When you have someone to please, it keeps you on your toes, and you are happier. But if your goal is just to please yourself, depression is sure to follow. 

The mantra for depression is – “What about me, what about me?”. Instead, each one of us should take responsibility for creating an uplifting atmosphere 

What can really help in coming out of depression is developing an attitude of service. Thinking ‘What can I do for society?’, getting involved in a bigger cause shifts the whole focus of life and can take one out of the rut of ‘What about me?’. Societies, where values of service, sacrifice and community participation are ingrained do not have issues of depression and suicides. 

Depression is a sign of a static understanding of life. When you feel everything in life is dead, static, there is nothing more, nowhere to go, that is when you get depressed.

When energy goes down, you get depressed. When the prana is high, you are happier. Through proper breathing exercises, some meditation and good and loving company, the lifeforce energy can rise up. 

Worry big

Just look at your own life. If you live on this planet for 80 years, out of that, 40 years is gone in sleep and rest. Ten years are spent in bathrooms and toilets. Eight years are gone in eating and drinking and another two years in traffic jams. Life is running out very fast, and suddenly, you wake up one day and see it all as a dream. When you have this broader vision, then petty things will not bother you. 

What we are bothered about are small things. Are we bothered about why global warming is happening? 

A speck of dust is good enough to obscure your vision of infinity. In the same way, you have so much wealth inside of you, but the petty things in the mind obscure all of it. 

But when we have a broader vision, you will see little problems as challenges. You will start thinking about bigger challenges and look at the world as a playfield. A sense of responsibility comes, and wisdom will dawn on you, so you start thinking about how you can leave the planet in a better place for the next generation. 

When you find life is meaningless, a sense of emptiness comes within you, and then you get depressed. This is a serious problem the world over. In the UK, 18 per cent of the population is suffering from loneliness and depression. They have a loneliness minister to tackle this problem. 

The World Economic Forum recently said depression has a big mental health impact on the planet. The business community is realizing this, and it’s a welcome sign. 

Lack of idealism is the main cause of depression among the youth today. Life appears to be so meaningless to these children, who are either too scared of the competitive world or bogged down by heavy stimuli. They need inspiration. Spirituality is that inspiration that can keep the spirit up. 

Fight the blues

Aggression is the antidote to depression. Depression sets in if there is a lack of zeal to fight. Depression is a lack of energy, and anger and aggression are a bolt of energy. In the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna was depressed, Krishna inspired him to fight and thus reinstated life back in Arjuna. If you are depressed, just fight for a cause, any cause. But if aggression crosses a certain limit, it leads you back into depression. That’s what happened with King Ashoka, who won the Kalinga war but became depressed. He had to take refuge in Buddha. 

Wise are those who do not fall into aggression or depression. That’s the golden line of a Yogi. Just wake up and acknowledge you are a Yogi.

Spirituality is the uplifting of one’s spirits through meditation, service, knowledge and wisdom. Depression can be overcome by spirituality.  

In the past, young people had something to look for. They had the whole world to explore. There were goals to achieve. Today, without any effort, those experiences have come to the youth at their fingertips. With the internet now they have experience of everything in the world. Even children speak as if they have seen the entire world. 

They have more experiences than their mind and senses can handle, and they get disillusioned with everything very fast. If they are put on the right track, they will explore more and become more creative. If they are not given this direction, then aggression and depression set in at an early age. 

A little spiritual touch and value-based education, along with well-ingrained human values, will flip the whole thing to a very positive outcome. If this is lacking, then often addiction takes over among young people. Aggression, depression and anti-social tendencies will start creeping.

Turn loneliness into bliss

The word for solitude in Sanskrit is ekant, meaning ‘the end of loneliness’. Loneliness cannot end by changing companions, even if we find people who are more sympathetic and understanding. It can only end when you discover your real nature for yourself. Only spiritual solace can take one out of despair and misery. 

Wealth, admiration and external validation and adulation are not helpful in dealing with inner discontent. You can bid goodbye to misery by connecting with an altogether different dimension, a solidified silence, a bolt of bliss and a glimpse of eternity, which is in you and as you. You simply have to tap into it. 

There is little use in having a machine which you cannot operate without a manual. Spiritual knowledge is like the manual for life. Just like driving a car, we have to learn how to operate the steering wheel, the clutch, the brake and so on, to move towards stability of the mind, we must know the basic principles of our life force energy. This is the whole science of pranayama

When our prana or life force keeps fluctuating, our mind also goes up and down through the roller coaster of emotions. One cannot handle the mind from the level of the mind. Just forcing positive thoughts on oneself is not enough and, more often than not, leads to a relapse. 

Medication like anti-depressants seems to help only in the beginning and eventually make the person dependent on them rather than free him/her from the tendency. This is where knowing the secret of breath can really transform lives. 

Breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya stabilise our life force and, consequently the mind. The inner dimension unveiled by the practise of meditation deeply enriches us, and its impact slowly spills over to all aspects of life. 

Why suicide is no escape

Life is a combination of happiness and pain. Pain is inevitable but suffering remains optional. Having a broad perspective on life gives you the strength to move forward through painful times. Know that you are very much needed in this world. With all its infinite possibilities, this life is a gift, for it can become a fountain of joy and happiness not just for oneself but for many others as well.

People commit suicide to escape misery, but they do not realise it puts them in greater misery. It is like someone is shivering in the cold, and he goes out and removes his jacket. Will the cold become any less? 

People who commit suicide find themselves there because they are so attached to life. They are so attached to some pleasure, to some joy, that they want to kill themselves. And when they kill themselves, they find they are in a bigger soup. They feel, ‘Oh my God, this restlessness, these desires which had created such intense agony inside me have not gone. My body has gone, but the agony has remained.”

It is only through the body that you can dispel the agony and get rid of misery. Instead, you destroy the very instrument by which you can get rid of agony. When energy goes down, you get depressed, and when it goes further down, suicidal tendencies arise. When the prana is high, this thought will not come. You will not be violent to yourself or others when your prana is high. Through proper breathing exercises, some meditation and through good and loving company, energy can go up. 

Anyone with suicidal tendencies should be led to someone who can teach them meditation who can make them do some breathing exercises and raise their energy level. Every day, for ten minutes, meditate and become hollow and empty. We need to create a society free from stress and violence, and the way for it is through meditation. Many times, when we sit for meditation, the mind goes all over the place. That is where Sudarshan Kriya, which is a breathing technique, and yoga help the mind to calm down and become serene.  

If you get thoughts of committing suicide, beware of the following. 

1. Know that it is just your prana, which is low, so do more pranayama. 

2. There are millions of people who are suffering more than you; look at them. When your suffering becomes smaller, you will not think of committing suicide. 

3. Know that you are needed, you are useful. You have to do something in the world. 

Forget about what people think of you: People commit suicide because they think they have lost their prestige and status. What status? What prestige? Who has time to think about your prestige? Everybody is entangled with their own problems, with their own mind. They can’t step out of their own mind. So where do they have the time to think about you? It is worthless to worry about what society thinks of you. Life is much more than just a few material possessions. Life is much more than blame or appreciation from someone. Life is much more than a relationship or a job. 

The reason for suicide is a failure in a relationship, failure in a job, and not being able to achieve what you want to achieve. But life is much more than the small desires that pop up in your consciousness, in your mind. See life from a bigger perspective and engage yourself in some sort of social activity or service activity. Service or seva can keep people sane and keep them out of this mental depression. 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.