January 2, 2015

Feeling Depressed? The 4-Question Cure.


*DisclaimerElephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment.


Feeling down? Feeling blue? Feeling heartbroken? Hurt? Angry?

Dr. Angeles Arrien, the phenomenal cultural anthropologist, outlines four questions used in indigenous societies by shamans and medicine workers to diagnose the depressed and heartbroken:

  1. When did you stop dancing?
  2. When did you stop singing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
  4. When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Here are some suggested prescriptions to help shift your energy and soothe your soul:


“If you just set people in motion, they’ll heal themselves,”

~ Gabrielle Roth

Dance in your room, dance in your shower, dance in the car. Close the door of your office or the break room and dance some more. Dance while you’re cooking supper. You can dance even as you sit in your chair, or if you’re brave and don’t care if anyone’s watching, “dancewalk” as you go down the street.


“Singing is a way of escaping. It’s another world. I’m no longer on Earth.”

~ Edith Piaf

Strike a pose with your posture, connect with your breath, and put on a favorite jam you can belt it out to. Have a playlist ready of your favorite songs for easy access. I personally like to put on Aretha, Tina Turner, or some AC/DC (as my neighbors can attest to!)

Adele is perfect for breakups. Let it out.

Pick a soundtrack to match your mood and give yourself permission to feel it all.


“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

~ Phillip Pullman

Go out and see a movie. Write down your favorite story about growing up and share it with a friend. Call up an older relative and ask them what they’ve learned along the way.

Find meaning and solace through the oldest form of human connection.


“Silence is a true friend who never betrays,”

~ Confucius

Get lost. Be present. In nature. In the company of others.

Take a day when you don’t have to work, and wear a badge that says “I’m in silence today”. If someone talks to you, all you have to do is point at the sign.

Or, just find space and time where you don’t have to interact. Meditate for five minutes, or ten, or fifty. Go for a walk in the nighttime where the stillness surrounds you and becomes a secret friend.

And here’s a bonus one for you!


“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine,”

~ Lord Byron

Laughter reduces stress, protects the heart, increases immune functioning and so much more. Watch a comedy like “What About Bob?” or get together with your silliest friend.


Pick just one, or do them all. These tools are always available to you and they don’t cost a thing (unless you go to the theater).

Treat yourself to the solace and joys of the human experience.


Bonus:The Simple Buddhist Trick to being Happy.



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Author: Kristi Kremers

Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: Alina Perekatenkova/Unsplash

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