe it you can Achieve it.


    • Glad you have things that help; thanks for sharing.
      I use a special SAD lamp in winter that helps, but since tanning as such is bad for the skin, sunny days see me wearing sunscreen.


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