A DIY Approach Against Depression


The conventional approach for treating mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and depression involves a combination of medication and counseling. Apart from professional assistance, sufferers can also supplement their treatment process by practicing simple lifestyle strategies. Although everyone can benefit from the pursuit of these lifestyle strategies, sufferers in particular will be able to make use of them to regulate their debilitating moods. Furthermore, as these lifestyle strategies are not accompanied by side effects, sufferers can use the first two strategies as frequently as needed.

Each of these lifestyle strategies described below will enable you to create a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle, without requiring a hefty investment of time, effort and money. However, in order to maximize the benefits of these lifestyle strategies, you need to practice them on a daily basis; there are no shortcuts. Once you have integrated them successfully into your daily life and transformed them into lifelong habits, doing them will be like second nature.

Conscious Breathing

Caught up in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily living, many of us have forgotten how to breathe properly. Conscious breathing entails taking slow and deep breaths from the diaphragm. As you inhale, your belly should expand like a balloon being inflated; conversely, when you exhale, your belly should contract like a deflating balloon. Through steady and rhythmic breathing, you will experience the gradual release of the tension in different parts of your body. If you do nothing else, just practising conscious breathing on a regular basis will already do wonders for your physical and mental well-being.

Alternative Healing Approaches

Many alternative healing approaches such as acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutsu offer simple, but effective, ways to induce a tranquil state of mind. All that is required is for you to place your hands and/or your fingers at specific locations, which will infuse you with a sense of calmness. Because of the subtle nature of these techniques and their “portability” (as you only need your hands), you can tap into their relaxing effects whenever and wherever you are. Even when you are walking amidst the maddening rush-hour human traffic, a common source of daily stress, you will be able to transcend the unpleasant effects of these circumstances.

For instance, as described in Michael Reed Gach’s Acupressure’s Potent Points, pressing your Third Eye point (an indentation between your eyebrows), while breathing consciously, will allow you to focus and center yourself. In The Touch of Healing, Alice Burmeister identifies energy points on the outer edges of your shoulder blades, close to your armpits, which can be reached by crossing your arms across your chest, in a self-hugging pose. Holding these energy points can also enable you to defuse feelings of disorientation and achieve peace and harmony.

Daily Exercise

Staying physically fit through daily exercise is especially important for individuals suffering from depression. Exercising releases serotonin that produces a natural ‘high’ to counter the feelings of lethargy commonly experienced in depression. Incorporating exercises into your daily life does not have to be a time-consuming or complicated endeavor. If you are not keen to exercise in a gym or in the outdoors, the availability of DVDs allows you to work out in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Regardless of which type of exercise/s that you choose, it is important to pick one that is compatible with your interest and your existing lifestyle. Thus you are likely to engage in your daily exercise in the long term.

Apart from taking medication and receiving counseling, sufferers of depression and other mood disorders should also consider supplementing their treatment with a healthy lifestyle consisting of simple, but effective strategies.

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