Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

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Nosta
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Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:32 pm

What kind of practices are the best to fight depression and sadness?

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Vasana
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Vasana » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:01 pm

Explore the nature of the hope and fear ,attachment and a version that are usually at the root.

Pray

Imo, you should explore non-Buddhist modes too such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Not to mention diet,excercise etc

The sadness has causes and conditions so naturally those causes and thoughts need to be unravelled to see where you're caught. To untie a knot it helps to know how it was tied.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Luke
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Luke » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:02 pm

I am of limited knowledge, but I think that reflecting on the impermanence of bad situations can be helpful. Because, as Buddhism points out, all compound phenomena are impermanent.

For example, lots of people had bad childhoods, but now have much better lives than they could have imagined previously; WWII really sucked, but it eventually ended, etc.

Another thing to point out is that the same kinds of meditations can affect different depressed people differently. Sometimes it is bad if depressed people meditate without a teacher because the meditation can cause them to be more depressed or cause negative memories to surface, so very depressed people should proceed cautiously with meditation and find a good Buddhist teacher if at all possible.

Of course, reciting simple prayers like the refuge prayer could be helpful. I once heard a lama say that if someone is in a very scary and confused hell-like state of mind, they should just recite the refuge prayer (the Tibetan Buddhists have both short and long forms of it, I think).

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Vasana
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Vasana » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:03 pm

Explore the nature of the hope and fear ,attachment and a version that are usually at the root.

Pray. To your Guru if you have one, if not then to Tara,Chenrezig and so on. Make the aspiration that the depression at least be beneficial in some way ,even if very indirectly. Disappointment is a feature of Samsara afterall.

Imo, you should explore non-Buddhist modes too such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Not to mention diet,excercise etc

The sadness has causes and conditions so naturally those causes and thoughts need to be unravelled to see where you're caught. To untie a knot it helps to know how it was tied.

Be compassionate and patient with yourself during the process.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Miroku » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:22 pm

Hi,

from my experience when I was feeling down for a long period of time just sitting helped me a lot. DJKR explains it here http://iloapp.lotus-bodhi.de/blog/blog? ... 652933.pdf.

Then maybe try to develop loving kindness and bodhicita towards yourself and others. :smile:

Hope it helps.
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Nosta
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:01 am

I am asking this to read more ideas, but sometimes it works to concentrate (when I am able to do so, and thats rare) on my breath or just on Amitabha name. Nevertheless, it seems to take a lot to get some results.

What about other ideas, like specific breath exercises, specific mantras to counteract depression, etc?

Thanks for all the posts so far.

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:27 am

Nosta wrote:I am asking this to read more ideas, but sometimes it works to concentrate (when I am able to do so, and thats rare) on my breath or just on Amitabha name. Nevertheless, it seems to take a lot to get some results.

What about other ideas, like specific breath exercises, specific mantras to counteract depression, etc?

Thanks for all the posts so far.

The basics mentioned, Tonglen etc. have been helpful for me.....

Other stuff has worked for me when I was given them:

Try to examine negative emotions and their presence in your body, zero in on where you feel them, what their "color" is, texture is, then you can examine where they come and go..etc. You can also try to figure out whether they are indeed "in your mind" or "in your body" experientially. Next, you can examine your body as you experience it, look "around" the area of the emotion, and see what kind of space is there, find what *isn't* the negative emotion.

Some other simple ones I've learned from one of my teachers who is also a psychologist: pause every so often and just ask "what am I experiencing right now", with no expectations at all.

When you experience a negative emotion, pause, and notice when you mentally say "I am depressed" (or angry or whatever), and try to gently change that to "I am experiencing low feelings (anger etc.) right now"

Also, I don't necessarily look at it as "mediation for depression", it is actually just meditation, and depression (or whatever) is what we are working with at the time. Doesn't need to be formal, difficult, or prescribed.
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by White Lotus » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:00 pm

be aware of how you are feeling and aware of your thoughts... mindfulness. as you progress in mindfulness you will come to recognise what causes certain feelings and know then that you are over indulging in these feelings. usually feelings are generated by thoughts about something. so be aware of what you are thinking and feeling. dont try to make the sad or difficult feelings go away, just observe them gently until they fade.

it can be ok to be sad or depressed sometimes in order to be human, but to over indulge in such feelings and difficult thoughts is not helpful. it helps to have things to do... a daily routine. some time praying, a time of meditation and some time to do some sort of work whatever that may be. having some nice things you enjoy can also act as a distraction to take your mind off your sadness. if im having a bad day i will usually do something nice for myself, it could be going for a meal in a cafe or listening to an interesting talk, listening to some music or watching a favourite film... be kind to yourself.

it can also help to tell a friend how you are feeling, but keep it as short as saying "im having a difficult day today" then change the subject. people find it hard to listen to others suffering, they want to hear positive things.

its important to get a good nights sleep and having a hot drink such as Ovaltine or Horlicks can really help. worrying about something can prevent a good nights sleep, Ovaltine or horlicks will make you sleep. but only drink it when you are unable to sleep.

as you develop in your practice things will probably get easier for you. with the cessation of monkey mind for example you are not bombarded by distracting thoughts, but then you have to deal with emotional chatter which is more subtle than mental chatter. slowly slowly. pacifying the heart and mind. thats what its all about.

dont only be kind to others, that can lead to problems, also consider yourself when you consider others.

if the sadness becomes unbearable it would be wise to tell you'r local doctor and she may be able to help you better than anyone.

for me the ultimate in dealing with life has been and is mindfulness, and having people who i value and love.

it can be a hard journey but you can make it easier. you will learn. just dont give up. :consoling:
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:34 pm

Thanks all of you :)

I think that, as White Lotus said, I may be needing some medication. I am still a very weak person (I mean, far far away from being a good meditator), so I think that I may be needing to ask for profissional help...

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Kaccāni » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:58 pm

If you sit there in meditation, and watch all those negative thoughts and notice that the drowning feeling simply does not want to go away: Go get help.
Or if you are sitting in meditation and more and more enter a dull state that is somehow emotionless but at the same time traps you in passivity: Go get help.
Or if returning attention to the present moment just won't make the feelings any better to handle: Go get help.
Or if you're circling in thoughts that this all isn't going to get any better and your self esteem or will to go on with it can be doubted: Go get help.

If you don't know what else you could try: Go get help.

In all other cases: Go get help.

Best
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by AlexMcLeod » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:28 am

Kaccāni wrote:Go get help.
I have removed the unnecessary portion. This is the best advice one can give from a distance. While you wait for your appointment to get help, get outside, be more physically active in nature, and possibly look into the Emotion Code, but none of that is a substitute for hands on, professional assistance.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by ratna » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:19 am

You might want to look into mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (it's not Buddhist as such, but inspired by Buddhist meditation). There's solid evidence of its efficacy in treating depression and preventing relapse. But do also go see a (Western or Tibetan) doctor.

R

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:39 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Nosta wrote:I am asking this to read more ideas, but sometimes it works to concentrate (when I am able to do so, and thats rare) on my breath or just on Amitabha name. Nevertheless, it seems to take a lot to get some results.

What about other ideas, like specific breath exercises, specific mantras to counteract depression, etc?

Thanks for all the posts so far.

The basics mentioned, Tonglen etc. have been helpful for me.....

Other stuff has worked for me when I was given them:

Try to examine negative emotions and their presence in your body, zero in on where you feel them, what their "color" is, texture is, then you can examine where they come and go..etc. You can also try to figure out whether they are indeed "in your mind" or "in your body" experientially. Next, you can examine your body as you experience it, look "around" the area of the emotion, and see what kind of space is there, find what *isn't* the negative emotion.

Some other simple ones I've learned from one of my teachers who is also a psychologist: pause every so often and just ask "what am I experiencing right now", with no expectations at all.

When you experience a negative emotion, pause, and notice when you mentally say "I am depressed" (or angry or whatever), and try to gently change that to "I am experiencing low feelings (anger etc.) right now"

Also, I don't necessarily look at it as "mediation for depression", it is actually just meditation, and depression (or whatever) is what we are working with at the time. Doesn't need to be formal, difficult, or prescribed.
:good:

And also prostrations, chanting, breath focus, hara/daitien focus and choice less awareness.

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by muni » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:31 am

The posts here above remind me on the different ways how to look to experienced emotions and feelings.
Then also maybe: watch like a mother to her sad children. In that way you watch the experiences in body and mind and with that watching “from distance” you embrace the feelings, the emotions. As then you create a distance and act compassionately. This created distance also prevents that we go to be dragged into the emotions and feelings or go to identify with them. In any case to look for professional help to find harmony is a good thing to be done.

All the best. :smile:
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by MalaBeads » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:38 pm

muni wrote:The posts here above remind me on the different ways how to look to experienced emotions and feelings.
Then also maybe: watch like a mother to her sad children. In that way you watch the experiences in body and mind and with that watching “from distance” you embrace the feelings, the emotions. As then you create a distance and act compassionately. This created distance also prevents that we go to be dragged into the emotions and feelings or go to identify with them. In any case to look for professional help to find harmony is a good thing to be done.

All the best. :smile:
Thats interesting muni.

I heard lama chime say a similiar thing once. He said 'you need more distance between you and what happens to you. As a result, I have always looked for this distance.

Thank you.
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:14 pm

Many interesting answers so far, thanks a lot!

I will check the book ;)

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:27 am

Hi, Nosta. Very sorry to hear about your troubles, I know them well as depression runs in my family.
As a fellow nembutsu practitioner, it's sometimes hard for me to reconcile exclusive nembutsu with experiencing such issues.
It may seem like "why am I practicing this if it does not make me happy?"

I have heard that nembutsu is partly a purification practice, one may experience premature ripening of karma in a lessened form. For instance, instead of a serious illness maybe we get a cold. Instead of yelling at someone, we become aware of an angry thought first.
What that actually means to me: nembutsu may both reveal subtle, latent suffering before it rises to unskillful action, as well as increase awareness of truths about the world and ourselves we are not always perfectly ready to handle.
The result can sometimes be unpleasant, yet completely necessary.
I have personally been wrestling with detachment versus aversion, the latter having a very strong chemical reaction with some other bad mental habits I have.
I also notice I tend forget all the kindnesses of others and blessings of practice in the moments of deep sadness. It can be helpful to notice if you have the same tendencies.

To help balance this, I also meditate in the mornings.
Specifically, I practice zazen as taught in the book "Opening the hand of thought".
I find it is explained in such a way avoids making plans to become enlightened through zazen, so I can keep my focus on nembutsu in terms of overall daily practice.
Just as rest for the body is vital, I think some form of rest for emotions and thoughts is vital too.
For me, zazen accomplishes that.
Since I practice nembutsu first and foremost, I begin and conclude each zazen session with some recitations.

Good luck to you in getting through things :)
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Nosta
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:55 am

Thanks, really good advices Monlam, really :)

I dont know to much about zazen, I think I must search some book or text to understand it better. I know some concepts behind zazen, but not completly how to apply it in my practice (I mean, I understand some theory on zazen, and only that).

Nembutsu may be rippening some karma, who knows, but I will keep doing it :)

At a few days ago I noticed that physical exercise is great to fight depression, specially strong exercises ;)

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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:35 am

Physical exercise is very good indeed, I think there are many studies that show that, and I also know it from experience. I used to jog long distances, actually I still do, but I'm in my sixth decade now so I don't go very fast. But it really is beneficial.

Another piece of advise, is that when you're down (as we all are at times) then everything seems grey - there doesn't seem to be any reason to be cheerfull, it all looks grey.

But, know that this will pass, as it is a feeling, and feelings always do. Understand that this feeling is what is colouring your view at that time, and that it will pass, as everything does.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Nosta
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Re: Buddhist way to counteract depression/sadness

Post by Nosta » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:11 pm

Sometimes I have the strenght to think like that indeed: it will pass. But many times I am really down, and that will not work.

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