When you're feeling blue and down in the dumps, instead of sprialling downward, get up and get moving. Exercise improves depression. In fact, some studies have even shown that exercise can be more effective than prescription antidepressants in preventing depression relapses (Psychomatic Medcine; 2000; 62, 633-38). Most recently, a study in Neuropsychopharmacology (2006; 21, 256-64) has confirmed that exercise stimulates new brain cell growth, which can explain why working out makes us feel better. Has exercise helped you or someone you know deal with depression? We'd love to hear.
I don't suffer with depression, but I am an anxious soul. I know that if I start feeling anxiety...I just need to go and do my Ashtanga yoga workout and I will feel ten times better! In fact, just this morning I was feelin anxious and then I went to yoga. At this very moment, I really don't feel any anxiety at all!
I think that there's something about bringing awareness to the present moment and the body that has the power to at least temporarily lift a person out of their depression. I'm a fairly cerebral, introverted person, and I think this has something to do with my battle with depression over the years. I'm in my mind and thoughts a lot, and at times, the obsessive train of negative thinking can bog one down in depression to the extent that they are completely oblivious of what's really going on (i.e., the cold hard facts rather than the blown-out-of-proportion perceptions). I love yoga and exercise for the simple reason that it brings me out of the incessant thoughts and roots me in something real and very grounding--my body.
I find walking helps my depression. It makes me get out of the house, I feel I am doing something towards weight reduction and this makes me feel better about myself. Even if I don't lose weight immediately, I often feel that I look better after walking.