RESOURCES for a DEPRESSION Stress Response Style

A depressive stress response can be seen as an under-activation of the brain and the range of experiences can include a lack of energy, hopelessness, and negative self talk.  An important goal of tools and techniques for underactivation is to gently activate the nervous system to foster a sense of well-being.

This is not a complete list.  Rather, they are options to explore.  You don’t have to do them all. Begin with what is easiest for you and see what sticks.  This becomes your protocol to practice.


Gentle activation of the nervous system:  Gentle rocking side to side, front/back, stretching right/left, front/back (laying down in savasana and arching and bridging the spine matching with inhale and exhale)


Regular sleep especially between 10p-6a.  No more than 10-15 minute naps. Investigate food allergies (inflammation - certain foods such as gluten, dairy, alcohol and sugar can exacerbate a depressive response).

Asana (physical yoga poses)

Gentle backbends, heart openers, restorative forward folds, side bends. Supported Relaxation Pose reduces depression-induced physical fatigue. Heat producing, vigorous movement including Sun Salutations, backbends, and inversions; practice chest-opening poses, such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Ustrasana (Camel Pose), and heart-opening poses, such as Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Pranayama (Breathwork)

1) Full complete diaphragmatic breath, 2) slow nasal breathing, in through right nostril, out through left 3) holding breath at bottom of exhale to comfort level, 4) breathing to all 7 chakras especially 3rd (solar plexus) - full body breath. 5) “ha” exhale - energized laugh sound to activate the solar plexus

Mudra (Hand Yoga)

Especially when other physical expressions are not available to you, hand yoga can help gently energize and lift a mood.  energy charging: shivalinga mudra (fist with thumb up on open palm), ynana mudra (thumb and index finger together with last three fingers extended)


Healing light dissolves everything that should be dissolved, illuminates every cell of my body and shows me the path


Breath in light or light color, breath out murky, gray, foggy energy. See warmth and fire grow in the pit of the belly

Meditation approach

Self compassion, self forgiveness, Full body awareness (embodiment)

Psychological Practice

Expressive writing, identifying negative beliefs and counter with alternative beliefs (mind traps). Identify the critic inside; write down something you criticize yourself about (the words you hear in your head).  Reflect on a) what does this do to me 2) what does this do for me. Visualizing and writing about what you’d like to see different (give your subconscious a different picture - images are the language of the subconscious.

Mindfulness Practice

Enjoying the mundane: mindful walking, mindful eating.  Eventually extend to other mindful activities of daily living.  Whole body awareness: Body scan 

Neuroscience Practice

Gratitude helps neutralize the negative default mode and the fight flight activation and response pattern.  Gaze into loved one’s eyes (person or animal friend). Take action: self care plan - nurturing activities. Savasana with weight on hip flexors, or abdomen, or lengthwise on top of body.  This added weight stimulates the vagus (rest-and-digest) nerve, feels grounding and creates a sense of being “held” in the pose.

**  These are practices meant to be done long-term and consistently (not everyday, but on a regular basis so it becomes a habit and a new way of life.  Otherwise, the effects will be temporary (not a bad thing, just not as transformational as it could be)