Six ways to relieve depression without medication

Six ways to relieve depression without medication

-When you are depressed, you lose your faith in the future
– Approach: Acknowledge suffering and offer possibilities
– They discuss six strategies developed as a result of their practice:
One) marbling (metaphor of steak)
– When depressed, it is hard to remember anything good ever happening
– Life – like steak – has good and bad – there is marbling
– State-dependent memory [In psychology, it is hard to remember good times when in a depressed state]
– journal/reflect about times when not depressed – this will be difficult, but worth trying
Two) Undo depression
– there are parts of depression, you can do something about (for e.g. Getting out of bed, rather than staying in bed – i.e. feelings do not determine behaviours)
– work out the patterns of behaviour that the person does when depressed
– Then contrast these patterns of behaviour, to what the person did when they were feeling well
– this maps the patterns of behaviour & helps encourage shifts towards patterns of behaviour done when not depressed
[This involves challenging behaviour]
Three) Changing the person’s relationship to depression
1) – Externalising technique: (talk about it as something external, not “I have depression” or “I have depressive tendencies” which has become internalised & part of a person’s identity
– instead try:
Q – When depression comes to visit you, what does it try & convince you of regarding your self worth? Does it tell you you are worthless? the lowest of the low? That you do not deserve to live?
Q – Do you ever stand up to depression? Do you ever talk back to depression?
Q – Are there times when you and can escape from the undermining that depression does to you?[The approach treats depression as if it were a bully – This provides distance and perspective & And makes the depression ego dystonic rather than ego syntonic
2) – Mindfulness
– Instead of reacting to your depression &/or judging yourself, you train yourself to be a “fair witness” & just witness depression – & being aware of when you are going into the past or into the future & then bringing your attention back to the present
– this also helps relieve some of the suffering associated with depression
Four) Challenging isolation
– when depressed, we push away or pull away from others, from meaning of life, from themselves
– Another behavioural activation strategy
– connect with people, animals (pet), nature, yourself – lifestyle
[it is about finding a way of connecting in some way]
[isolation is very common & very painful]
Five) Connecting to a future with possibilities (including using imagination to visualise)
– Frankl: meaning & spirituality are another means of connecting to the future
Six) promote brain growth
– use neuroplasticity to lay down new brain architecture
– simplest: going walking 3x per week to stimulate growth & combat neuro-atrophy.
– play music, new environments, conversations
[noting this is difficult to do – but is worthwhile – when depressed]

Source: Australia Counselling Podcast | 13 March 2015


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