What can you do to self-help your moods that may help you avoid medication for depression, or lower your dose, or get you singing in the shower again, or yelling at your mate less?

These are called positive activity interventions (PAIs), and they are now found to offer a safe, low-cost, and self-administered approach to managing depression. PAIs offer hope to individuals with depressive disorders who do not respond or have access to adequate medical therapy, or perhaps even for those that want to try to get off meds.

More than 100 million people around the globe suffer from depression. An estimated 70-90% either do not receive sufficient medical treatment, do not respond to therapy, or may have negative side effects like bone loss and GERD (reflux disease).

A huge review of the medical literature covering the effectiveness of PAIs in treating depression were shown to improve or relieve depression!

Examples of PIAs (all of which folks can do themselves without professional help):

  • Counting one’s blessings (gratitude exercises)
  • Practicing optimism, (smile, fake it till you make it)
  • Performing acts of kindness (giving to others also gives back to you)
  • And using one’s unique strengths (lean on what you are good at; if you give good neck massages, go around giving a few, see the good vibes you get back immediately).

The authors state that this is ground-breaking work to help folks help themselves. (Of course, psychologists, new-thought churches, most religions, and lots of alternative folks have been saying this for years.)(The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2011)