Read time: 6 min.
Issue 13 * 24 February 2024

Unlocking Happiness: Expert Strategies for Overcoming Depression

Goldster Presenter and Human Givens psychotherapist Lee Pycroft and Goldster success and happiness psychologist Kath Temple talk about strategies for mitigating depression.

Lee Pycroft & Kath Temple

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Understanding Depression

It’s that time of year when low mood can be an all too familiar feeling. And we’re not on our own. According to Goldster experts Lee Pycroft and Kath Temple, there has been a ten times higher incidence of depression in post-war generations and the since Covid 19 lockdown in particular many more millions of prescriptions for anti-depressants have been written. “I checked in with the ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures, we used to say that 1 in 6 people suffered with depression,” states Kath Temple, “but the ONS says that that stat is now 1 in 4 in the United Kingdom. That’s high.”

Strategies for Alleviating Depression

So what can be done? And moreover, what can we do for ourselves that doesn’t involve getting a prescription for medication? According to Kath Temple “In our practice, we look at people’s unmet needs. I rather like the Human Givens model because it puts people – rather than being passive recipients of a drug – it puts them in the role of agent that they have the power to change their lives by meeting their unmet needs.”

Kath and Lee both agree on what these deep psychological needs are: “Safety and security, autonomy and control,” lists Lee, “a need for connection and intimacy, to give and receive attention, for accomplishment, a sense of status - to feel of value in a community, a sense of meaning and purpose - cause if we can assign a greater meaning to our struggles and believe in something bigger than ourselves that can help us overcome our challenges and also a need for privacy.”

“Privacy and having some time to ourselves to daydream, to consolidate information, to allow new learnings to bed in - those are the basic emotional needs everybody has,” concludes Lee.

“Yes, we need privacy to be able to reflect on things – not always easy,” adds Kath.

Addressing Unmet Needs

Lee and Kath suggest you do an audit of these needs and evaluate if you’re meeting each one - on a scale of zero to ten - to find out how you can improve your life and address an issue like depression.

“Depression is caused by worry and negative ruminations,” says Kath “overthinking, negative introspection and going over and over the same ground. And when our emotional needs are not met in balance this is what can happen”

Depressed people often wake up exhausted. “In normal sleep cycles, you would spend about 25% of your sleep time in dream sleep, what we call REM sleep, rapid eye movement sleep,” Kath continues. “But for 75% of the time, when you’re not depressed, you would be in a delta wave sleep which is a slow wave healing sleep, regenerating, rejuvenating the body.” With depression, she explains that 75% of your time sleeping is spent dreaming and only 25% is spent in delta, the regeneration sleep. ”This is why people wake up exhausted.” Of course, Goldster has classes and courses where you can improve your sleep quality and quantity by learning to actively relax.

Holistic Approaches to Manage Depression

Breathing can also be another good place to start. “One of the simplest and clinically proven ways to flip the switch of the nervous system and lower the emotional arousal that comes with depression is a breathing technique such as 7-11” affirms Kath. “When you breathe out for at least two counts longer than you breathe in, this will mobilise that relaxation response in the nervous system and be the gateway to feeling calmer and more open to new possibilities”

Human touch can be vital too. “I always say you need four hugs a day to survive, twelve to thrive,” Kath reckons and you can book in for a massage or even hug yourself or self-massage to make a difference.

“One of the loveliest ways to exercise is of course to dance and put some music on as you do,” is another of Kath’s tips. “Create a happy playlist. Music sounds how your feelings feel and can be a quick way to shift your emotional state. Music is vibrational energy. You can get some anthems on – Bruce Springsteen Born to Run, and Coldplay Viva La Vida. You’ll want to dance all around your house, dancing around the kitchen and it will begin to lift and shift your energy.”

According to Kath, food is medicine as well. “Eating oily fish two to three times a week has been proven to help shift depression on its own without other interventions. So oily fish things like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and so on. Or if you don’t like any of those things then get a good Omega three oil from all good health food shops.”

So here are some tips and some ideas for places to start with depression from our Goldster experts Kath and Lee. Educate yourself about depression and use these tools. After all the only way is up.