How to Shift from Depression to Expression

Cynthia James by Cynthia James | November 28th, 2008 | 8 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Personal Growth

For many people, this is a time wrought with pain and suffering from failed relationships, financial challenges, job dissatisfaction and self-worth issues. Today I want to share a tool to help you or someone you love transform feelings of depression by looking at circumstances as gifts.

The dictionary defines “depressed” as low in Spirits, dejected; suffering from social or economic hardship. If we really look at this, it is about being affected by circumstances — allowing life’s challenges to move us to a state of feeling low, unwanted, uncertain and fearful. What if you decide to feel differently?

I believe the reason each of us is here is to express our feelings, thoughts and gifts — to share our gifts in service to humanity — in a way that moves us forward, beyond limited thinking and choices that do not serve us. Yet often we submerge what wants to be expressed because it is too scary. We give more attention to fear than to faith in our amazing gifts.

This week, try this tool to help you shift from depression to expression.

1. Write down how you feel.

Include the sadness, pain, anger, fear, doubt and frustration. Do this without judgment. You are just getting it out of your consciousness.

2. Write down all the ways you LOVE to express.

It could be singing, dancing, writing, painting, drawing or just walking in the woods.

3. Burn the first list.

… as a symbol of letting go and taking your attention off of the challenge you face.

4. A little bit each day, choose to do something in a way you love to express.

Notice how you feel when you bring into your awareness the artistry of your creativity.

Welcome to my Gaiam blog. I am so excited join Gaiam’s amazing community. I hope my blog supports you in moving through life with ease, grace and peace of mind. Each sharing will give you tools you can use in practical ways in your everyday life — ways you can stand in your power, engage in unlimited living and express joy as you make a difference in this world. Thanks to Gaiam and to you for inviting me to share in your lives.

Many blessings,


Find more uplifting, practical advice from Cynthia James in 5 Steps to Overcoming a Painful Past in the Personal Growth section on Gaiam Life.


  1. I must say this article was very apripo! I’ve been battling depression for a month know & I say , it rather undonting! My struggle is as you mentioned in your article. It is the rerun of “age old tapes”. I do see where, though it maybe a battle, I force myself to get up & active . No matter what the voices may say. Yes, prayer, praise, worship & meditation are the main force that keeps me going. Thank you for writing this article.
    God keep & Bless You,

    Lita Stevenson | December 3rd, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  2. As an art therapist, I agree with this approach 100% our innate creativity can be so healing. And we all have it, whether we consider ourselves artists with a big ‘A’ or not!

    Erin | December 3rd, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  3. Hi Cynthia,
    Welcome to Gaiam! I look forward to reading your blog. There seem to be alot of folks who get depressed at this time of year, and I do believe those feelings are based on outer circumstances. As I discuss in my book, “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters,” (read an excerpt in Gaiam archives), it’s not about what happens to us in life that creates our reality, but more crucially our response to what happens to us (response-ability) and who we are going through those experiences. The holidays are an opportune time to pare down to what’s essential (and release what’s not)–kind of the opposite of “conspicuous consumption”. Finding joy in simple things like stringing popcorn on your tree, and peace in a daily practice such as prayer or meditation shifts the focus inward. And reconnecting with your personal expression, as you recommend, is where true peace and joy reside. All best, Gina

    Gina Mazza | December 4th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  4. My daughter died, in Utero, this June, and so far it’s hard to celebrate any holiday, so I hope that these and other techniques I’ve learned will help. Thank you for sharing.

    Christy | December 4th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  5. [...] One the other side of the paper, note how you express feelings of [...]

  6. [...] on the other hand, is about being open and contributing your heart and your gifts. To share takes material value out of the picture and focuses on loving. People instantly relax and [...]

  7. I’m glad you agree about writing. Having a diary in which you’re positive and grateful for what you have can make you focus only on the good things. When you focus too much on the negative things, you tend to dwell on them.
    It’s a really good idea to burn them. I used to burn things I was ashamed of doing as a teenager, and it certainly worked: I no longer feel defined by them.

    Alex | October 5th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  8. I am truly agree with this post. Because, if we are in a depressive state then the first thing we need to do is that, deviate our mind to some other location or some other program. Like reading, singing,etc, these can influence your mind setting. Thanks for sharing these information to the readers.

    Richard | April 12th, 2014 | Comment Permalink

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