Antidotes for Depression and Darkness

Yesterday was a dark day in the U.S. We woke up to the news of the largest gun massacre in recent history. Over 50 people killed and more than 500 injured all while attending an open-air, country-music concert in Las Vegas. 

I also found out yesterday of the sudden passing of a friend's husband over the weekend. His lifelong battle with addiction finally claimed him.

All of this, along with my own personal challenges and the lingering grief of my uncle's death, pushed me down into a depressed low. All day yesterday I had to work hard to pull myself out. And it's like the gloominess of world events whether here, or in Venezuela, had a grip on me.

So I want to share with you some of the tools I used yesterday and this morning to help myself climb out of that depressed hole. 

Some of you are lucky to not know the heaviness of depression at all. But for those of you who know what it's like to feel like you're wearing a lead coat, weighing down your mood and energy, here are some of the things that lifted me up little by little:

  • I went for 3 short walks yesterday.  Every time I felt like I couldn't stand to be inside my own skin, I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Invariably, each time I felt slightly better than before I left.
  • I focused my energy and attention on preparing a tasty dinner. So I thawed some fish and pulled out an old recipe. I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I substituted some things and it came out amazing! You can find it here: Cashew-crusted fish.
  • I prayed. I don't often pray in the conventional way, but yesterday I found great comfort in simply praying, and asking for guidance and help. 
  • I did some journaling on my feelings and where they come from. I did the writing exercise that I taught during my forgiveness class the other night. 
  • I put my phone down after dinner and didn't go on social media last night. This is huge. Our phones and devices have a depressing effect on the brain. 
  • I did a longer meditation this morning.  

And super importantly, both last night and this morning I heard an inner voice remind me of the importance of focusing on service. 

Focusing on ourselves, our personal problems or the world's problems will have a depressing effect.

But focusing on others, how we can help them, and what small actions we can DO will have an uplifting effect.

This is why focusing on making dinner helped.

This is why today I'm going to reach out to a couple people who I think I can help and offer them something special. I hadn't ever thought of doing a group for anxiety but recently several people have asked for help with this, but they can't afford my rates. Then yesterday, I was struck with the thought that if we do a group solely focused on anxiety, I can make it really cheap for them so they can get the support they need. 

Volunteering is another avenue that is hugely up-lifting. 

So if you're feeling down, because of your own challenges in your life, or because of the darkness that seems to be going on all over the world, then be sure to take some small steps.

Go for a walk. Make a delicious dinner. Pray. Meditate. Journal. Volunteer. Take a break from social media, and get away from your phone.

To climb out of any dark hole, you need to get moving.