Six Ideas for Alleviating Depression and Stress

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Both Eastern and Western medicine and philosophy can help us deal with stress and symptoms of depression.

Looking East, the Dalai Lama has some practical suggestions for countering stress and depression. He offers no quick fixes, but focuses on cultivating behavior and thought habits that support our desire for well-being and happiness, even as we struggle.

The Dalai Lama: Six Ways To Reduce Depression

  1. In developed countries there is much mental unrest that leads to problems with drugs and alcohol, feelings of frustration, unnecessary quarreling, and sometimes to suicide. There is no assurance that getting the things we desire will stir our sense of joy or fulfillment. Yet, by remembering our amazing human intelligence and capacity for positive determined effort, we can preserve the foundation of our mental health. This recognition provides strength and hope to face any situation.
  2. If a problem has the possibility of being remedied or resolved there is no need to worry about it, or be overwhelmed by it. The sensible course of action is to focus our energy on finding a workable solution. If a dilemma does not have a solution or resolution, there is also no point in worrying over it. Acceptance of the situation will make it easier to bear.
  3. By cultivating a sincere motivation to help others with compassion and respect, we can function more effectively in whatever we do, with less worry, anxiety, or fear of others’ opinions. Then, if our efforts fail, do not meet our expectations, or if we succeed, we can feel good about the effort we made.
  4. During times when our life seems a disappointment or is overwhelming, we can lift our own spirit by contemplating the good fortune we have had. Good fortune might include getting our basic needs me (food, clothing shelter), receiving a decent education, kindness we have given and received, our own talents, and those of people close to us. It is vital we do what we can to keep ourselves from sinking further into anxiety or despair.
  5. Anger, hatred, lust, pride, envy, and greed disrupt our desire for, and experience of happiness. It is normal to have negative thoughts and feelings sometimes, but allowing them to dictate our actions usually leads to destructive behavior and unpleasant consequences.
  6. Fortunately, the human mind has the capacity for transformation. We can develop concern for others and learn to change adversity to an advantage. Patterns of thought that steer problems toward happiness help us to live with dignity when faced with dilemmas. Our own peace and happiness are increased, and we influence the happiness of others.
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    Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar / flickr

 
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