Depression Tool Kit

(Updated: 5/8/15)

These are all the tools that have helped me overcome depression. I will update the list as I learn of new tools. Hope they help you out.

Note: The quote “One man’s food is another man’s poison” applies here. I don’t know your specific issues, so it’s best to do your own research and ask a professional before following my advice. I could be wrong about something.

FYI, some doctors (allopathic) tend to only prescribe prescription psych drugs. I’m not a fan of this, but maybe it will work for you.

There are other doctors who use a holistic approach of looking at your diet, blood work, amino acids, exercise, social support etc to find a solution. Use the following keywords to find these types of doctors/psychiatrists: integrative, functional, osteopathic, holistic, naturopathic, orthomolecular, etc.

The causes of depression are varied. And the solutions will have to be tailored to your specific problems.

Mind

Problems: A negative thought loop or cognitive biases can cause depression.

Solutions: Talk Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Meditation (mindfulness, compassion, TM), Affirmations, Prayer, Journaling, The Work by Byron Katie, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Zen practice

Brain

Problems: Lack of certain nutrients, chemicals, neurotransmitters, or an illness can cause depression.

Solutions: fish oil, amino acids (5htp, tyrosine, gaba, dlpa), st johns wort, sam-e, ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, rhodiola, turmeric, b vitamins, niacin, vitamin d, psychedelic therapy (psilocybin, ayahuasca, mdma, lsd, etc), homeopathic medication, antidepressant medication

Body

Problems: Lack of nutrition or exercise, bad posture, poor breathing, inflammation, bad gut bacteria, illness, or something else can cause depression.

Solutions: clean diet (paleo diet, dolce diet, high fat low carb, low inflammation diet, mediterranean diet), power poses, good posture, tapping meridian points, acupuncture, changing physiology, high heat therapy, cold showers, exercise (aerobic/weight lifting), long walks, mindfulness breath, deep belly breathing, probiotic rich food

Environment

Problems: seasonal affective disorder (winter, lack of sunlight), where you live, stagnant air, lack of nature can cause depression.

Solutions:
10,000lux lightbox
Place near face (within 3 feet), 15-30minutes, 1-2 times a day.
Don’t stare right into the box but keep it near face & read a book, surf the net, or whatever it is you do. Best to use with your naked eye (no glasses or contacts). Intensity, If one lightbox works a little bit only, you may try multiple lightboxes. Maybe you need more light. According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal (discoverer of S.A.D.)

Full spectrum bulbs

Dawn simulator

High density negative ion generator
Expensive. Proven to work. I use it but can’t tell if it’s working. Negative ions are normally present in waterfalls, showers, nature. Helps with mood.

Take a vacation or move permanently to a sunny place.

Long walks in nature, forest bathing, gardening

misc: color therapy, aromatherapy, sound therapy, horse therapy

Social Support

Problem: being alone causes depression

Solutions: meetups, therapy, friends, family, pets, volunteering, support groups

Spirituality

Problems: not following your passion, or lack of a spiritual connection can cause depression.

Solutions: prayer, being creative, cultivating spiritual life (reading, listening, watching), following your bliss, love yourself, having ethics & morals, being generous, helping others, etc

Updates:
3/9/15: Depression is like a Flu

5/8/15: My Depression Cure Steps

Depending on how depressed I feel, I may do some or all of these steps. I want to share some of them here, it may help you out.

PS: Other than weight loss, I treat overcoming (or coping with) depression as a full time job. And these days I feel super good. If I forget to do some of my daily routines, I may slip down for a day or two. This is unlike in the past where I would be down & out for months at a time.

1. Take the Burns Depression Scale to see how depressed I am.
Scale created by Dr. David Burns, author of Feeling Good.
“Rated as the most helpful book on depression – the most frequently recommended by American mental health professionals. The antidepressant effects of Feeling Good appear to be as strong as antidepressant medications or individual psychotherapy for patients suffering from episodes of major depression.”

2. Do some cognitive behavior therapy at home.
All it takes is pen & paper. Every time I’m depressed, I have a bunch of irrational thoughts in my mind. I write out the irrational thought, then write a more rational one next to it. Also known as reframing. All of this is explained in Feeling Good book and tons of do-it-yourself CBT websites.

Writing a list of good things in my life can also help (gratitude journal, list of positive aspects).

3. Take my mood supplements.
Things like 5htp, Tyrosine, Gaba, DLPA, high dose fish oil, niacin, vitamin c, vitamin d, and a bunch of other stuff. The best book on this is The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

Coffee
For some people, 2-4 cups of coffee can help with depression. Coffee can also cause a rollercoaster of mood & make depression worse for some. I drink 1-2 cups a day and feel good. I also take 5htp to make up for the serotonin loss.
“Caffeine can immediately improve the mood by stimulating dopamine, although it depletes serotonin over time, which will ultimately cause you to feel worse.”
how caffeine affects brain chemistry

4. Physical Cures
– See if I have poor posture and improve it.
– Do some deep belly breathing.
– Jump in my Far Infrared Sauna because heating skin can help depression.
– Take a cold shower if I’m desperate enough, because this also helps.
– I’ll do some EFT tapping if I feel like it.
– Make sure I’ve eaten well, drank enough water, etc. Low blood sugar dips mood.
– Make sure I get bright light. I use three lightboxes at once. Three definitely works on my mood while one box alone barely did anything. Sunlight also helps.
– Go for a walk in a forest preserve or somewhere with tons of nature. I do this when I’m already feeling good. I find if I’m too depressed, it’s hard to get out.
– Exercise and get heart beat up. This also I do when feeling already good to feel better. Once depressed, hard to do.

5. Seek out spiritual & depression related stuff
I look for talks, articles & books on depression by: buddhism, stoicism, abraham hicks, bashar, eckhart tolle, byron katie, louise hay, ted talks, podcasts, doctors, therapists, people who have overcome, etc. This definitely helps.

6. Seek outside help
If it becomes unmanageable, I’ll go to a therapist. Sometimes it takes a 3rd party to help us realize we have irrational thoughts that are weighing us down.

This is rare for me now because I’ve been researching depression for 14yrs+. I find I know as much, if not more, than most of the therapists I meet. In the beginning though, I would seek out therapists.

It’s important to keep trying different therapists until you find one that fits your style. Male vs Female. Young vs Old. Confrontational vs Passive vs Collaborative. Talk therapy vs Cognitive Behavior Therapy vs Holistic methods vs Other. Maybe medication will help?

Most efficient activities for depression:
Things that work best for me are doing some reframing in a journal, taking mood supplements, coffee, and getting enough bright light.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jacob John May 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm

So I found your podcast while I was bored searching for new material. I instantly related to you.

1)With your weight loss success(Congrats by the way) I too went came down from around 200 pounds to now 150.

2) I’m also indian :)

Well I recommended you to my brother in law and some friends. You seem like a cool dude and being that I too look for the best products and things to combat depression. Keep in touch if you ever want to talk.

Well I guess keep up the good work! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment