How to Move Out of Your Depression

Last week we spoke about the sneaky feelings that cause those very bad, no good days; but what about the absence of feeling? I’m talking about apathy, a symptom of depression, when we feel nothing, care about nothing and want to sleep all the live long day. What I’ve learned about depression is there’s an antidote to apathy and it’s called action. Of course, action is the last thing we want to do when depression robs us of our zest. But it is also the solution to our apathetic state.  

There’s almost always an impulse to do something beneficial (and it’s not to sleep all day); the problem is we don’t feel like doing it. When we are depressed, the flow of energy has been plugged up and this stagnant state leaves us lagging without the faintest emotion to emit. Enter in apathy.

To get out of the cycle of depression and counter the effects of apathy, we need to do the thing we most do not want to do. It is likely you know what to do (based on intuitive hits) , but the zapped energy makes it seem impossible to do the thing you should do but simply don’t feel up to. The thought of what it takes to do the thing feels impossible.

When we don’t feel like something, it’s time to just do it. It’s time to be the parent to our depression and say, “I know you don’t feel like it, but you need to do it anyway.” I am all for surrendering to how we feel without exorbitant force (lazy days on the couch and Netflix binges have their place), but when there’s no feeling at all for a prolonged period, action is the only way to spark the life force back into us. 

When it comes to the intuitive idea of ours, we build up such resistance in our mind leading up to the doing part when the thing we should do is quite simple. If we can combat our resistance (which can look a lot like excuses e.g. “I just don’t feel up to it”), one little action can set up a snowball sequence that will slowly but surely make us feel again.

That’s the thing about intuition—we know what’s needed to feel good, to feed our soul— we just need to listen to our hunch and follow through (without our thoughts halting the action from happening). You’ll be shocked at how much better you start to feel when you follow your intuition and take action. I’ve experienced the phenomena of inertia multiple times and can attest to its effectiveness). To get into action, you only have to consider the first step (and let nature take its course).

Here’s a list of what I do to encourage the flow of feelings:

  • Take a walk (when weather permits)

  • Be in spiritual community

  • Pray

  • Draw or paint 

  • Have a dance party in the living room

  • Play with my dog

  • Go to the library and grab a new book

  • Phone a friend

  • Help someone in need

  • Volunteer

  • Make a hearty stew that will last all week 

  • Read something inspiring 

  • Watch funny videos on YouTube such as this one

  • Write out my thoughts and feelings in a journal 

  • Take a day trip to a special place of significance to me 

  • Go to yoga

  • Organize an area in my home

  • Cross off pressing items on my to-do list

  • Finish a project I’ve procrastinated on

Your version of this list can include anything that taps into your vital life force energy, gets you moving and feeling what’s trapped within you and sparks something in your soul. You may not feel or sense anything in the moments you’re doing, but there will be a build up of momentum that will stir up what’s suppressed inside you. 

Trust in the process and know that doing (even if you don’t want to, even if you think it’s “stupid” or “pointless”) will lead to feeling something again. Feeling something might look like the agonizing frustration that’s been billowing inside you or the painful loss you’re unable to process; whatever it is, remember that the doing that leads to feeling (even if it’s something you’d rather not feel) will get you to feeling more lightness, peace and happiness, so long as you submit to doing what your soul is calling you to. 

What is the one idea that keeps repeating in your mind that can encourage the flow of feelings?